Boost Mobile Australia kills off international roaming from October until mid-2021

Draw-card from MVNO put away until next year, citing a shift to a new backend.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Boost Mobile Australia is saying a shift in its backend has led to the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) pulling its international roaming packages. The MVNO was one of the few prepaid players in Australia that offered roaming.

"To ensure we continue to offer simple and great value products for our customers, we are making some changes behind the scenes and will soon be moving to a new platform," the company stated on a support page.

"While we make these changes, international roaming won't be available. This new platform will allow us to re-design our international roaming offering to bring you a better product in mid-2021."

Boost Australia users, should they be overseas, will still be able to continue using international roaming until midnight of October 12. From October 13, Boost Australia users will be unable to have mobile service overseas, which means no calls or SMS messages.

Users that were drawn to the telco due to its roaming ability will be able to seek partial refunds. The telco has suggested users that still need data overseas turn the clock back and purchase a local SIM, or use Wi-Fi and over-the-top services to make calls.

Boost Australia roaming plans typically charge between AU$1.50 and AU$5 a minute for calls, and 65c for each text sent. The telco does not charge for receiving texts.

In 2012, the MVNO switched from riding on the Optus network to Telstra.

If ever there was a time to switch off international roaming, a pandemic is probably the right time.

Last month, Australian national airline Qantas reported its full-year net profit took a 91% nose-dive to AU$124 million to the end of June 2020. Revenue for the airline came in at AU$14 billion, a 21% dip from last year.

More bullish on international travel is Intelsat, a company currently in chapter 11 bankruptcy that announced earlier this week it intends to spend $400 million in cash to buy the commercial aviation arm of Gogo.

The Gogo install base involves 21 airlines and over 3,000 aircraft, Intelsat said, and includes among its customers nine of the world's top 20 carriers.

"Consumer demand for in-flight connectivity is expected to grow at a double-digit rate over the next decade, notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19, " Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler said.

"We are growing beyond satellite connectivity to expand into consumer-optimised managed services."

Provided the deal gets the proper approvals, it is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

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