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Monday, 05 February 2007 06:08

3 targets travellers with new roaming rates

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3 is attempting to lure business customers with a new simplified pricing plan for overseas calls and data charges. The new '3 Like Home' plans do make a more attractive package for Australians when travelling for work, but unfortunately there's still problems on the domestic front.


Under the new plans, customers won't be charged to receive calls from Australia if they're connected to a 3 network overseas, eliminating the charges found on most overseas roaming agreements which can cause a nasty case of sticker shock when you get home. Countries where that deal will apply include United Kingdom, Hong Kong, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Austria and Denmark.

Customers will also enjoy "similar rates" to those they're charged at home to make calls and access data services in those countries, a statement announcing the new rates said.

That isn't necessarily a good thing. Three's basic data rate plans are amongst the cheapest on the Australian market, with its top-level plan allowing two gigabytes of data for just $69 a month.

However, because 3 is now competing with former partner Telstra after the latter built its Next G network, it is forced to charge a premium rate of $1.65 a megabyte if you travel outside 3's own network area (largely restricted to capital cities) and roam onto a GSM network. There's a tiny allowance of free access, but at 6 megabytes on the priciest plan, it wouldn't take long to chew through. That means not only are you paying more for the service, you're getting less speed -- an unattractive combination.


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