The average mobile subscriber isn’t using 3.4GB of their monthly data allowance, with many unaware of how much data they consume or how to track their usage, a new report has claimed.
Research from uSwitch found 143 million GB is being wasted each month, giving rise to concerns that consumers are paying for data plans that are far too excessive for their needs.
A fifth of users don’t know what their data allowance is, while a quarter don’t know how much they use each month.
Falling into the trap
More than a third don’t check their usage with five per cent not aware it is actually possible to do so. The most popular methods for checking are operator applications and websites, phone setting and monthly bills.
According to Ofcom, the average amount consumed by a mobile user is 1.9GB a month, but uSwitch suggests a third consume less than 1GB. Intriguingly, younger users are more wasteful. The average 18-34 year old pays for 7.5GB for a month but uses just 3.6GB.
Analysts suggest it is the fear of out-of-contract charges that is encouraging such waste.
“In a bid to prevent over-spending and with so many contracts on the market now offering sizeable data bundles, customers can easily fall into the trap of thinking they need more than they’re actually going to use,” says Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com.
“For customers whose usage varies significantly each month, providers are increasingly offering packages that allow customers to adjust how much data they are using on a month-by-month basis, or carry a proportion over into subsequent months.”
It is worth pointing out that many providers give customers data complementary data increases which help boost the figure, and others allow users to change their plan each month if they find their needs are changing.
Some, such as Sky and Virgin Media, let customers ‘rollover’ unused data into their following month’s allowance.
“For customers whose usage varies significantly each month, providers are increasingly offering packages that allow customers to adjust how much data they are using on a month-by-month basis, or carry a proportion over into subsequent months,” adds Doku.
“These flexi or ‘roll-over’ contracts give users a degree of control over what they are spending each month, but a word of warning: they often require customers to actively update their usage at the end of each month.”