From 23 March new plans reduce the 20 different call rates from 200 different countries to just one – one dollar a megabyte (MB) or for a one minute call. One catch – the rates are just for its pre and post-paid users. Others will need to look at alternatives.
Vodafone also has a $5 per day roaming pack in 46 countries outside the 200 destinations covered by the $1 per MB plan. This is available to all Vodafone post-paid plan customers.
Its customers can check data and call usage using a cloud-based MyVodafone app.
Considering there are 1024 megabytes in a gigabyte (GB) AU$1024 is still a tad expensive but it beats some carriers that charge up to $3 per MB ($3000 per GB) or only offer prepaid packs that appear to be lower cost – only if you use you full data allowance.
Telstra has introduced new roaming rates as well from 24 March – voice calls now range between $1.50 and $5 per minute and 30-day data packs from $29 per 100MB. This is for its pre or post-paid customers.
Optus has plans that bundle with Home Phone and Broadband or Entertainment bundles and travel passes. Optus users should contact it to ascertain what works best – the web site was as little confusing.
There are many other providers - usually called mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) - that resell major local and international carriers voice and data – just be careful of time limits as most start from when you purchase the service instead of its first use, some lock you into long term plans, and some become your default telco in Australia taking over your billing etc.
Be very wary of leaving default cloud backup settings in place – turn these off. Many smartphones will automatically back up music and photos to the cloud – a 3MB photo could cost $3 to $9 dollars.
In writing this article, I concluded that most people would simply take the easy route and switch on international roaming with their carrier – to hell with the cost.