Telstra aims to simplify international roaming prices

Customers can now buy travel passes with unlimited calls and text

Telstra has fired the latest volley in the telco price war for international roaming.

Telstra today revealed international roaming “travel passes” that provide unlimited calls and SMS to and from standard numbers, plus what is effectively 50MB data per day, while the customer is abroad in one of 40 popular holiday destinations.

The passes are available starting today for post-paid consumer and small business customers.

Pricing varies depending on which of two zones the country falls under. Zone 1 is cheaper and includes New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia. Zone 2 includes the US and Canada plus selected destinations in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, South America and the UK.

Customers can buy travel passes for three, seven, 14 or 30 days, and customers can buy multiple passes, Telstra said. Passes can also be used across multiple destinations if they are in the same zone.

While customers cannot buy passes in single-day increments, in effect Zone 1 passes cost $5 per day, while Zone 2 pricing is $10 per day. Users who exceed their data limits during the travel pass period are charged 3 cents per MB.

“Our customers told us that they wanted better value international roaming options and pricing that is easier to understand,” said Telstra mobile director, Scott McGibbony.

Optus and Vodafone introduced daily international roaming plans late last year.

The Telstra plan more closely follows the Optus plan. Optus has divided 182 covered countries into zones and provides unlimited calling and SMS, but it only includes 30MB of data per day. Optus charges $10 a day for Zone 1 areas including New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Europe, UK, US, Canada and Asia.

Vodafone appears to have the cheapest deal, with the telco charging $5 per day in 47 countries – including many for which Telstra and Optus charge at least $10 – and the customer maintains the same calling and data limits they have in Australia.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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