Telstra Adds Bill Shock Alerts For International Roamers

Telstra has announced it will now send automatic data usage alerts via SMS to customers roaming overseas. Alerts will be sent to the user every time they pass 20 megabytes of data. Do you think the alerts go far enough?

Paris roaming picture from Shutterstock

According to Telstra, the new international roaming alerts are designed to keep its customers informed of how much data they are using whilst travelling — and just in time for the European summer, too.

“A growing number of our customers are taking their mobile devices overseas to access their emails, get live maps and stay connected to their favourite social networks while travelling,” said Telstra Mobile director Tim Webber. “To help customers manage their data costs, we will now automatically send our customers data usage alerts via SMS every time they roam overseas.”

To be honest, we’re not sure this announcement is anything worth crowing about. This is something that consumers really should have been getting years ago. (It’s akin to a bank proudly boasting that its ATMs now provide a warning about hidden transaction fees.)

Plus, the fact remains that Telstra is an eye-wateringly expensive proposition overseas — one megabyte of excess data will cost you $15.36, which means you’ll be more than $300 out-of-pocket by the time you get the first alert outside of your data allowance. We’ve asked Telstra about its reasoning behind setting the alerts at 20MB and are currently waiting to hear back from them.

UPDATE: Telstra has since sent through the following explanation: “We send an educational message as soon as any customer turns roaming on, advising them that they’ll receive alerts for each 20MB used and how they can manage costs, including how to buy a data pack. In order for the alerts to be issued in a timely manner, they are sourced at the network level, which means before we know whether it’s for a consumer or business customer or whether they have a data pack or not. They cannot be individually tailored and we feel that this figure attains the right balance for all customers across all of our business units.”

On the plus side, Telstra has increased the value included in its International Casual Traveller Data Packs, which now provide double the amount of data and an additional 25 eligible countries for a total of 50 (new additions include India, Ireland and Vietnam). You can read more about Telstra’s alerts and data packs here.

If you are planning an overseas trip in the coming months, also be sure to check out our guide on how to avoid roaming rorts.

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