3G users & their billing | ACMA

3G users & their billing

This ACMA-commissioned research by TNS Social Research investigated the level and nature of concerns experienced by 3G users in their understanding of charging arrangements.

Key findings

3G usage

  • 3G bill-payers mainly used their phones for voice calls and SMS.
  • Four in 10 customers have used 3G features on their phone. On average, these customers are considerably younger than those who do not use the features (46 per cent of them were under 35 years of age).
  • Main reason for not using 3G features was users simply wanted a specific type of phone, regardless of its features.
  • Second reason for not using 3G features was the cost. 46 per cent of parents felt 3G was too expensive, and 19 per cent instructed their children not to use the features.


    • Less than one in five 3G bill-payers read their entire contract, while about 50 per cent read at least half. Difficult aspects of the contract included language, charging arrangements and consequences of exceeding the cap.
    • Approximately half of 3G bill-payers had a low understanding or no understanding of data-charging arrangements.

    Unexpectedly high bills

    • Half of post-paid bill-payers had received an unexpectedly high bill, while 44 per cent of prepaid bill-payers had run out of credit faster than expected. Customers attributed the main reason for exceeding their bill to voice calls, with internet usage being a relatively small contributing factor.
    • Bill payers who received unexpectedly high bills were slightly less confident about understanding usage charges than those who did not receive a higher than expected bill.

      Customer satisfaction

      • 28 per cent of post-paid consumers queried their bill with their service provider after receiving a high than expected bill.
      • Of this group, 63 per cent were extremely satisfied or satisfied with the response, while 31 per cent were dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied.

        Release date

        June 2011

        Report and related material




        3G mobile bill-payers’ understanding of billing and charging arrangements—Quantitative research report

         851 kB   737 kB



        Last updated: 21 November 2014