Two-thirds of small business owners could be paying too much for mobile plans: Survey

Roger David

Can you remember the last time you switched phone plan? There’s a good chance the current one you’re on could be losing you money, as data shows small business owners spend on average $172 a month on mobile phone bills.

In a survey of over 600 small businesses, retail and finance researcher Canstar Blue found 73% of respondents claimed to be “loyal” to their mobile service provider. However, 65% acknowledged there are better deals out there.

Canstar Blue editor Simon Downes told SmartCompany businesses sticking with existing phone plans is not due to ignorance, instead citing time as the primary issue.

“From the response we got, it seems small business owners don’t put in the time to find a better deal, even though they know there are better deals out there,” he says.

“People who run their own businesses have even less time in their day than people who work a standard job. They’re just complacent, and they believe finding a better deal isn’t worth the time.”

The businesses surveyed covered “most industries”, the only criteria being the business employs up to 20 people. Eighty-five percent of businesses surveyed revealed they had been with a single service provider for “several years.”

A price reduction of even just $40 per month can see businesses saving over $450 a year. But businesses don’t want to face the “inconvenience of changing” says Downes, preferring to stick with what they feel “is normal”.

Megan Doyel, head of Canstar Blue, said in a statement businesses wanting to cut down on their phone bills should consider buying mobiles outright.

“Consider paying for the handset outright and search for a good SIM-only plan. This way you can chop and change providers as often as you want, making sure you always getting the best value,” Doyle says.

“Or if you don’t want to pay for a handset outright, consider a plan with an older phone.”

Downes agrees, acknowledging there is a rise in sim-only plans being offered by mobile-providers.

“If you think ‘this phone is going to cost me the same regardless of how I pay for it’, then you typically stand to get a better deal,” he says.

The survey also asked business owners about what features of phone plans are the most important, with 32% of respondents saying data and call time as the most important features for them. Surprisingly, only 4% said they value SMS as a feature but Downes believes this is due to customers “taking SMS for granted”.

“SMS prices are taken for granted a bit, we expect to have unlimited call time and SMS, it doesn’t seem to be that important,” Downes says.

Comparing an average consumer to a small business owner, Downes says consumers tend to focus more on data capabilities, where business owners still prioritise calling.

“People in business still think it’s important to call people, and they’re willing to call people too,” Downes says.

“Getting a phone call is more valued by customers and clients, so call time is still a big factor.”

The report also examined customer satisfaction amongst the three major Australian telecommunications providers, Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone. The survey revealed overall satisfaction was highest with Optus, despite customers feeling Telstra’s network coverage was the strongest.

“This is the second year in a row that Optus has topped these ratings, which suggests it is keeping its business customer very happy,” Doyle says.


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5 years ago

I now alternate between a hardware plan and a SIM-only plan which results in skipping a generation, e.g. I got an iPhone 4S when they first came out and then upgraded to the 6 when they first came out.

5 years ago

Interesting that this does not take into account the cost of time it would take to find alternative plans, cost them out, ensure coverage is ok, etc.That is normally why businesses rely on brokers to get them the best deal. It would be awesome if phone carriers like Telstra reviewed existing plans and recommended changes that would benefit consumers instead of stumbling onto better plans (more data & less cost for instance) from the same provider.

Nick Assafiri
5 years ago

It is also the same in the United States with Verizon and other providers where Mobile Business Plans + Phone inclusion are costly. Outside the prestige of owning the cutting edge models, they serve the basic functionalities that business needs.