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Prepaid mobile users still prefer to recharge at a store

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: supermarkets are still their number one channel for recharging, ahead of going online or making a call, the latest telecommunications data from Roy Morgan Research shows.

26% of prepaid mobile customers last recharged at a supermarket, ahead of 18% recharging via the internet, 13% via a phone, 11% at a retail store, 8% at the service provider’s store, 6% via app and 3% via SMS.

Overall, 44% of prepaid mobile owners reported going into a bricks-and-mortar channel for their last recharge, 37% used the internet, phone, app or SMS, and 5% have an auto-recharge set up for their prepaid mobile phone credit.

% of Prepaid Mobile Owners who last recharged by Channel

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July 2014 – June 2015 n = 4,756 Australians 14+ with a prepaid main mobile phone. Total may not equal 100%: some respondents used another channel, couldn’t cite channel, or cited multiple channels.

Tim Martin, General Manager – Media, Roy Morgan Research, says:

Across providers, there are some stark differences in how their prepaid customers prefer to recharge. Vodafone’s prepaid customer are the most likely to recharge at the provider’s own shopfront or at a supermarket, while Optus’s are the most likely to buy credit at a retail store. Telstra’s prepaid customers are also more likely than average to recharge via these traditional channels or by phone call or SMS, and Virgin’s are almost 50% more likely than average to use the internet. Customers with Amaysim or Boost are each around five times more likely than average to have an auto-recharge set up, and a huge 34% of prepaid customers with ALDI recharge via app—a rate around six times the norm.

“Providers need to understand their prepaid customers and ensure they are able to recharge in whatever way suits them best. Technology Traditionalists and Technophobes often want to be able to go into a store or speak to someone on the phone while the Digital Life crowd tend toward over-the-counter recharging at supermarkets and other retailers. Technology Early Adopters are naturally inclined to get more credit by internet, SMS or auto-recharge—but Older Tech Explorers are also more likely than average to use these channels.

“Next week, we’ll be examining just how often people with different providers recharge, and seeing how that correlates with these customers’ channel preferences.” 

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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%