According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, mobile data usage in the last financial year grew by 44.5%. More than 175,076 TB of data was consumed through mobile broadband in the second quarter 2017. With such an appetite for data, many Aussies find themselves exceeding their data plan limits, thereby attracting hefty charges. Data usage monitoring can help you to limit such costly charges. Knowing exactly how much data you use ensures you pay only for what you use.
Many Australians feel that unlimited plans are what they need to support their online gaming, social media engagements, and video streaming among other online activities. While this argument has merit, not every user needs an unlimited plan. If well utilised, the monthly data caps carriers provide can be sufficient. Active data usage monitoring can also make you a better-informed user when choosing mobile data plans.
There are several ways through which you can monitor your total data usage and usage per app. This will help you see which apps are responsible for what percentage of data usage. You may even find out that some of the heavy consuming apps are those you can do without!
Carrier Data Usage Tools
Network carriers such as Telstra, Vodafone, Optus, and TPG have tools that allow you to monitor your data usage over a billing period. The tools may be embedded on the carrier’s website such that you have to login to access them or they may be in the form of apps that you can download from your app store.
- Telstra has an app called Telstra 24×7 which allows you to check your data consumption against your monthly allowance. Alternatively, you can log in to ‘My Account’ on the Telstra’s website using your ID to check your usage month to date.
- Vodafone users can manage their data usage through ‘My Vodafone’ which is a login portal on the carrier’s website. You can also set up Vodafone Alerts which notify you when your usage reaches 50%, 85%, and 100% of your data plan.
- Subscribers on the Optus network can use the ‘My Optus’ app to check their device data usage anywhere within Australia 24/7. The app is available on both App Store and Google Play. The second way users can get an update on their usage is through short message service. Postpaid users should text ‘1’ to 9999 while prepaid customers should text ‘2’ to the same number. You can also check your usage online by logging into ‘My Account’ on the Optus website.
- To monitor your TPG mobile usage, log into ‘Your Account’ and click on mobile usage under TPG mobile services. The TPG app on iOS and Android can also help you to monitor your TPG internet usage and give you a lot more relevant information.
Third Party Usage Tracking Apps
Other than the carrier usage monitoring apps, independent developers have also come up with data management apps which you can download to your phone. Examples of these apps include Data Usage Monitor by Lufesu Inc., My Data Manager by Mobidia Technology, Mobile Data Usage developed by Gibli Mobile, Internet Speed Meter Lite by DynamicApps, and GlasswWire Data Usage Monitor by SecureMix LLC.
These apps measure data coming from your carrier into your phone and as such the numbers they display may differ slightly from those on your monthly bill or phone settings.
Monitoring via Phone Settings
You can check your monthly or month to date data usage direct from your phone under the Settings menu. If you are using an Android phone, navigate to ‘Wireless and networks’ under the Settings menu, then, click on data usage and you will find both cellular data and Wi-Fi data usage.
The default billing period may differ from your carrier billing period. To correct this, go to the Billing Cycle tab and set when the monthly cycle starts. This functionality works independently from your carrier and the numbers it captures show how data moves through your phone over time.
Once you know how much data you are using each month and the apps that consume the most, you can start managing your data usage. Taking active control of where your data goes ensures that only the necessary and data-worthy functions run on your mobile.