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UK mobile subscribers overpaying £200 a year in wrong-tariff foolishness

Mobile bills analysis firm billmonitor reckons Brits are collectively wasting nearly £5bn per year on the wrong mobile tariffs -- an average of nearly £200 per person on the wrong contract.

Three quarters of Brits are on the wrong mobile tariff, and we're overpaying nearly £200 each and every year as a result. That's according to a survey from billmonitor, based on crunching the stats from 28,417 people's mobile bills here in the UK.

The scary topline finding of the survey is this: collectively, us Brits are wasting £4.9bn a year on our mobiles that could be going on video games, binge drinking, speedboats and so on. According to billmonitor, there are so many mobile tariffs on offer in the UK, we have trouble picking the right one for our usage.

The survey found 76 per cent of mobile subscribers are on the wrong tariff for their needs. Of those, 52 per cent are on a plan that's too much for their usage -- using just a quarter of their voice call allowance, for example.

Another 29 per cent are on tariffs too small for their needs, and thus spending extra dosh after blowing through their allowances. billmonitor points out that of the £3.47bn spent outside allowances, half is accounted for by the top 5 per cent of customers. Which means some people are wasting seriously huge money.

Meanwhile, the remaining 19 per cent have the right level of minutes, but are wasting money on tariff length and other costs.

billmonitor makes a startling comparison: the Olympic Games in 2012 are likely to cost the UK around £9bn, yet we're merrily dribbling away £4.9bn a year needlessly on our mobile tariffs.

The survey might seem somewhat self-serving, given that billmonitor runs an online service designed to help people choose the right tariff. We've covered the company before though -- it knows its shizzle when it comes to tariff-crunching, and this data is based on proper analysis of real bills.

"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," says director Dr Stelios Koundouros.

"With only few customers truly aware of their usage patterns and with almost 8 million mobile phone contracts available in the UK, customers are being overburdened by choice and are in need of guidance."

Photo credit: Roger A Smith (Creative Commons)