NINE in 10 mobile phone customers are sticking with the big three telcos but experts are urging consumers to consider smaller providers to save.
Figures released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this year revealed there are 25.3 million mobile handsets in circulation — Telstra remained the dominant force (45 per cent of customers), followed by Optus (27 per cent) and Vodafone (18 per cent.)
Only 10 per cent of customers are signing up to smaller providers.
But telco comparison website WhistleOut’s spokesman Joseph Hanlon said consumers could be missing out on huge savings — in some cases hundreds of dollars a year — by sticking with what they know.
“The most important thing for people to understand is that the smaller carriers use the same networks as the big carriers, so you can get the same coverage as the bigger carrier but for a fraction of the price,’’ he said.
“Regardless of which network you want to be on there’s half a dozen carriers on the Telstra network and loads of carriers on the Optus network.”
Mr Hanlon said when dealing with a new phone carrier there’s a few things customers must consider.
“Most importantly figure out how much you are going to use the service, mostly it’s about data but the majority of deals have unlimited calls and messages,’’ he said.
“Figure out how much data you have each month and find a plan that’s the right plan for you and you can cut your phone bill in half.”
Changing mobile phone provider will likely result in different customer service levels — sometimes for better or worse — so switching to a monthly deal before locking into a contract can be a wise option so you can try before you buy.
The nation’s peak communications body, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network’s spokesman Luke Sutton, said having more smaller providers in the market had resulted in more cost-effective deals for customers.
“Many of these smaller providers offer month-to-month plans which means consumers are not locked in and have more flexibility to look around for a better deal if they want to,’’ he said.
“They need to find out the network the smaller provider operates on and use the network provider’s coverage maps as a guide to see if they’re likely to get mobile coverage at home and work.”
Originally published as Small phone providers can save you big