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Consumers wasting £5bn a year by being on the wrong tariffs

Paul Withers
April 10, 2012

Research from Carphone Warehouse reveals the extent to which consumers are losing money by choosing the wrong mobile contract, with lack of awareness on what uses data cited as a key issue 

Carphone Warehouse has revealed that consumers are losing £5 billion each year by not being on the right mobile phone deal.

Research conducted by the retailer, which revealed there are now over seven million mobile phone deals on offer in the UK, showed that over a fifth (21 per cent) of people questioned regularly exceeded their monthly limits.

On average, this cost 48 per cent of the respondents between £5 and £40 in addition to their monthly contract payments.

However, 84 per cent were found to still have either free minutes, texts or internet data left over at the end of the month, indicating their contract doesn’t meet their needs.

The research found £173 million is being wasted due to data charges, with 26 per cent citing they regularly exceed their contracted data allowance, resulting in additional costs being incurred.

Carphone said one of the key problems identified was a lack of awareness about which activities consume data.

People didn’t realise that having a Twitter app stored on the phone though not ‘in use’ (81 per cent), video calling a friend through a Skype app (51 per cent) and logging into Facebook through an app (43 per cent) all contribute towards their data allowance.

People were generally unsure what the 1MB meant when put into the context of the number of songs that can be downloaded (79 per cent), the number of emails that can be downloaded, read and sent (83 per cent) and the number of minutes that can be watched on YouTube (87 per cent).

Just over a tenth of people (12 per cent) knew what 1MB would cost them outside of their monthly data allowance.

Carphone Warehouse CEO Andrew Harrison said: “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.”

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