Vodafone Australia caps UK, US, NZ global roaming at $5 per day

Vodafone Australia caps UK, US, NZ global roaming at $5 per day

Summary: Vodafone Australia has moved to end global roaming bill shock in New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom, with just an AU$5 daily additional charge.

TOPICS: Telcos

Vodafone Australia customers who travel to the US, the UK, or New Zealand will now just need to pay an additional AU$5 per day to use their phone while they're in those countries, in a sign that the telco is pushing back against global roaming bill shock.

(Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

Customers signing up to new plans in August will be able to take advantage of the new global roaming plan when visiting the three countries to continue using the text, data, and calls allowed in their current plan in those countries for an additional AU$5 per day.

The company is leveraging its joint parent company, Vodafone Group, as part of the global roaming arrangement, but ZDNet understands that in those countries where the agreement has been enabled, Vodafone has the power to roam customers to networks other than Vodafone, and still retain the same AU$5 daily charge.

In the US, AT&T is the preferred carrier due to the GSM network in place in the country, while it is Vodafone in New Zealand and in the UK.

Vodafone CEO Bill Morrow said that New Zealand, the US, and the UK make up approximately 40 percent of the locations Vodafone Australia customers visit, and around 50 percent of the places where Vodafone customers use data while overseas.

Morrow said that he had heard stories of customers being charged AU$40 just for uploading one photo while overseas, and said it was time this ended.

"We're tired of this, it is no more for Vodafone," he said.

"No one else has been able to address this issue with this simplicity and this low price for our customers."

He said that the move was a game changer that would end the need for customers to purchase SIM cards while overseas.

Morrow said it was not opt in; customers who are on the plans will be automatically eligible for the offer when they arrive in the countries where Vodafone has the offer in place.

The company is now exploring options to expand the offering to other countries as soon as possible.

Morrow said that Vodafone has deals in place with preferred carriers that offer a better price for roaming, but ultimately, Vodafone Australia bears some of the cost of their customers roaming overseas.

Earlier this year, Optus announced that it had begun capping the maximum amount it would charge customers for using their mobile service while overseas at AU$500.

At the beginning of July, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced a new International Mobile Roaming Standard that will come into effect in September and require Australia's mobile telcos to alert customers to roaming charges via SMS when they arrive overseas.

The issue of high charges for using mobiles overseas remains one of the biggest challenges for the telecommunications industry, and can result in the average citizen, or even politician, owing the mobile providers thousands of dollars.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) last year found that there had been a significant rise in the number of complaints to the TIO relating to global roaming bills of over AU$5,000, with one consumer ending up with a bill of AU$75,000 after a nine-week holiday in Europe. The TIO estimated that in 15 months, it dealt with complaints from customers over roaming charges that added up to a total of AU$8 million.

The announcement comes as Vodafone looks to turn its fortunes around with a refocus on customer relations and its new 4G network; however, earlier this month, the company announced that it had lost over half a million customers in the first six months of 2013.

Topic: Telcos


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • WOW!

    Im going to ditch my Telstra sim card and Skype and sign up with Vodafone RIGHT NAO!

    Oh wait... no im not. I like having a useable mobile phone.
    • +1 NAO!

      Funkmonkey, that's a dumb comment!
      I suggest you buy a new phone! or maybe you live in the Back of Beyond? where no Telco, not even Telstra has signal. Maybe you need to charge the battery or any one of a dozen other reasons why your reception is poor? Try discussing the problem with Vodafone!

      I use my mobile all over Melbourne with excellent coverage from Vodafone. There was a time when I couldn't get a decent signal close to the Melbourne CBD, but Vodafone has boosted it to 3 & 4 bars on my 3G iPhone. which is normal for me all over now.
      Coupled with the excellent rates my Telco provides, why would I want to pay the rip off prices Telstra charges?
    • groundhog-monkey

      When I was in the second paragraph of this article I thought "the first response will be about how rubbish Vodafone is". Well yep their service was terrible for a long time but they are improving (for the record I have a Voda and a Telstra phone, the Voda is just a backup that I rarely use.

      It would be a sad world if everyone and everything was judged by how they performed at their worst, including you groundhog-monkey.
    • @Funkmonkey

      Yes, Vodafone used to be fairly terrible in terms of reception - when I got my first mobile phone I agreed with the "Vodafail" tag. Nowadays though, it is much better. In fact, I can often get reception with my personal Vodafone mobile when my work Telstra mobile can't get a signal.
      alas yon
  • Read the fine print..., new plans only

    While this is great news, don't assume this applies to your plan. it will apply to NEW plans only.
    Why? I have no idea. Another way to piss off existing customers?

    "From late August Vodafone will introduce plans that give users unlimited phone calls and messages for $5 per day when travelling to the US, UK and New Zealand"
    "Vodafone has today announced the first step in ending widespread confusion and bill shock surrounding international roaming by introducing new plans this month that will allow its customers to use their existing call, text and data inclusions while travelling in the UK, US and NZ for just $5 a day."
  • Still expensive

    pffft, a 3 week vacation could still set you back an extra $100. Cheaper to get a global sim or local sim when you are there (if they let you). Don't know why Vodafone can't get their shit together on a broader scale. Can't even go from Germany to Austria with Vodafone without being slugged with roaming charges.

    At least its a start I guess.
    • "Cheaper to get a global sim or local sim when you are there"

      A 3 week overseas vacation and an extra $100 is a deal-breaker??
      For being able to take your phone number with you, nothing more to do. Receive your SMSes as usual, etc etc. Can you not see the benefit?
      You're belting into Vodafone when they're doing something huge that no other local provider does? Seen the article in the paper today about $65,000 Telstra roaming phone bill?
      Sorry but my BS alarm has gone off.
      • Still $100

        With the current cost of comms, $100 is still way over the top for international roaming. This is definitely a step in the right direction, but I'd be thinking $1/day would more than cover the costs - if the telcos actually got together on this.

        For now though, if I'm going on a holiday in one other country, I'll buy a SIM card at my destination. I was in South Africa last Christmas, and I paid R40 - or about A$5 - for a SIM card that had data and text sufficient for a three week break (admittedly, I wasn't uploading pictures). And even a few local phone calls.