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Avoid Bill Shock - Control your usage with mobile apps

  • iOS and Android
  • Vodafone, Optus and Amaysim
  • Allows users to track usage and make changes to account
Written by Adam Wajnberg
20/03/2012

More and more people are cutting the cord, ditching landlines for mobile cap plans. While cap plans offer most customers a comfortable cushion of credit, many people still exceed those limits and start getting hit with very high per-minute charges, leading to eye-popping bills.

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Bill Shock is still the leading cause of complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) for mobile services. This has to be considered in a separate light from merely services that are too expensive – Bill Shock comes from being mislead by advertising that tells potential customers that they will floating on a cloud of safety when it comes to their usage, paying a flat fee for oodles of credit that can’t be exhausted, even if the kids were to jump on and call everyone in your address book.

The problem is that most cap plans charge at the very high rate of 90c per minute, and the full 25c per text message. So while $50 might give you $700 worth of credit, consider that at those rates, that equals about 13 hours chat. That seems like a lot (and it is), but it can be exceeded with just a few long calls to friends or companies, trying to sort out a bill. And that’s without factoring SMS charges.

Once you’ve exceeded that amount, each hour of talk after that will cost you about $50! Government watchdogs are paying attention and demanding that companies spell out exclusions and prices more clearly. But for smartphone users, the service providers offer tools to help you easily monitor your usage.

Amaysim - 1300 209 198

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amaysim app check usage

Amaysim is leading the charge to offer cheap plans with no hidden fees. Amaysim Unlimited is $40/month, no contract, and includes calls to mobiles, landlines AND 1300/1800 numbers for free. The only thing you pay extra for is international calls and messaging. It even comes with a whopping 4GB of data.

Amaysim also offers a cheap pay-as-you-go plan, with a top-up expiry of 90 days rather than the usual 30. These plans charge only 15c/min for calls, and 12c per text, and are much more appropriate for users who sip rather than gulp their mobiles.

The Amaysim app will allow you to quickly and cleanly monitor your pay-as-you-go plan, and to check the data usage on the Unlimited plan. It will also give you a day-by-day account of calls and texts. The settings tab allows you to set up call forwarding, roaming and other additional services. For ease of use and clarity, Amaysim leads the pack with their plans and with their app.

Free

Amaysim App for iOS

Amaysim App for Android


MyOptus - 1300 768 194

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optus app check usage

Optus offers it all- Cable, Satellite, ADSL, Mobile Broadband, Mobiles…so one app to rule them all would probably be too confusing for most. Thankfully, the MyOptus app covers mobiles only (other apps are available to chart the details of your other Optus services).

Apart from the ability to separately track prepaid and postpaid services, iPhone and Samsung galaxy S2 users can chat directly to Optus customer service reps via an in-app window.

Registration with the MyOptus app is also a snap- just open it up, turn off Wi-Fi (so that you’re connected directly to the 3G data network) and bam- you’re in! No user registration required.

Free

MyOptus for iOS

MyOptus for Android

For other handsets, many of the features can be accessed via SMS by texting ‘MyOptus’ to 966 direct from your handset

MyVodafone - 1300 850 518

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my vodafone app compare mobile plan usage

 

Vodafone’s app is a little more limited, offering information only for post-paid customers. Registration is also a little more fiddly, requiring pre-registration at Vodafone’s website. But once connected, plenty of good stuff is made available – including a store finder, network updates and even a list of recommended apps. The usual usage and bill tracker is also included.

Free

MyVodafone for iOS

MyVodafone for Android

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