Optus is updating its roaming plans, making it marginally less expensive to take your phone overseas and keep your existing number. While those plans are a slight improvement, we still maintain you’re much better off acquiring an overseas SIM.
From mid-September, Optus will offer a simplified range of roaming deals, cutting down from five separate regions to just two. Zone 1 includes the USA, Europe and Asia (98 countries total), while Zone 2 covers Africa, Latin America and the Middle East (84 countries total).
While roaming in Zone 1, you’ll pay 50 cents per text, $1 a minute to make or receive calls, and 50 cents per megabyte for data. Zone 2 is pricier: $1 for texts, $2 a minute for calls, and $1 per megabyte for data. Those rates apply on both prepaid and postpaid plans.
From mid-November, Optus will also introduce an optional travel pack for Zone 1 countries, though only for postpaid customers. For $10 per day, you’ll have unlimited calls and texts, plus 30MB of data.
The phone component of that deal isn’t too bad; after all, only 10 minutes of calls would put you over the $10 figure. But 30MB of data is spectacularly skimpy; upload a handful of holiday photos and it’s over. Once you’ve used the 30MB, you’ll be paying 50 cents/MB again.
There’s some resemblance between this plan and Vodafone’s new roaming plans. Vodafone’s deal is cheaper ($5 a day), but applies to a smaller group of countries.
Two things are clear. Firstly, both carriers offer a better deal than Telstra’s eye-watering $15.31 per megabyte for overseas roaming. Anyone who leaves a Telstra SIM in their phone while overseas is in for a world of pain.
Secondly, roaming deals are still too expensive. Check out our guide to the top 10 ways to avoid global roaming rorts for more advice.