How to beat high mobile data costs
Kaz Hebenton's mobile phone bill trebled during the COVID-19 lockdown through a combination of moving house, Wi-Fi issues and a surge in data use.
It prompted the 32-year-old to look for lower-priced plans - a good move for all consumers as our data needs continue climbing.
"I usually spend around $40 a month on data and phone calls, which is fine … when I was hit with a big bill of around $120 I was shocked and annoyed as I knew there wasn't really anything I could do," Ms Hebenton said.
"As a dog walker, I'm always uploading videos and images of dogs and communicating online with clients, so that drove up my data usage when my Wi-Fi was playing up.
"Having seen reduced income over the COVID-19 period too, it made finances more difficult."
Shopping around for data deals can deliver big savings, and mobile service Catch Connect says it's wise to do your research.
Catch.com.au chief marketing officer Ryan Gracie said consumers might be surprised by just how many options there were for phone and internet plans.
"Often we find ourselves settling with the biggest, most well-known providers, without having a browse around the smaller players to get an idea of the value they can provide," he said.
Some of the cheapest mobile data deals now on telecommunications comparison website Whistleout.com.au include lesser-known names such as Circles. Life, Moose Mobile and Nu Mobile as well as big guns Optus and TPG.
Mr Gracie said people should personalise their search because data needs varied between singles, families and business owners.
"To avoid the pain of committing to a mobile data or home internet plan that does not deliver in what it says, consider sticking to pay-as-you-go and prepaid offering," he said.
People can prevent overspending on home internet by choosing an NBN or other plan that suits their use, rather than buying the most expensive, fastest service.
Bundling products with one provider can also deliver savings.
A Foxtel spokesman said there was a trend of companies offering more multi-product bundles, such as broadband with TV packages.
"Make sure the bundle you are considering actually offers you a clear benefit - will it be easier to manage your finances through one bill?" he said.
"Is the price better than buying the equivalent products separately from different providers?
"And make sure you're not tying yourself into a ridiculously long contract."
Originally published as How to beat high mobile data costs