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Brits spend £811 million on unnecessary phone charges

Paul Withers
June 9, 2016

More than one in four pay an additional £39.72 per year, with exceeding mobile data limits cited as the biggest issue 

British consumers have spent a combined £811 million on top of their monthly mobile tariffs.

This is according to research from, which questioned 2,000 UK telecoms customers via Censuswide from March 11-14.

It revealed more than one in four (42 per cent) of mobile users pay an additional £39.72 per year on unforeseen mobile charges.

Exceeding data limits

The most common reason for out-of-tariff charges is exceeding mobile data limits (39 per cent), which uSwitch claimed implies many users are on the wrong deals for their browsing, streaming and download needs.

Almost a quarter (23 per cent) have been caught out by premium rate calls and texts, while a fifth have been affected by roaming charges while using handsets abroad.

Other reasons include exceeding call minute allowances (13 per cent) and making calls to overseas numbers (nine per cent).

The survey also revealed that more than a third (37 per cent) are completely unaware of the difference between SMS and MMS messages, costing 19 per cent of mobile users additional charges.

Wrong mobile deals telecom analyst Ernest Doku said: “The really frustrating thing is these charges could easily be avoided. Bill payers are spending three quarters of a billion pounds on out of tariff charges, suggesting many people are languishing on the wrong mobile deals.

“Smartphones have made us all hungrier to surf, stream and search online and exceeding your data limit is the biggest culprit when it comes to excess charges. Only 14 per cent of mobile deals sold through offer unlimited data, which suggests people are still underestimating their data usage.

“Getting your tariff right plays as much a part in keeping bills down as understanding any hidden costs. If you’re not sure where you are overpaying, look at your bills over the past 12 months and see where your usage is heaviest. This will help you work out where you are being caught short.”

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