Australia - Mobile phone spend management tools reviewed The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released its new research after completing the "Spend Management Tools and Alerts Survey 2015". Conducted this year, the study examines Australians' use of mobile phones and tools to track usage, and found that the proportion of users facing unexpectedly high bills has fallen since ACMA began requiring telecommunications providers to provide usage updates. The Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code, introduced in September 2013, requires alerts relating to data, calls and SMS at 50%, 85% and 100% of included usage costs. It also requires notifying the increased excess usage costs that will begin applying. ACMA believes its survey results demonstrate the effectiveness of the Code for consumers. Only 27% of people surveyed received a higher than expected bill in the last year. The figure in 2013 was 33%. Data (and then calls) due to using phones more is the biggest factor in higher than expected bills. Another common reason cited for large bills was watching videos or TV on mobiles. What is also clear is that most people modify their usage or take other action to mitigate high bills after receiving alerts. In addition, the amount of a higher than expected bill has fallen by 21%. Complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman about mobile phone services have also fallen by 44%. The survey showed the alerts and other spend management tools are favoured by consumers, with 92% of those who used them finding them useful. Still, problems were identified - 47% of those who received an unexpectedly high bill in the last 12 months did not recall receiving a 100% usage alert. Consumers are also dissatisfied with the delay in receiving usage reports, which can be two days old and therefore often come too late for people to alter their usage. These findings are significant, especially due to the increase in recent years of Australians who have shunned landlines and only have a mobile phone. The study shows that spend management tools are reducing bill shock and leaving consumers more satisfied with their interactions with service providers.
For more information, please contact Anne-Marie Allgrove, Toby Patten, Matthew Dempsey or Emma Burn.