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Is worrying about data overages hurting mobile use? Is a heavy duty web design killing your traffic?


Are you among the many people dodging mobile data overage charges? Does worry over an unexpected data overages keep you from accessing all of the things you’d like to on your device?

Even as we are downloading more mobile apps than ever before, they are also going to great lengths to avoid excruciating bills, including accessing free Wi-Fi, using a friend’s phone or relying on work to subsidise their personal data addiction.

Are you a data dodger?

New research from Optus shows that 60 per cent of Australians that use their mobile phone to access the internet worry about their mobile data allowance, with one in three concerned about getting an unexpected bill for going over their limit.

Does it count as stealing company resources if, according to the research, workers are relying on employer internet for personal use up to four hours per week, just to avoid using mobile data?

When asked about the moral side of leaching company Wi-Fi, 46 per cent of respondents reported that they feel using workplace data is nowhere near as bad as taking stationery from the cupboard for personal use.

Technology expert and commentator, Trevor Long recently said, “We’ve all heard stories about people who have received a huge bill for exceeding their data allowance. As this research shows, there is such an engrained fear about suffering bill shock, people are regularly taking measures to avoid it. The first thing people are looking for in a café is not what coffee they have, but if they offer free Wi-Fi.”

Work versus private usage

Those who admit to using workplace data to avoid personal bill shock spend their time checking Facebook (69 per cent), downloading files for personal use (37 per cent) and printing out maps so they don’t need to navigate using their mobile phone (33 per cent).

Indeed, three in five (59 per cent) of full time workers believe that employers should let staff use the internet at work for personal use. Bearing in mind that 46 per cent think that using workplace data is nowhere near as bad as taking stationery from the cupboard for personal use.

For those lucky enough to have a work mobile phone, 45 per cent admit to using their device for personal use and 31 per cent use their device as a data hot spot.

In contrast to the fear people have about their personal data allowance, 30 per cent of those with a work phone use its data for personal use as they’re not worried about having to pay the bill.

Keeping the business end up

While we are learning that mobile devices are rapidly displacing desktop web use, we can compare that trend with the Optus survey.

How do businesses leverage the need to reach a mobile audience with a perceived aversion to mobile data overage charges? The answer is yet another argument for lean, user-centric responsive web design.

It’s funny, because mobile tech is shaking things up, and putting tremendous computing power at your fingertips, web design is streamlining now more than ever. At the heart of responsive web design is parity of content and uniformity across all the devices in the multichannel reality.

So there’s your food for thought, Anthillians. If we look at the overwhelming amount of data coming out that confirms what we know, that mobile usage is on the rise, and compare that with the average consumer’s tendency to avoid data-intensive downloads, you have to ask yourself if your current mobile website is using too much data.

You wouldn’t want your website to be the data that’s getting dodged.