Handy Tip: Turn off Mobile Data on Casual Plans

This week's Handy Tip is a great one: turn off mobile data on casual mobile plans that aren't supposed to be using it! In fact, make your carrier do it.

As you may know, carriers generally send out alerts when a user comes near to using their monthly data allowance. The threshold for this alert is usually set at 80%. There is then another alert sent at 100%, to inform you that you are now racking up excess data charges only expressible using scientific notation, and to prepare for the astronomical bill headed your way. These alerts are quite effective at curtailing excess usage.

However, especially for Telstra, this isn't the case for mobiles on mobile plans which don't have a mobile data component included, or that don't have an attached data pack. While such casual plans are rare, if not unheard-of, in the general consumer space, they are very common in the corporate and NFP spaces. For example, we have a large charity client with 355 phones on precisely that kind of plan (through Church Resources). 

Every time one of those users uses mobile data (charged at PAYG rates) there is no alert, because the carrier only provides alerts on plans with a data allowance included. These organisations, and many others like it, are running up large excess mobile data bills because of this. We do this for many of our clients, and predict that even moderately large mobile fleets are saving on average nearly two thousands dollars per year.

It is the simplest measure to request your carrier to switch off mobile data for a specific user or users. It is free, easy, and can be switched back on again with a phone call. This is a service all carriers provide. Indeed, many carriers even allow managers to do this via the online portal. 

Of course, data can also be turned off at the handset by the actual user. However, it is overwhelmingly Dog and Bone's experience that this is less effectively than having it disabled remotely, at the request of the IT manager. The manager can then maintain a spreadsheet of precisely who should and shouldn't be able to access mobile data.

On a related note, we have found it can be very effective to disable mobile data before travelling overseas (assuming of course that you don't need it). Almost everyone runs up excess mobile roaming data charges, no matter how savvy they are. Someone in our own office returned from Japan with a $380 charge just last month. It is almost unavoidable, unless you switch it off.