Simple Strategies To Avoid 4G Bill Shock

4G networks aren't invariably quicker, but their higher speeds mean you can spend a lot of money. With the iPhone 5 bringing many more people into the 3G realm, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has highlighted same basic strategies to ensure you don't waste money needlessly.

Many of these will be familiar territory for Lifehacker readers, including the importance of switching off roaming, knowing how much your plans actually cost and installing apps to monitor smartphone data usage (we have recommendations for iOS and Android).The imminent launch of unit pricing for mobile phone plans will also make potential costs clearer.


    4G realm...

    Android ICS and Jelly Bean have a data usage monitor which can prevent you from going over your quota. Problem solved.

    Switch to Vodafone?


    angus why are these plans so expensive? why not a 5GB data plan and calls etc for 40 bucks a month?

      The old plans were better. Doesn't help new users, but for $50 on prepaid (no contract) I can get 5GB of data + calls and text thanks to being on a grandfathered Weekend+ cap. I won't go into the specifics, but the plan itself had 2GB of data and you can use the recharge amount to buy a data pack. End result is $50 can get me $350 in calls and 5GB in data.

      Havent seen any reason to move of this plan or go post paid. Shame the plans have gotten worse these past 18 months.

    Dax - you can have that by buying the device yourself and connecting to a BYO plan from an Optus reseller.

    Telstra will never do the plans that cheap because they want to retain the speed of their network whilst not spending cash unnecessarily on it.

    Free phones aren't free anymore. The networks have stopped subsidising them to the point where it is now cheaper by hundreds of dollars over 2 years to by the phone outright yourself and connect to a BYO plan.

    Personally I use dolphin and just surf with images disabled the majority of the time when I'm on 3G.


    I hope you can understand why I am frustrated. The world's a different place now. We have spotify and vodio and iCloud downloading apps to all our devices. I think that these telcos need to stop with their caveman mentality and look at how consumers are using their devices and stop robbing us. I think the excuse that they overcharge so that they can maintain their network integrity is a cheap one. Much more obvious when you hang out in Japan and can rent a 42mbit pocket wifi device with unlimited data and everyone there seems to be on a very affordable plan with unlimited data on LTE. I understand that there are different factors at play, but then I am even more frustrated hanging out with an American there who had unlimited roaming and data turned on for 50USD a month while I gotta pay Optus 20 bucks for a megabyte in roaming. This is caveman nonsense and they're treating us poorly!

      Sheesh. Talk about entitlement.

      You do understand that radio spectrum is not an infinite, free resource - right?


        Right. And consumers' money isn't a free infinite resource either. I had a brief look at Telstra's download limits on their new 4G plans and they don't seem have changed significantly over the last couple of years from the 3G days. But 4G is obviously faster and there are different services available now (Spotify, vodio, etc) that can utilise that bandwidth effectively and quickly, so if they want my money their prices need to reflect that. Companies can charge whatever they want, Telstra can charge a 100 dollars a megabyte, but that don't mean its right!

        Anyways, that's all I gotta say about this.

          Welcome to the real world Dax.

          Infrastructure isn't cheap, and congestion has severely impacted network performance.

          Telstra has traditionally been the most expensive provider and has terrible customer service, and yet users have changed over to them in massive numbers over the last few years because when it all boils down to it if the network isn't any good it doesn't matter how cheap the plans are.

      The unlimited roaming will be because someone else way paying for it. Did a Contiki last year. 1 American on our touy got a $5,000 bill because they didn't turn data roaming off.

    Hey btw, has anybody used Virgin? I know that Virgin resells Optus, but is it just as good as Optus or is the network shaped down?

      Hi Dax,

      Virgin is actually owned by Optus so it is not a 'shaped down' network but rather is a network aimed a different segment of the market.

    Geez I really wish they'd concentrate on getting 3G everywhere before moving on.

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