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Tips and tricks to avoid excess data charges

Everyone loves having a reliable mobile service, but very few of us love seeing excess charges on our bills. It’s fine to budget for the expected, but when you’re constantly racking up excess charges on your phone bill, especially for data usage, sometimes that budget can go flying right out the window, taking the hard-earned contents of your wallet with it.

How bad is the problem of excess data charges? Our research at finder.com.au suggests that in 2016, Australians spent a whopping $146 million on excess data charges. That’s a lot of money being spent in situations where a little prudent usage or careful checking could have saved you money rather than you wasting it. With our appetites for data-heavy services such as video messaging, Netflix streaming and online gaming only intensifying, it’s likely that this figure could rise if Australians don’t get wise and save their mobile data for when it’s really needed.

So how do you best manage your mobile usage to avoid excess charges? In a truly nuclear sense, you could always disable data usage on your smartphone entirely, but that’s a radical step that would limit the usage of your existing plan in frankly unacceptable ways. The thing is, you don’t have to be radical. Just follow these simple tips to get your mobile data usage under control.

1) Work out which apps are gobbling up your data.
Did you know that your phone tracks your mobile data usage by app? For iPhone users, head to Settings>Mobile Data to see which apps are the biggest culprits when it comes to data usage. Android users will find the same information in their Settings app, typically under Mobile Networks and then Data Usage, although this varies a little depending on your handset and Android version. If you find any apps that you don’t use any more eating up your data, uninstall them! For apps that you still want to use, keep an eye on any data spikes and consider limiting their background data usage so that they’re only eating up data when you’re using them.

2) Go offline for apps when you can.
Many Australians are big Netflix fans and it’s not hard to see why. The problem is that data usage on Netflix can easily chew up all of your data. Instead of streaming live while you’re out and about (where you may hit buffering issues anyway if you go into a tunnel or hit a very busy mobile cell tower), consider using Netflix’s offline viewing option to preload episodes of your favourite Netflix Original series before you head out. Competitors Stan and Amazon Prime Video both offer this feature for a wide range of TV shows and movies too.

3) Use public Wi-Fi (but use it smartly).
Loads of shopping centres, cafes and other public attractions now offer free public Wi-Fi to entice patrons through the door. Why not use their free services rather than your paid data? The one caveat here is that you shouldn’t perform any private tasks, such as online banking or sending photos, on such networks because you can never know who else might be snooping on your mobile traffic. The use of a VPN, or at least websites that use HTTPS, is a must if you want to browse privately.

4) Make sure you’re on the right plan!
If you’re always hitting your data limit before the end of the month, instead of paying the extra charges every time, have a look at some higher-tier plans. Yes, you’ll pay more upfront each month, but if you’re always blowing past the cheaper limit and paying loads in excess charges, upgrading your plan could actually work out cheaper in the long run. It’s also worth checking for features that let you simply drop data usage for your plan in your current billing cycle, as well as paying attention to usage alerts when they come through.

Alex Kidman is the Tech & Telco editor at finder.com.au.

New CMobile plans offer fantastic value!

We’ve recently updated our range of C Red plans to offer even more value to our customers.

  • C Red $9.90 gives you up to 100 minutes of talk with 250Mb of data
  • C Red $16.90 gives you up to 300 minutes of talk with 750Mb of data
  • C Red $24.90 gives you UNLIMITED talk and text with 1.5GB of data
  • C Red $34.90 gives you UNLIMITED talk and text with 3GB of data
  • C Red $44.90 gives you UNLIMITED talk and text with 5GB of data
  • C Red $59.90 gives you UNLIMITED talk and text with 8GB of data

These SIM only plans have no lock in contract and offer fantastic value! You can find our complete range of both Red and Blue plans here on our plans page.

CMobile plan updates – even more value!

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At CMobile we are always working behind the scenes to improve our customer experience. After some negotiations with our carriers, we are able to announce that we have increased the value of some of our plans, and also implemented some brand new plans.

All plan changes are effective from the 1st of May 2015. If you are already on one of these plans you don’t need to do anything as you will automatically be upgraded on the improved plan with extra value. If you wish to swap plans, please give us a call and we will schedule the change for you. Of course, all of our plans, including the new ones, come with CMobile’s all Australian expert support and personal service!

Improved C Blue plans!

  • C Blue $19.90 per month plan now includes up to 150 minutes (up from from 133)
  • C Blue $29.90 per month plan now includes up to 250 minutes (up from from 200)
  • C Blue $39.90 per month plan now includes up to 350 minutes (up from from 300)

Excess data rates on ALL C Blue plans Down!

If you exceed your data allowance on C Blue plans from May 1 you will pay just 5c per Mb. This is down from 25c per Mb. We have been negotiating this with our carrier for many months and we are very pleased to be able to announce this outcome.

New C Blue $59.90 plan!

To cater for the bigger users, we have launched the C Blue $59.90 per month plan. This plan includes up to 600 minutes talk time and 3Gb of mobile data.

Improved C Red $9.90 plan!

Our bargain C Red $9.90 per month plan now includes up to 100 minutes talk time (up from 66) and also now includes 150Mb of mobile data (up from 100Mb).

New C Red $59.90 Unlimited plan!

For those who need extra data, we are now have the C Red $59.90 per month Unlimited plan. This includes unlimited talk and text, plus a massive 4Gb of mobile data.

You can view all our plans here

If ever you have a question about any of our plans or anything else, please call or email us.

Regards,
Yasmin

CMobile introduces data barring at 100% of allowance

CMobile has introduced automated data barring for customers who reach 100% of their monthly data allowance. This means that customers who receive a text alert stating that they have exceeded 100% of their monthly data allowance will have their data service automatically barred until the end of the month, when it will be automatically unbarred.

It is very important to note that this does not guarantee you will never receive excess data charges. CMobile receives call and data records from our carriers overnight in a usage file. This means that the system is not “real time”. Effectively, your data may not be barred until 48 hours after the data session that caused you to reach your monthly allowed limit has occurred. This is not a perfect system, but it certainly limits the time you can use excess data. Data is barred when you receive your 100% data usage notification, not when you hit exactly 100% of your monthly allowance.

FAQs
Can I continue using data even though I’ve hit my monthly limit?
Yes. Simply call CMobile Support on 1300 545 000, a free call from your C Mobile, or email support@cmobile.com.au. Our support staff will make sure you understand the excess data charges, and will be happy to unbar your data service.

How do I know if I’m getting close to my data limit?
You will receive data usage alerts via SMS when you have exceeded 50%, 85% and 100% usage. You can also monitor your usage at any time during the month via the “My CMobile” portal on our website. Simply log in with your account number, and the password you chose when you signed up.

Is my voice and SMS going to be barred if I hit my monthly allowance?
No. If you exceed your monthly call and SMS allowance, you are charged at our normal low rates for any excess usage. You will still receive SMS usage alerts at 50%, 85% and 100% of your monthly voice and text allowances, but your voice and text services will not be barred when you hit 100% of your included value.

I am on a C Red PAYG $0 per month plan. How does this affect me?
If you are on the “pay as you go” plan, you do not have a monthly data allowance, so you will not be affected by this. We recommend you monitor your usage via the “My CMobile” portal on our website.

As always, if you have any questions or need help please call or email our support team.

CMobile plans reviewed on whatphone

We have been reviewed on a new mobile phone comparison site called whatphone. Whatphone has a range of interesting and useful articles in their blog

If you’re already a CMobile customer, you will know the benefit of low cost SIM only plans with no lock in contracts. Why pay more than you need to?

  • You can read the whatphone review of CMobile here
  • A review of our new big data plans here
  • The best pay as you go PAYG mobile plans here
  • Our great value C Blue plans here
  • Stop wasting money and pay less on our Red plans here

Check out whatphone for a range of information to help you save money and be better informed.

Warning to all iPad and iPhone users from CMobile

We have seen a number of Apple device users (iPhone/iPad) report that their devices have been “hacked” remotely by an unknown malicious source and locked. A message then appears on the screen stating that the device can be unlocked by paying a US$100 ransom to the attacker via PayPal. The attacker is going by the name Oleg Pliss, and the message reads something like:

“Device hacked by Oleg Pliss. For unlock device, you need send voucher code by 100 usd/eur (Moneypack/Ukash/PaySafeCard) to email: lock404@hotmail.com for unlock”

There has recently been a couple of high profile attacks where eBay and Adobe passwords have been stolen. People have a tendency to use the same password over and over again. It is likely that these hackers are trying these stolen passwords on multiple platforms, including the Apple one. In this case, the hackers are using the “Find My iPhone” feature to remotely lock the device after hacking in to the iCloud platform via the stolen password. They then change the password, and demand a ransom to unlock the device:

CMobile strongly suggests that you change your iTunes/iCloud password immediately and also make sure it is unique. Also, set up a passcode on your device, so there is a two-stage verification process.

To set up a passcode on your iPhone or iPad, please refer to the below link:
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4113

To change your iCloud password, please refer to the below link:
http://support.apple.com/kb/ph2617

If you have been targeted in this attack and your iPhone/iPad is currently locked, please refer to the below link from the Apple Support site, which has some suggestions to resolve the problem:
https://discussions.apple.com/message/25902093#25902093

If you are not sure how to proceed, please contact CMobile at support@cmobile.com.au, or give us a call on 1300 545 000 and we would be happy to assist you in restoring your device.

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CMobile supporting Nitro Circus

Nitro Circus are currently touring Australia and if you haven’t ever seen a show we highly recommend it! Last Saturday, we went and watched the show and were amazed at the bravery and skill of all the athletes. The tricks and stunts they do are unbelievable and it doesn’t always end well either. Crashes can and will happen when these guys push the boundaries so much! It sure does make for an exciting spectacle not to be missed.

If you’ve had a chance to see a show, you might notice our CMobile advert on the big screen. CMobile are also sponsoring some of the international athletes such as Travis Pastrana, Lyndsey Pastrana, Erik Roner and James Foster just to name a few. We are happy to keep these guys connected to the world with a CMobile SIM while they’re touring around Australia. If you’re interested in catching a show check out www.nitrocircus.com

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Mobile Phone Mythbusters!

An email came in to our inbox the other day entitled “5 Things You Didn’t Know Your Mobile Could Do!”. It’s also been going around facebook if you haven’t seen it already.

As we read through, it became clear that it was a mixture of truth, exaggeration and plain fantasy. Following on from that, we thought we’d share with you the facts on some of the claims regarding mobile phones circulating the internet:

1. Dial 112 – it is the world-wide emergency number for mobiles
This is mainly TRUE. It is not “world-wide” but certainly operates in most countries around the world including Australia. Dialling 112 will connect you to the 000 emergency line from your mobile. It is also true that 112 will work without a SIM in Australia. It is also true that the phone will pick up ANY network that is available when you dial an emergency number, not just your own provider’s network. The important thing to remember here is that dialling 000 WILL WORK EXACTLY THE SAME WAY in Australia, so no need to remember 112 unless you’re travelling.

2. Unlock your car with your mobile phone if you’ve forgotten your car key remote
If you lock your keys in your car, you can unlock it by getting someone at home to call you on your mobile. They then press the unlock button on your spare key into their receiver. You point the mobile phone at the car and it unlocks. Err no. Completely FALSE. Keyless entry systems operate on an encrypted radio signal, which cannot be transmitted by a mobile phone over a voice channel. Call your road-side service provider, or get someone to drop your spare keys to you.

3. Hidden battery power
Hidden battery power is unlocked by pressing *3370#. Press this when your battery is about to run out to get up to a 30% increase in your remaining battery power.
FALSE! One of the bugbears of modern smartphones is the battery life. Bigger screen sizes and more processing power equals more power required to run them. Manufacturers are constantly trying to find ways to improve battery life, just to keep up with the technological advances of the phone. Do you really think they are holding out on us to the tune of 30% of the battery life?

4. Blocking your mobile phone if stolen or lost
Dial *#6# and a 15 digit code will come up. Keep a note of it and if your phone gets stolen, advise the carrier and they can stop it from being used.
TRUE. Dialling this code will display your phone’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. It is effectively your phone’s unique serial number. Your carrier has the ability to block your handset if it is stolen and quoting this number to your provider will enable them to do so. In Australia, there is agreement between carriers so that phones are blocked on all networks if reported stolen. It doesn’t get your phone back, but makes it only useful as a paperweight for the thief.

5. Using your phone while refuelling your car can cause an explosion
This seems to be one of those things that just started circulating 10 years ago, and has never really been challenged. There has never been a single documented case of a mobile phone causing a petrol pump fire or explosion, only urban legends. This myth is FALSE. The battery in your phone is the same voltage as a car battery, but with far less current. It is therefore wrong to assume the battery is the cause. Radio frequency EME (electromagnetic energy) cannot spark a petrol fire, or any other type of fire for that matter. The stickers on our petrol pumps look impressive, but in reality, they are protecting us from a danger that doesn’t exist!

If you have any more mobile myths you want proven or disproven, add a comment below, and we’ll investigate. Alternatively, email us at support@cmobile.com.au, or let us know on Facebook.

Cheers,

Peter

CMobile refer a friend special offer

Refer a friend offer
Simply refer someone you know to CMobile and if they successfully sign up online to our of our plans from $19.90 and above, both you and your friend will receive a $10 credit on your CMobile account. Make sure you tell your friend that they must quote your Account Number in the Promo Code field when signing up.

Terms and Conditions
Referred customer must not have been a previous customer of CMobile. Offer expires 31/12/2014 unless withdrawn earlier. Only available for new connections on a $19.90 per month plan or above. $10 credit applied to both the current and referred customer within 60 days of referred customer’s sign up. Both referred customer and current customer must maintain separate and active accounts until credit is applied. Credit is only issued to an active CMobile account and is not transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash. Customers who disconnect before credit is applied will forfeit their credit amount of $10. Referred customer must quote the current customer’s Account Number as a Promo Code during Sign Up to receive this offer.

How to manage your mobile data usage

With mobile networks getting faster and smartphones doing so much, it can be easy to chew through the mobile data allowance on your plan. Did you know your phone or tablet can use mobile data without you even knowing it? Things like software and app updates, email, GPS location services, online games, Facebook and the use of cloud based services can all be using your mobile data.

To help limit your mobile data use and reduce the risk of incurring excess data charges, here are some things you can do:

1. Use secure Wi-Fi networks where available
If you have Wi-Fi at home, turn on Wi-Fi in your phone settings so that you’re using the Wi-Fi rather than mobile data. Set up your app updates to download and sync via Wi-Fi only. You can also look out for free Wi-Fi networks at cafes, stores or your work place.

2. Download a data management app for your smartphone
Good examples are My Data Manager or DataMan. These apps can help you track how much mobile data you’ve used and provide real time alerts. Although not 100% accurate with the mobile network, they provide a good guide if you’re nearing the limit of your data allowance.

3. Take notice of your CMobile SMS usage alerts
CMobile will SMS you alerts once you exceed 50%, 85% and 100% of the included data allowance on your plan. Please note, call records from the mobile carrier are up to 48 hours behind so these alerts are not real time.

4. Turn off or limit automatic notifications
Go to your app settings and turn off our limit automatic notifications for apps such as Facebook or mapping services where data is used for GPS / social media. You can also turn off push email.

5. Minimise the use of video streaming and music apps
Video streaming and music apps such as Spotify, Netflix or Pandora can be data heavy. Video streaming can use approximately 500MB of data in just 70 minutes so be careful when using these apps.

We are here to help so if you ever need advice or assistance on your data use, call us on 1300 545 000 or email support@cmobile.com.au