Aussies Paying $140,000 for Internet, Phones, Streaming Over Lifetime

January 22, 2021 Updated: January 22, 2021

Bills for the internet, mobile phones, and streaming services quickly add up, but a changing market and 5G entering the fray means the chance for a better deal.

The cumulative cost for internet, phone and streaming services is now almost $140,000 (US$108,000) over the average Australian lifetime.

That’s a breakdown of about $78,000 on internet, $41,800 on mobile plans, and $19,300 on services like Netflix, spread out over an average lifetime of 82.5 years.

Monthly costs work out to $80 per month for internet, $45 per month for mobile, and $25 per month for streaming services, according to a new report from digital consumer website

If you average 60 minutes a night on the likes of Netflix and Stan, that’s an hourly rate of about 82 cents.

Figures were calculated using the most-recent pricing data available and a survey of 1,000 people about streaming and mobile costs.

Considering how much has changed in the previous 80 years, trying to guess the type of technology available in the future and what it will cost over a lifetime is nearly impossible.

A decade ago that calculation might have factored in a home phone bill.

Mobile prices fell 17 percent in 2019-20 thanks to a drop in the cost of entry level plans and significant growth in data allowances, according to the ACCC’s annual Communications Market Report.

In the near term, 5G is likely to cause the biggest shake up in the technology space.

Where it’s already available, 5G speeds for home internet vary between around 50Mbps and 300Mbps, according to comparative website WhistleOut.

“Given the speeds you can achieve for prices similar to NBN 50 and NBN 100 plans, it will be a compelling option for many Australians, especially those struggling with subpar speeds on Fibre to the Node connections or Fixed Wireless,” WhistleOut Managing Editor Alex Choros said last month. “As the 5G rollout progresses, it’s inevitable NBN Co and NBN providers will have to factor this into how plans are priced.”

By Nick Gibbs