Monitoring mobile phone usage

We find out why excessive phone bills continue to top consumer-complaint lists in Australia.
 
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03.How does you provider rate?

International roaming usage notifications

logo_Optus

SMS sent within one hour of first use, with a prompt to disable . Further alerts every 15MB (about $300) of usage if customers choose to proceed.

logo_Telstra

SMS sent to warn customers of the higher rates that overseas voice calls, SMS, MMS and data usage may incur.

logo_Vodafone

No automatic warning for customers who begin using data roaming when overseas. Customers can sign up to receive balance alerts that relate to their nominated spend.

logo_Virgin

No automatic warning for customers who begin using data roaming when overseas. Virgin provides customers with information when then manually switch it on.

Domestic usage notification

logo_Optus

SMS sent automatically when user reaches 80% of their included monthly value.

 

logo_Telstra

 SMS sent at 80% and 100% of monthly value. In coming months, data will be slowed rather than billed when a customer exceeds their limit.

logo_Vodafone

No automatic alert – customers must sign up to receive balance alerts.

 

logo_Virgin

No automatic alert – customers must sign up to receive balance alerts.

 

Online usage monitoring

Optus, Telstra, Vodafone and Virgin all provide online usage monitoring.

Mobile phone cap plans

CHOICE assessed the popular cap plans with the four carriers and found a number of key differences.

While standard calls hover around the 89-90c mark on all caps and the standard flagfall connection fee remains steady at 39-40c, data and credit inclusion varies widely.

  • The Optus TurboTelstra Encore caps both offer customers $1000 worth of call and text credit for $50, as well as a 2G data allowance.
  • Vodafone tends to limit the use of flexible credit and allocate a large amount of the recharge value to own-network calls. A $49 recharge on the Vodafone Flexi cap, for example, provides $350 worth of flexible call and text credit, although the remaining $650 credit is reserved for Vodafone to Vodafone calls. This option, however, offers 3G data and unlimited access to social networking sites.
  • Although the Virgin $49 cap recharge only offers customer $800 of call and text credit for the $49, slightly less than Optus and Telstra, it does offer free Virgin to Virgin calls. Its cap plan includes 1G data.

 

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