Go Over Your Data Limit Again? 5 Reasons Why You’re Always Paying Excess Data Fees

mobile data excess charges

Jeff Cuellar



There’s nothing worse than receiving your phone bill to find out that it’s 50% higher or more than it should be! Actually, if you’re someone who doesn’t bother checking your statements, there is a worse situation – receiving a phone call from your telco saying that you have a 3-digit balance to pay off!

If you’re looking for answers on why you’re always getting “bill shock” every month because of your mobile phone bill – read on!


Why Do You Always Go Over Your Data Limit?

Even though you swear that you’re not using nearly as much data as your bill states, bill shock is still an annoying financial pain you feel every month! And the tighter your budget is – the more painful those excess data fees will be.

Going over your data limit is no joke, especially when Singapore telcos charge the following excess data fees:

  • StarHub: StarHub charges you $8.65 per GB (capped at $85.60 per month) for excess local data.
  • SingTel: SingTel charges you $10.70 per GB (capped at $188 per month) for excess local data.
  • M1:  M1 charges you $10.70 per GB (capped at $188.32 per month) for excess local data.

Even though these bills are capped (thankfully!), the amount you’ll end up paying for several GB of excess data usage can easily raise your monthly mobile bill by 50% higher – depending on which plan you have.

Here are the biggest reasons why you’re always paying data excess fees:

  1. Your Texting Apps: Popular “free” texting apps such as WhatsApp, Line, and Facebook Messenger use some serious data. Not from the texting, but from sending or receiving voice messages or images. Line is particularly bad when it comes to data, as conservative usage can easily use up over 1GB of data per month.
  2. Your Music Streaming: Streaming music through popular apps such as Spotify is one of the worst things you can do on your smartphone if you’re not using Wifi. Listening to just a few previews and songs on the radio can easily use up 1.6GB of data per month!
  3. Your Video Streaming: You know what’s worse than streaming music using your data? Streaming video! Seriously, extremely modest usage of YouTube can easily use up about 4.3GB of data per month!
  4. Your App Downloads: If you’re addicted to apps, the last thing you want to do is download them without a Wifi connection! Now, let’s say you download about 10 apps a month. Each app is about 150MB in size. That’s 1.5GB per month of data usage you’re using just on app downloads – and that’s before you use them!
  5. Your Mobile Gaming: Not every game will use up vast amounts of data, but if you’re playing MMORPGs or shooters with 3D graphics, such as Modern Combat 5: Blackout, playing about 30 minutes a day uses up about 411MB – and that’s just if you’re regularly playing one game.

*Note: Data usage amounts are for very conservative usage according to knowmyapp.org.

What Can You Do to Reduce Your Excess Data Usage?

What’s the easiest way to cut down on your excess data usage? Simple – stop using data! Yeah right! Seriously though, what’s the point of having a smartphone if you can’t check out Facebook or check your email right? Thankfully, it’s still not too late to change your data using ways!

Here are several simple ways you can reduce your excess data usage:

  • Upgrade to a Plan with More Data: If your data plan only accounts for 4GB of data per month and you’re consistently using 8GB of data per month, you might want to consider upsizing your local data (if possible) or upgrade to a better plan ONLY IF it’s more cost effective.
  • Use Wifi Every Chance You Get:  Using Wifi in the office, at home, at Starbucks and any other place that offers it WILL save you some serious cash.
  • Set Data Alerts and Keep Track of Usage: StarHub and SingTel offer apps that you can download (you’ll use Wifi to download them right?) that’ll help you set alerts and keep track of your data usage so you can avoid any unpleasant surprises when it comes to your monthly mobile bill.

Following the suggestions above will have an immediate impact on your data bill and may save you plenty of cash over time. Think about it – if you’re routinely spending an extra $50 a month by going over your data limit, you’re losing about $600 over the course of a year! Now wouldn’t you rather that $600 you’re wasting every year go towards something more meaningful, such as investments? Just a thought you might want to consider before you burn through your data again this month.

What are some other ways you can cut down on excess data usage? Share your experience with us on Facebook! For even more useful information on everything personal finance, visit MoneySmart today! Images:

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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.