Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the biggest telco shocker of them all?

201211270421350c779 300x300 Which Telco Is Bill Shock King?

It remains mystery but the study on mobile phone bill shock in Australia delivered some interesting findings today.

But what it didn’t reveal was which telcos customers suffer bill shock, most frequently.

But it did give some clues.

“In general, the incidence of bill shock amongst each of the major carriers appears to be generally staggered in the same manner as their share of the market,” the Macquarie University study states. 

So let’s see.

Recent telecoms data indicated Telstra is the biggest telco with more than 13 million subscribers, followed by Optus with around 9.5 m, Vodafone with 6.8 m. Meanwhile, the fourth biggest carrier is generally thought to be Virgin.

The highest incidence of bill shock by company was ‘Telco 2’ (53.8%), followed by ‘Telco 1’ (23.8%) and ‘Telco 4’ (16.3%) and ‘Telco 3’ (6.3%), the report states.

So by this logic, we might guess Optus customers suffer bill shock most frequently (44% as the report states), followed by Telstra, Australia’s biggest telco (26%), and then Telco 4 (23%), which is most likely Virgin Mobile.

Meanwhile, Vodafone or Telco. No. 3 customers suffer bill shock the least at just 6.5%, which if correct, appears to be a massive turnaround for the telco once branded ‘Vodafail.’

Telstra already has notification alerts for customers when their bill hit certain thresholds, and Optus have announced  similar anti-bill shock measures as have Vodafone.

An Optus spokesperson told SmartHouse: “all new customer and the the majority of other customers” now get bill notification alerts.

However, the ‘majority’ excludes some users on older plans, the spokesperson added, and it is unclear how many users are on older plans, or even what consistutes ‘older’.

The Optus spokesperson denied the significance of the report findings, saying: ” the numbers are quite small and don’t seem to be statistically significant.”

Customers with “Telco 2” Optus had the highest average monthly bill invoice at $81.98, followed by ‘Telco 1’ Telstra at $76.85, ‘Telco 4’ Virgin ($59.75) and Telco 3 Vodafone ($43.86).

The highest average bill shock by carrier was: Telco 1 Telstra ($33.04) , followed closely by Telco 2 Optus ($29.34) and Telco 4 Virgin ($25.81) and Telco 3 ($4.23) Vodafone.


This writer is on Vodafone network and certainly did not get any notication when she exceeded her call allowance by a multiple of three, meaning a $35 cap suddenly became a bill of over $100. (Ouch).

However, no one will officially confirm or deny the identity of the mystery telcos, so it must be noted we are playing a guessing game. 

“We’re not looking to point fingers at any one particular player, we can tell you that the bill shock incurred by each of the telcos is pretty much in line with their market share,” a source attached to the survey told SmartHouse.

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