Getting stung by a massive mobile bill for excess usage is a stupidly common one in today's market of confusing cap plans and metered data.
But a new trial from up and coming network Live Connected is hoping to end the Bill Shock phenomenon by sliding users up to the next plan tier if they exceed their monthly usage.
In other words, if someone on a $60 cap plan, which includes $700 worth of calls, 1.5GB data and unlimited SMS, accidentally uses more than their allocated 1.5GB, instead of being slugged by excess usage fees, the network will slide them up to the $80 plan for a month.
The next month, they'll go back to the standard $60 plan.
It's only a trial, and currently on available in Sydney for customers on a dedicated Live Connected Phone plan. It runs until the end of April, and if well received could be rolled out to a national customer base.
Double edged sword
As a weapon against bill shock, this sounds like an efficient way to do away with exorbitant expenses. But it could be a double edged sword.
There is the potential that exceeding a monthly allowance by a few megabytes could suddenly see you charged much more than you would be if you were paying for excess usage.
With Sliding plans priced at $50, $60, $80 and $100 a month, each increase could see you paying a more if you only just exceed your monthly quota.
The other issue is for those occasions you exceed the $100 a month plan's bundled 3GB of data. Instead of sliding you up any further, instead Live Connected will disconnect your service to prevent surprise bills.
Depending on how well this is actually communicated, you could end up with no data connection at all when you need it most using this structure.
Still, anything that helps consumers keep their bills in check is a good thing, even if it is only in the form of a temporary trial.