A recent research study by University of California, Los Angeles professor Chunyi Peng has discovered a severe fault in the way mobile companies count data usage, resulting in almost unanimous overcharging.
The problem arises when data is transmitted to devices in poor reception areas. Ultimately, the telcos count all data that is sent, but has no way of tracking whether the data is ultimately received by the consumer's device.
In areas of questionable reception, the data often never arrives at the device, but is still counted as part of a customer's monthly bill.
Overall, it can result in an average of five to seven per cent of overcharged data every month.
The solution to the problem would require a complete overhaul of the system, introducing a system that confirms when a device receives mobile data packets.
All Australian networks guilty
The Sydney Morning Herald has confirmed that the issue affects all the Australian networks, although all networks claim that they have systems in place to prevent the discrepancies from resulting in large charges being added to a customer's bill.
According to the Herald, Telstra claims that it has checks in place to prevent overcharging, but couldn't confirm they were 100 per cent fool proof.
Likewise, Optus believes its systems will prevent overcharging, although encourages users to contact them over discrepancies.
Vodafone, meanwhile, claimed that the amount of data sent but not received would generally be so small that it would be negligible on a customer's bill.