International roaming warnings start tomorrow

Major telcos cut roaming fees ahead of international mobile roaming standard

An international mobile roaming standard taking effect tomorrow will provide SMS warnings about international call fees to Australians travelling abroad.

The standard, which was set by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in June, requires Australian telcos to send SMS alerts advising customers when they start roaming and warn that higher charges may apply.

Optus, Telstra and Vodafone customers will receive messages explaining the precise costs of each country they visit.

“The increasing use of smart mobile devices has meant that people using mobile devices overseas without careful planning are at risk of bill shock, possibly running to tens of thousands of dollars,” ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said in a statement.

“These warnings are important because international roaming services are usually priced differently from services at home,” he said.

“The overseas charges for receiving calls and casual use of data—for activities like maps, social media, email, browsing and uploading photos—are often expensive. And these further charges vary between mobile plans and between countries.”

Independently from the regulatory standard, all three major telcos have recently cut their international roaming costs.

Vodafone Hutchison was first out of the gates with a $5 daily plan covering the US, UK and New Zealand that lets users maintain their current call, SMS and data limits abroad.

Optus followed with a $10 daily international roaming plan covering New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Europe, United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Asia. The plan provides unlimited calls and 30MB of data.

Earlier this week, Telstra unveiled a new range of international data packs providing a greater amount of data than it had offered previously.

The 30-day plans range from $29 for 100MB to $350 for 1.5GB and can be used in 50 countries. Telstra also reduced its pay-as-you-go data roaming rate to $3 per MB.

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Tags mobileregulationTelcoregulatoryRoamingAustralian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)bill shockstandard

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