Telstra Revamps Roaming Packs, Still Cost A Bomb

Telstra Revamps Roaming Packs, Still Cost A Bomb

One of the most common complaints about Telstra is that it costs a small fortune to use its roaming services if you go overseas. Does a revamp of its plans help solve the issue? Not really.

Telstra has added five new “roaming packs” to its original set. Here is what’s now on offer, in terms of what you pay up front and the included “value”. The newly-added plans are in bold:

[block] [left] $29 $85 $160 $350 $550 $1050 $1800 [/left] [right] $150 $450 $900 $2250 $3750 $7500 $15000 [/right] [/block]

Telstra has also expanded its range of countries, with China, Greece, Spain, Italy, Fiji, Taiwan, Netherlands, Switzerland, Hungary and the Slovak Republic joining the existing range. A total of 25 countries are now covered.

While paying $29 for $150 worth of roaming value might sound tempting, it doesn’t represent much data at all. Telstra still charges $15.36 per megabyte for international data, so for your $29 you are getting a little under 10MB. The top-priced $1800 plan gets you just under 1GB of data. And that’s the most generous estimate — since there’s also a 50 cent connection charge, you’ll get less data in virtually all circumstances.

The bottom line? International roaming is still really pricey, and since even the most expensive plans expire within 30 days, it’s way too much to pay for a personal holiday, and potentially tricky to get your boss to sign off on. Hunt down some free Wi-Fi or buy a local SIM instead.



  • Why are Australian consumers still being subjected to this type of pricing rubbish. $29 does not buy you $150 worth of calls. It buys you $29 worth of calls. Most of the civilised world wont allow this crap, why do we? How about something realistic and calculable, say $29 buys me 150mins of calls.

    • agreed. i remember the days over 10 years ago, when 1 sec billing was around. then all off a sudden we switched to 30sec billing again, with flag falls making an appearance for cap plans. i hate capped plans. seems so backwards. might work for most people who dont realise that they are paying too much, but for those who spend a lot, its the worst way to go without committing to higher plans. there is no opportunity to have spikes in ur spending without a stupidly high bill when u go over the cap.

    • You’re not buying $150 worth of calls for $29, you’re buying $150 of services for $29. You could easily change the units of measurement form Dollars to say Donkey Tongues, so now for $29 (real dollars) you are buying 150 Donkey Tongues. So to make a phone call to someone when travelling overseas it will cost you say 1 Donkey Tongue. 1 MB of data will cost you 15.36 Donkey Tongues.

      • Sorry, I disagree… you’re not buying $150 worth of services, as those services do not have a real value or $150 – there’s no way you could sell them to anyone for that price.

        Donkey tongues, however, I agree with you completely; although, I’m surprised they’re going so cheap these days.

          • I think the issue is that Pay-as-you-go isn’t really a thing anymore…instead they make $29 worth sound like a lot more – when in reality you’re hardly ever paying $150 for $150 worth of calls – unless you’re on pre-paid.

        • Incorrect. Look at the pre-paid or the post-paid options and it’s the same nonsense. $X = $Y worth of calls or data. It is a joke. I cant see how anyone can defend this practice. There is no logic behind it other than to convince some halfwit he is getting something for nothing. It needs to change by consumers saying “stop treating us like morons.”

          • I’ve told you the solution, come up with a single unit of measurement for all the services on offer, then sell X amount of that unit of measurement for $Y per month.

  • Buying a local SIM is not an easy option either. If someone can tell me how to buy a short-term local SIM for data in New York then please do tell. As far as I can tell from reading various forums it is not a simple off-the-shelf thing. Especially for iPhone users.

  • I definitely agree with the last line “Hunt down some free Wi-Fi or buy a local SIM instead.” A real alternative to paying anything to Tel$tra (or Optus or Vodafone) is a SIM from RoamingSim (which are for purchase in Australia). The cost of data in all of the EU countries plus Singapore & Hong Kong (and possibly others) is $1.00/MB – charged @ $0.10/100kB.

  • In Bali right now, hot spotting to iPad via iPhone 4s from Tel$tra. Called them before I left, they unlocked the phone for free, it took about 20 mins to become network free.
    Bought local sim in Bali, but couldn’t find a micro sim, they looked bemused when I showed them mine. Spoke to the lady and asked for a pair of scissors, copied the cut of my Telstra sim, snipped away then placed in iPhone, hey presto….local number,data and SMS, perfect. All for about $5

  • I’m off to Japan in a couple of weeks. I’m planning on renting a portable wifi hotspot thing. Cheap, and unlimited data. Roaming SMS charges aren’t horrid, and between the wifi and hotel internet I should be able to use Skype/email/upload photos and so on while I’m away. And I can take it around with me all day, so if I really need to get unlost Google maps via my phone are only a short boot-wait away.

  • I agree that”$n worth of calls” is misleading. The common unit should simply $/MB. Ultimately, calls and SMS are just data in a different format. SMS is an incredibly expensive way to move a few characters of text data. One day, calls and SMS will be just data apps.

  • I also travel a lot, i tried different ones, but i stopped on travelsim. In most coutries incoming calls are free of charge, data also is available, rates for outbound calls depend from from the country u are, very low prices for text from special app, check rates on the
    by the way in Japan and Australia incoming calls are free

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