Another hysterial proclamation of billions lost because consumers don't plan their usage to the last minute.

Brits ‘waste’ £5 billion on the wrong mobile plans

British consumers are wasting £5 billion annually on incorrect mobile phone plans according to research from Billmonitor.

Customers opting for the wrong mobile tariff wasted on average £194 every year by signing up to plans that were too small, with hefty additional charges, or too large with large allowances left unused.

Billmonitor reckon that over half of mobile phone users are on plans that offer too much allowance, ‘wasting’ £2.62 billion on telephone calls and text charges.

"We knew when we started billmonitor that considerable savings could be generated by being on the right mobile phone contract but even we were surprised by just how many UK subscribers are on the wrong contract," said Billmonitor boss Stelios Koundouros.

The problem, they say, is that mobile phone consumers don’t know exactly what their usage is, making the choice of an optimum tariff somewhat tricky.

Of course these sort of statements about vast sums creamed off the public due to poor choice of package aren’t anything new. Ever keen to appear the consumer champion, Ofcom likes to draw attention to the watchdog’s accreditation of Billmonitor and a couple of years ago the regulator trumpeted a similar report that claimed that Brits were losing a staggering £13 billion on ‘wasted texts and minutes’.

Interestingly few seem up to the task of pointing out what a massive load of codswallop this is. The idea of having a package that’s bigger than the actual amount you use does not automatically mean that everything you didn’t use, to the minute, is a loss.

It’s obvious to most that mobile operators price their business based on customers not using every last iota of their plan, just as internet providers do. To put it in perspective, Vodafone’s entire UK revenue for 2011 was £2.6 billion.

Realistically, these reports are self serving tub thumping designed to drive traffic to deal comparison web sites but that being said, outfits like Billmonitor do have considerable value given the deliberately overcomplicated nature of mobile phone plans.

The website recently took a look at the new T-mobile tariffs, cutting through the marketing and pointing out hidden costs and price rises that astonishingly don’t manage to make it into the advertisements.

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