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Monday, 23 September 2013 17:34

Telstra slashes international roaming charges


Telstra will cut its fees for international mobile data roaming from $15.36 to $3 a megabyte, though it's still far pricier than Optus and Vodafone.

The telco said in a blog post today it would also significantly expand the data limits for its 'casual traveller data packs', offering four different data options.

Customers will also receive SMS alerts for every 20 MB of mobile data while roaming, Telstra said.

Telstra's new travel packs are:

  • $29 for 100MB to use over 30 days
  • $85 for 300MB to use over 30 days
  • $160 for 600MB to use over 30 days
  • $350 for 1.5 GB to use over 30 days

"Our new data packs give our customers great flexibility and great value," Telstra said.

"And they are available to use in 50 eligible countries – more than any of our competitors – including summer holiday hot spots like Fiji, Bali, Thailand and Vanuatu as well as countries across Europe and South America. Importantly the data packs cover all of the major airport hubs for Australian travelers – Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, London, New York and Auckland."

The company's changes mean it is the last of Australia's big three mobile telcos to cut down international roaming fees, after Optus and Vodafone made similar decisions earlier this year.

Optus' new roaming plan, announced last month, covers 182 countries which are separated into two different zones. Data costs for those zones are between 50 cents and $1 per 1MB, while customers can also buy a $10-per-day pack that includes unlimited calls and texts and 30MB of data.

Meanwhile Vodafone's plan covers Aussie travellers visiting the US, the UK and New Zealand and offers customers the option of using their Australian plan overseas, for $5 per day.

Australia's communications watchdog ACMA announced in July an International Mobile Roaming (IMR) standard that requires mobile service providers to provide a range of consumer protection features to help overseas travellers manage their mobile usage and better avoid bill shock. It will be phased in from 27 September 2013.

Complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman about mobile roaming charges rose 70% to 4100 in 2011-2012 from the previous year.

"With these new data plans, we estimate that for an overseas trip such as a quick six day hop to the US for business, a week-long Bali break with the family or a 10 day adventure in Europe, a 300MB pack at a cost of $85 would suffice for typical needs," Telstra said in its blog post.

" This is based on average data usage of between 30 MB and 50 MB per day, which works out between $8 and $12 per day," Telstra said.

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