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Optus hack: Millions of Aussies set to switch telcos

Optus store and people walking.
Millions of Aussies are switching phone providers in the wake of the Optus data breach. (Source: Getty)

Millions of Aussies are set to switch phone providers in the wake of the Optus data breach, new research has found.

A national survey by Finder revealed almost one in five (19 per cent) Aussies were thinking about switching, while 5 per cent had already changed providers since the Optus breach in September. That’s equivalent to nearly 5 million Australians who have switched or are thinking about it.

Around 9.8 million customers were impacted by the breach and more than 2 million had their personal identification documents compromised, including passports and Medicare numbers.

Finder utilities expert Dylan Crismale said the breach had made Aussies more concerned about their personal data.

“With cyberattacks in the headlines, it’s encouraged people to look at their options and protect themselves against online threats,” Crismale said.

“Customers are putting providers on notice - with many losing confidence in providers’ ability to protect them.”

Despite this, the Finder survey of 1,114 Aussies also found 14 per cent “can’t be bothered” to switch providers, while the remaining 62 per cent were happy with their current service.

Crismale said now was a good time to see if you were getting a good deal on your phone plan.

“You could be getting [a] better bang for your buck as carriers look to swoop in on affected Optus customers,” he said.

Switching telcos

If you’ve decided to make the switch, make sure you check your current contract first and see if there are any fees for ending it early.

You can generally keep your phone number when you change providers, this is known as ‘porting’.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, your telco must port your number to another telco if you ask them to. You’ll need to go through some identity checks and the whole process usually takes three hours to complete for mobile phones.

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