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Virgin Mobile cuts excess data charges

Post-paid customers on Virgin have had excess data charges slashed, starting from today.

Virgin has announced new pricing structures around excess data costs for post-paid customers.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The changes drop the per MB excess charges from 20.5 cents per MB to 5.2 cents. According to Virgin, customers are still charged per KB actually used rather than in MB blocks.

Virgin used the announcement to highlight its Data Value Adds, letting customers add extra data to their plans, ranging from AU$5 for 250MB to AU$30 for 3GB.

Surprise excess data charges — colloquially known as 'bill shock' — remain a big problem in Australia.

The most recent Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) report showed that while complaints about mobile services were down overall, complaints about excess data charges were up 13 per cent. Similarly, complaints about not receiving notifications about data use were up 14 per cent.

Late last month, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) spokesman Mark Callender said that it was "the combination of smartphones, tablets, 4G speeds, and the abundance of apps" that was contributing to users burning through data allowances unexpectedly.

He noted that SMS alerts regarding data usage were now "required to be sent to customers when they hit 50 per cent, 85 per cent and 100 per cent of their mobile usage allowance, however sometimes consumers never receive them or they are too late".