Mobile Complaints Are Dropping -- Except For Data

The number of total complaints received by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) in the period between January and March this year fell substantially, but data complaints relating to billing are on the sharp upswing.

Picture: Lazurite

In the January-March period, the TIO received 36,256 complaints, down 9.4 per cent year on year, but an increase of 8.7 per cent over the previous quarter. Maybe we were all too busy chowing down on mince pies to complain?

In any case, the big emerging trend is that excess data usage complaints are the new hot thing — or at least the new thing to get hot under the collar about. One out of every 5 complaints made in the quarter related to billing and payments was about excess mobile data charges, an increase of 30 per cent.

As the TIO's quarterly publication, TIO Talks notes, the ACMA reports that the average monthly mobile usage in Australia is 2GB, but the CSIRO suggests that more than half of us are on plans that offer 1GB or less per month. That does rather suggest a recipe for billing disaster.

Customer service issues remain the single hottest complaint topic by a tiny margin over billing and payment issues, 47.8 per cent to 47.6 per cent.

In terms of national breakdown, the area with the highest complaint rate per thousand residents is The Ponds in Sydney, where coverage issues are king. The rest of the top ten postcode table covers McLaren Vale (unusable service), Doreen (Coverage), Parramatta (disputed bill), Melbourne (recurring charges), Brunswick East (Connection delay), Craigieburn (Coverage), Melton South (Poor contract information), South Windsor (Connection delay) and Adelaide (Excess data charges).

TIO Talks [TIO]


    I think some phone plans are arse-backwards. My plan (sans data pack) gives me 500mb of data, unlimited texts and a boatload of phone calls. Yet I find myself using more than 500mb of data and making 3 phone calls and half a dozen texts a month. Why can't I pay the same and get more data and less calls and text?

      Because in terms of cost of delivery, voice and text are cheap as chips and they know they can toss shitloads of it to most users and it will SOUND like a great deal (especially to the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers who haven't been switched on to social media yet).

      They're paying to deliver the infrastructure anyway, it doesn't cost them much more to put the calls/texts over it.

      Data, however... remains expensive to provide.

      (Also, the cynic in me says that they offer what sound like amazing plans, and that most younger users will still upgrade because what they're really after is the data.)

    The amount of data included in plans these days is a load of bollocks.

    My $80 p/m plan gives me some $900 of calls, unlimited texts and a measly 1.5GB of data.

    In this day and age of being "connected", most people are using facebook, skype, viber and whatsapp (to name a few) to communicate more so than they are using the traditional calling / texting methods.

    It's about time these telcos start allowing us, their customers, to choose what we want in a plan. How hard is it for us to choose our '$80 plan' and then let us mix and match what we want, as you decrease your call allowance by e.g $200 they could give us another GB or so in data.

      You already can. Yatango provide build your own plans, delivered over Optus 3G and 4G.

    I just signed up with Amaysim after TPG turfed their old $45/month mobile plan. I don't usually get close to the cap but I like having a service where I don't have to worry about it.

    Optus network.
    $40 / month.
    Unlimited SMS, Calls.
    4GB data.

    Why wouldn't you?


      Optus: Woolworths mobile grandfathered plan ($30 or $50 recharges)

      $30 per 45 days ($26 if paid via selfserve options)
      $30 credit + $220 Mybonus + $250 Optus Money
      5GB + data rollover capped at 15GB

      30 day monthly equivalent
      $20 ($17.33 selfserve)
      $20 credit + $146.67 Mybonus + $166.67 Optus Money

      ($50 recharges increase credit from $500 to $1000 value per 45days, data remains unchanged)

      so yeah, thats why not :p

      Last edited 18/06/14 10:13 pm

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