As government pressure on Aussie telcos to make global roaming costs fairer increases, Vodafone has announced new, simplified calling and data rates for customers travelling to over 200 destinations worldwide.
The new international roaming charges mean customers will pay a flat rate of $1 per minute when calling from eligible countries, which include the 46 nations covered by Vodafone’s Red Roaming plans as well as an additional 150-plus countries.
Data rates have also been reduced by 90%, with the pay-per-use price for one megabyte of data now also $1 (down from the previous price of $10.24 per MB).
While Vodafone’s international roaming rates previously varied depending on a customer’s destination, the flat rate across virtually all countries Aussies travel to makes keeping track of roaming charges a lot less complicated for anyone taking their phone overseas.
However, the new prices still aren’t cheap; data especially will add up quickly for customers paying per megabyte.
Red Roaming for everyone
The even-better news for Vodafone customers is that the company is now extending its $5-per-day Red Roaming deal to all customers on post-paid plans. Previously, Red Roaming – an add-on feature that allowed customers to use their plan’s domestic inclusions when overseas, for the cost of $5 extra per day – was only available to customers signed on to a Vodafone Red Plan.
Customers currently on Vodafone plans will be able to use Red Roaming from next week onwards. New customers signing with the telco from the 23rd of April will have Red Roaming automatically available on their service plan.
Red Roaming is available in 46 popular travel destinations, including the US, UK, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Of course, $5 a day still isn’t a budget-friendly option; two weeks of overseas travel and daily phone use will see you coming home to at least an extra $70 on your phone bill. But compared to the global roaming offers from other carriers, it’s probably the most affordable option available in Australia.
New ACCC restrictions coming?
Optus launched its own global roaming Travel Pack add-ons late last year, introducing a $10 per day roaming option which gives customers unlimited talk and text and (a rather meagre) 30MB of daily data use.
Telstra still charges phoning home from overseas depending on which ‘zone’ a country falls under. In terms of global roaming data, Telstra updated their add-on data pack rates in October, with a minimum pack of 100MB costing you $29 and 1.5GB setting customers back $350.
Considering the still-inflated price of using your smartphone internationally, it’s not surprising that the Federal Government is assembling a draft bill to allow the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission greater powers.
The proposed bill will restrict the roaming costs telcos pass on to their customers, as well as the wholesale roaming rates that carriers charge each other.
Unsurprisingly, while Optus is in favour of limiting wholesale prices, none of the major Australian networks have responded positively to the idea of having their roaming rates restricted by the ACCC.