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48 days of credit: how often Australia’s prepaid mobile phone users recharge

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July 2014 – June 2015 n = 4,756 Australians 14+ with a prepaid main mobile phone.

6.2 million Australians 14+ (32%) have a prepaid mobile phone—which they recharge almost every seven weeks on average, the latest telecommunications data from Roy Morgan Research shows.

40% of prepaid mobile customers say they recharge every four weeks—correlating with the most common prepaid plans offered by providers. But while just 12% recharge more often than every four weeks (including 9% every 2 to 3 weeks and 3% at least weekly), 31% recharge less often: 9% of prepaid mobile owners recharge every two months, another 9% every three months, and 13% top up even less often than that.

% of Prepaid Mobile Owners who recharge by Frequency

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July 2014 – June 2015 n = 4,756 Australians 14+ with a prepaid main mobile phone. Total will be less than 100% as some respondents can’t cite how often they recharge.

Across all prepaid mobile users, the average recharge frequency is around 48 days, or just under every seven weeks. But there are some marked differences in how often the average mobile user recharges depending on their service provider.

Customers with Virgin have the longest average interval between recharges: 63 days, or every nine weeks. Around 1 in 5 Virgin prepaid mobile customers say they recharge less often than every three months, and another 3 in 10 recharge only every two or three months.

Other prepaid mobile customers who leave it a little longer than normal between recharges are those with ALDI Mobile (every 57 days), Vodafone (53 days), or Telstra (49 days), while those topping up a bit more frequently include those with Amaysim (45 days), TPG (44 days) or Optus (44 days).

Customers with Boost are by far the most frequent rechargers: they add credit every 28 days on average—spot-on the four-week mark. In fact, nearly 3 in 4 Boost prepaid customers say they recharge every four weeks on the dot.

Average Number of Days between Recharges by Provider

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July 2014 – June 2015 n = 4,756 Australians 14+ with a prepaid main mobile phone

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

Last week, we looked at the top recharging channels used by prepaid mobile customers, and found many differences in these preferences between providers.

“Data allowance is an increasingly important factor in when people recharge. Over half of prepaid mobile users who have a data allowance recharge every four weeks on the dot, often coinciding with the data expiry. Running out of data is also a common reason why prepaid customers find themselves topping up every week or fortnight or so.

“Our extensive mobile phone data reveals the correlations between customers’ channel, frequency, spend and data allowance, phone usage, and demographics. Using these insights, providers could better understand their prepaid customers.” 

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%