Mobile industry welcomes ACMA report showing high customer satisfaction with capped plans

The mobile telecommunications industry welcomes today’s release of the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s paper on capped mobile plans, which finds a high level of customer satisfaction and awareness of what is included in capped plans.


The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), Chris Althaus, said the ACMA paper into consumers’ experiences and management of their expenditure had found 81% of mobile capped plan users reported being satisfied and 68% reported being aware of what was included in their capped plans.


“Capped plans are very popular, representing around 40% of Australia’s market of over 24million mobile subscriptions, which is testimony to the excellent value for money they provide consumers,” Mr Althaus added.


  • The ACMA says that its report (p 21) finds:

  • High levels of satisfaction with their mobile service (81 per cent)

  • Relatively high levels of satisfaction (72 per cent) with options available to track expenditure, but with only 43 per cent exercising such options


Based on the main reasons quoted why capped plan users do not track expenditure between bills (‘can’t be bothered’, ‘low usage of the phone’, or ‘never/don’t exceed cap’), that consumers are arguably indifferent to, or generally comfortable with their mobile phone expenditure.


On the basis of these findings, there are some areas of consumer concern with capped plans for industry to address, however these do not appear to be as significant as other areas of consumer concern (such as customer service and coverage issues).


Mr Althaus said the findings were important because they provide valuable insights to enable both industry and regulators to design any responses with the benefit of solid evidence-based information as opposed to anecdotal or perceived issues.


“Mobile capped plan users reported high levels of satisfaction (72 per cent) that they could track their spending with self-help tools, such as spend alerts, provided by mobile service providers to assist in the management of their bills,” he said.


Mr Althaus said the study found 57 per cent of mobile cap users did not monitor their expenditure between bills with 33 per cent of users stating that they “cannot be bothered” in monitoring their spending, 19 per cent saying they do not exceed their cap and 26 per cent had “low usage”. Only 4% reported they “don’t know how”.


The ACMA’s study says:


…these findings suggest that the majority of those consumers who don’t track expenditure do so as a deliberate choice, because, in the context of behavioural economics, the benefits of these services outweigh the cost or risk of exceeding their cap at times. Furthermore, such data may suggest that additional efforts to raise awareness about the importance of tracking expenditure is unlikely to change behaviours, given there is arguably an apparent level of indifference to tracking expenditure or comfort with the expenditure patterns…


Mr Althaus said the mobile telecommunications industry remained committed to educating consumers about capped plans, including the importance of taking steps to monitor usage of mobile services and resultant expenditure.


Consumer awareness of mobile service usage is also very important given the rapidly growing demand for mobile data services such as mobile broadband, he said.


“It is in no one’s interest to have customers in debt as a result of unexpectedly high bills – so industry is actively promoting consumer awareness in this regard,” Althaus said.


“Mobile operators offer a number of self-help tools to assist consumers keep track of their usage and spending on a range of services. These are free online accounts allowing them to monitor their usage on a daily basis,” he said.


“Consumers should check with their service provider to see if they offer a service to contact them if their expenditure is particularly high compared to previous bills. They can also request the barring of some services at the network level.


“Consumers can also ask if they offer an SMS notification service that lets them know when they have reached 80% or 100% of their cap. Some providers offer free text services that consumers can use to monitor their usage.”


AMTA’s consumer tips on these issues can be found at:  Manage your Mobile Spend and AMTA Mobile Data Tips.


For more information contact Randal Markey, AMTA Communications Manager, (02) 6239 6555 or 0421 240 550