Users of mobile phones waste £5 billion ($8 billion) a year by being on the wrong tariff, says a new study, with some £173 million ($275 million) coming via additional data charges from roaming the internet.
Carphone Warehouse surveyed 2,034 people, and discovered that almost half (47 percent) were unaware of the data allowance or free minutes and texts on their contract, leading them to overspend by an average of £194 per person per year. The rapid adoption of smartphones has exponentially fueled the sharp rise in mobile data usage, with a large percentage of that coming from social apps such as Twitter and Facebook.
81 percent of those polled did not realise that having a Twitter app on their phone can still eat up data, even when not in active use.
43 percent were unaware that using the Facebook app on their phones incurred a data cost, and 51 percent did not know that video calling a friend through Skype on their handsets was not necessarily inclusive in their tariff.
There are now more than seven million different mobile phone deals available in the UK, and a general lack of awareness (and sometimes complete ambiguity) about the terminology used to describe these offers – only 12 percent were aware what a megabyte of data would cost them outside of what was included in their tariff – is being blamed for the confusion amongst the end users.
“When the UK is facing one of the hardest financial times in living memory, it seems crazy that £5 billion is being wasted on phone bills,” said Andrew Harrison, Carphone Warehouse chief executive. “The cost of data charges is a growing issue and this is only going to increase as more people convert to smartphones.”
(Mobile handset image via Shutterstock.)