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Optus moves to slash global roaming charges

Optus has followed Vodafone in attempting to put a stop to Australian consumers being hit with massive global roaming charges when using their mobile phone overseas.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Optus will become the second Australian mobile provider to seek to bring an end to the bill shock that often comes when customers use their mobile services while abroad, bringing in new pricing plans for 182 countries.

The new plans slash the price for data and calls for post-paid and prepaid customers, and simplify the overall structure for determining how much customers will pay if they're planning to use their phone while abroad. In Zone 1, which includes New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Europe, the UK, the US, Canada, and Asia, the price from mid September will be 50 cents per text, AU$1 per minute per call, and 50 cents per 1MB of data used.

For Zone 2, which includes Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, the cost will be AU$1 per text, AU$2 per minute per call, and AU$1 per 1MB of data used.

Optus' existing mobile roaming fee schedule is organised into five zones, with post-paid customers paying anywhere between 65 cents per minute for a local call up to AU$6.60 per minute for an international call, 55 cents plus the standard SMS fee for texts sent, and 20 cents per 10KB of data used.

Prepaid customers currently pay anywhere between AU$1 per minute for a call up to AU$6 per minute, with each text costing 75 cents, and data charged at AU$1.32 per 60KB.

From November, post-paid customers travelling to countries in Zone 1 will be able to purchase an Optus Travel Pack, which will cost AU$10 per day and give the customers unlimited phone calls, unlimited text messages, and 30MB of data to use. An Optus spokesperson confirmed to ZDNet that once the 30MB of data has been used, the standard Zone 1 data rate charges apply.

The announcement follows in the footsteps of Vodafone, which announced at the end of last month that customers on yet-to-be-announced plans will have the option of paying an extra AU$5 per day when travelling to the US, the UK, or New Zealand, and be able to keep using their mobile services as if they were still in Australia, with the same call, text, and data limits.

While Optus' announcement covers many more countries, those who travel to the UK, the US, or New Zealand will likely pay less on the Vodafone plan.

Earlier this month, Telstra CEO David Thodey did not give any hints as to whether Telstra is planning to follow suit with its own global roaming plans, but did say new mobile plans are coming.

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