Consumer smartphone plans are back under the spotlight after successive changes to the way they are billed.
Earlier this month, plan changes by value mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Amaysim cast light on a recent move to make prepaid plans expire after 28 days instead of 30 days.
Amaysim is one of the last telcos and MVNOs to make the shift to a 28-day billing cycle, but their move was heavily publicised.
A 28-day billing cycle means telcos can effectively bill customers for a 13th month each year.
Now, a new report by two UTS IT engineers for the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has shed light on the impact of another billing practice known as “megabyte rounding”.
Though some telcos have moved away from megabyte rounding, ACCAN notes there are still plans in the market that use it, and there is likely to be a legacy user base stuck with the controversial contract term.
Megabyte rounding sees smartphone data sessions rounded up to the nearest megabyte, rather than charging the user only for the data they use.
ACCAN funded an investigation of the practice and found that the median loss of data through the “megabyte rounding rip off” was 23 percent.
“This means that if you are on a plan with 5GB of data per month, you might only get to use about 4GB before it runs out,” ACCAN said.
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