We’ve all been there – running out of mobile data at the most inconvenient moment when you absolutely must check Facebook, read your emails, or watch the latest episode of your favourite Netflix show on the bus home from work. Surely there’s something you can do about it that doesn’t include outrageous excess data charges?
With some people’s plan allowances coming up short and others having data to burn, there seems to be an obvious solution: Why not pool those resources together and get the ultimate bang for your family buck? Well, now you can. Several telcos have finally cottoned on to the idea of data sharing mobile phone plans, which are ideal for couples or families who want to pool their combined plan data. Chances are mum and dad won’t need as much data as their teenage children! Indeed, Canstar Blue research shows that 35% of young Australians (aged 18-29) on a post-paid plan regularly exceed their data allowance, while just 8% of those in their 50s do likewise.
How does family data sharing work?
Family data sharing is when a household can pool separate mobile plans together on one bill and share the collective data. Customers who sign up for multiple post-paid mobile plans with the one billing account can combine all their data inclusions together.
All families have different data needs, with some people in the house using more than others. With family data sharing, you can combine all the mobile plans registered to your home on the same bill and make the most of everyone’s data. This is ideal for families whose data usage needs change frequently, or for parents who want to give their kids access to greater download quotas.
Optus tells us there are around one million households who would want to sign up for family data sharing. With Telstra and Vodafone now offering similar deals, the number of Aussie families who pool their mobile data will no doubt increase rapidly.
To help you out on your quest for a family plan, we’ve checked what’s on offer from the current providers in terms of data sharing.
The first provider to enable family data sharing was Optus, which offers the benefit on all of its post-paid ‘My Plan Plus’ subscriptions. What’s more, all of these mobile plans already come with unlimited talk and text, making it an even better deal. For more information on the telco’s current plan range, check out our review of Optus mobile plans.
Telstra gives you the option of data sharing on any plan if you’ve been subscribed for six months or longer. You can simply purchase a data share SIM to allow family members to use your data allowance, and you can also purchase what Telstra calls a Companion Casual Plan. For $35 a month, you get unlimited talk and text and the ability to share the data from any other plans on your billing account. For more information on what Telstra offers, see our review of Telstra mobile plans.
Telstra also sells individual data-sharing SIM cards and enables the feature on its mobile broadband plans. For $5 a month you can buy a blank SIM card which will allow you to share your mobile phone plan’s data with another device. There are also several mobile broadband SIM plans with data-sharing capability, ranging from 1GB to 8GB per month.
Following the introduction of Vodafone’s updated plan range, all of its ‘Red’ plans are now eligible for data sharing. Just like the previous two telcos, you can share data in one big pool between multiple plans on one account. Unlike the others, however, Vodafone will give you a bonus 500MB of data for every plan you share your data with. You can include a maximum of nine plans, so that’s up to 4.5GB of bonus data for you to enjoy.
You can enjoy Vodafone’s data sharing on both mobile phone plans and mobile broadband SIM plans. These data plans range from $10 a month for 1GB of 4G data to $60 per month for 12GB. You can find out more information on Vodafone’s current range with our review of Vodafone mobile phone plans.