Away from your WiFi and with more time to spare, it’s easy to exceed mobile data limits and find yourself facing a hefty bill.

22 December 2015

Away from your WiFi and with more time to spare, it's easy to exceed mobile data limits and find yourself facing a hefty bill. Here's what you need to know to avoid excess data charges.

Mobile data use is on the rise

Mobile phones and laptops are now the most often used devices to access the internet. During the June quarter to 2015, data downloaded over mobile handsets increased by 85 percent.

Excessive data use can mean excess charges

The average Australian adult has a 2GB plan allowance or less. With so many data hungry apps, such as YouTube and Spotify, it is easy to go over your allocated allowance.

How much do I typically use?

See below for a typical guide on how much data you use when sending emails, checking social media or streaming music. Be sure to check your phone provider's website for more guidance.

Activity Data used
Sending or receiving 40 emails without attachments 2 MB
Visiting 5 different web pages 2 MB
Browsing Facebook for 10 minutes 3 MB
Streaming 10 minutes of audio content 10 MB
Streaming 10 minutes of video on YouTube (standard definition) 70 MB
Making a 10 minute call on Skype (standard not video) 10 MB
Uploading 10 photos 40 MB

Source: ACCC

How carriers charge for excess data

The below table from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network shows how much a few common mobile phone providers charge for excess data.

Excess Data Compared Table

Source: ACCAN. Accessible version

International data roaming charges

It's best to check your mobile provider's website for the most up to date information on charges as they vary depending the destination.