The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has welcomed Telstra’s announcement of real time mobile data usage alerts as a win for consumers.
ACCAN, the peak body representing communications consumers in Australia, has been urging telcos to implement real time alerts for mobile data usage for many years.
Telstra is the first Australian telco to offer these real time alerts, notifying consumers via text message within seconds when they have used 50, 85 and 100 per cent of their mobile data allowance.
ACCAN chief executive officer (CEO), Teresa Corbin, was glad Telstra will implement real time alerts as the latest Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) annual report shows excess mobile charges are a continuing issue for consumers with complaints growing 27.2 per cent in the last 12 months.
Corbin hopes that with the implementation of these real time alerts consumers will more easily be able to track their usage.
The Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) code only requires data usage alerts to be delivered within 48 hours of the consumer reaching a limit. Despite consumers already receiving these alerts from their telco, with a window that wide there is a potential for consumers to go above their data usage allowance and incur charges without being aware of it.
“Consumers not realising there can be a two-day delay in the data usage notifications could easily use a gigabyte or two of data which would set them back between $50-$100. We’d like to see real time alerts being offered by all of the Australian telcos so all consumers can reap the benefits. Forty-eight hours is too large a gap to inform consumers they have reached their limit. We encourage the other telcos to follow suit and implement real time alerts as soon as possible,” Corbin said.
ACCAN said in a statement that there still a need for telcos to inform consumers of how they can monitor their monthly usage. If a consumer exceeds their monthly data allowance a number of telcos will automatically add extra data to a consumer’s plan, which can result in consumer’s receiving higher bills than expected.
Usually, consumers can monitor their usage through apps or by logging into an online account