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'Tis the season for mobile

It’s that time of year again – here are our top consumer tips from MobileTips for Christmas and the summer holidays.

Using extra data over the summer holidays?

Make sure you understand your plan and its included data allowance. Pay attention to usage alerts from your service provider. If you need more to use more data, contact your service provider to either upgrade your plan or purchase an extra data pack. Read more about managing your data here.

Downloading apps, music or other content?

If you are downloading music, apps, movies or other digital content and choosing to have it billed directly to your mobile bill, you should read our tips about how to manage content purchases here as well as the ACMA’s “101 of Direct Carrier Billing

Going overseas?

If you are lucky enough to be travelling overseas for a holiday, make sure you contact your service provider before you go. It always pays to make sure you are fully informed about the potential costs of international roaming before you go. So visit your service provider’s website and choose a roaming deal that will suit your needs when you make your travel plans and remember to read our tips about international roaming here.

Hitting the road to visit family?

Never text while driving – it’s dangerous and illegal. Always keep your eyes on the road and avoid distractions – keepyoureyesontheroad has tips about how you can drive safely and reduce risks while using a mobile.

What’s on your Xmas shopping list?

You may want to read this before you go shopping for a smartphone for your child. Check out the e-Safety Christmas gift guide for tips on all the latest hi-tech presents for kids this year.

Do some good

Recycle your mobile with MobileMuster this summer and they will donate a meal to someone in need through OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation. They are aiming to recycle 70,000 mobile phones and deliver 70,000 meals by the end of February. Simply recycle at any participating mobile phone retailer stores including Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile or visit the MobileMuster website to find your nearest collection point.

Lost your phone?

Remember to treat your smartphone similarly to your wallet – be careful where you leave it and enable PIN protection so that if it is lost or stolen the data stored on it will be safe. If your mobile phone is lost or stolen call your service provider immediately so that you can prevent unauthorised use. AMTA runs a world-leading program that protects consumers by blocking mobile handsets across all networks if they are reported lost or stolen. To have your handset blocked across all networks you need to report the loss or theft to your carrier. See our lost and stolen tips for further details.

Watch out for scams!

At this time of year scams are all too common. Watch out for fake parcel delivery scams and for fake websites selling mobiles and other popular Christmas gifts.  Remember, if the deal seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Read more about these common Christmas scams on the ACCC’s website. Before you go shopping make sure you know how to spot a fake phone so that you don’t waste your money on a sub-standard counterfeit device.

Where to get help when things don’t go to plan

Christmas day is one of the busiest days of the year for mobile service providers in terms of responding to customer service calls as well as monitoring and managing networks to ensure everyone’s text messages, email, social media posts and phone calls to family and friends are delivered. Remember, if you have a problem, there are now several ways to contact your service provider – online and via social media as well as by calling. Sometimes it pays to check your service provider’s online customer support page or social media website first for questions you may have about a new mobile device or service.

If you are unable to resolve a complaint with your service provider you can contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) but please note that the TIO’s office and call centre will be closed from 22 Dec and will re-open at 9am on 2 Jan 2018.

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Mobiles most popular way to access the internet

ACMA Communications 2016-17 report finds that mobile phones are the most popular and frequently used device for internet access and that the trend towards mobile-only communications continues with 6.67 million Australian adults having only a mobile phone and no fixed-line telephone at home.

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Ericsson forecast 1 Billion 5G subscriptions in 2023

Ericsson has released an update on its Mobility Report for Nov 2017. Ericsson forecast that mobile broadband population coverage will grow to over 95% in 2023 and 5G population coverage will reach over 20% in 2023. Higher spectrum bands will be important for 5G and Ericsson forecast 1 billion subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband in 2023.

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How will 5G improve network performance

While the technical standards for 5G are still being developed, experts agree that 5G will offer: Latency of less than 1ms; Ability to deliver speeds of up to 10 Gbps and beyond; Energy efficiency in running 1000s of devices; and Improved network capacity by enabling millions of low bandwidth devices to connect simultaneously. Where 4G focussed on providing improved speed and capacity for individual mobile phone users, 5G will enable more industrial applications, and could be a major technological driver in industrial digitalisation. For more information about 5G read our latest report from Deloitte Access Economics. Download the complete report.