Not only does paying for global roaming mean you are often ripped off, it can be very confusing trying to work out what rates you'll be charged based on your destination. As of 24 March, Telstra will be making its rates a little less confusing — but it's still a very expensive way to stay in touch on the road, especially when using data.
Picture: Getty Images
In a blog post today, Telstra announced that as of 24 March it will be dividing the world into eight zones to determine the rates you'll be charged for making or receiving voice calls or for sending SMS messages. SMS messages are now a flat rate of 75 cents around the world, and can be received for free. Connection charges are also not being applied to calls, whether you are on a postpaid or prepaid plan.
On the downside, calls are now charged in 60 second blocks rather than 30 seconds, and in some cases the rates have gone up. These are the new rates and zones:
Zone 1 $1.50 per minute: includes New Zealand, South Africa and Singapore Zone 2 $2.00 per minute: includes Greece, Malaysia and Vietnam Zone 3 $2.50 per minute: includes Fiji, Hong Kong and Thailand Zone 4 $3.00 per minute: includes Canada, Philippines and the USA Zone 5 $3.50 per minute: includes China, Italy and the UAE Zone 6 $4.00 per minute: includes Indonesia, Portugal and Turkey Zone 7 $4.50 per minute: includes Croatia, Mexico and Sri Lanka Zone 8 $5.00 per minute: includes Bangladesh, Maldives and Zimbabwe
Whether this is a better deal depends very much on where you travel and what kind of calls you make. One example: right now, Telstra charges $2.19 per minute for calls in the US to US numbers, so it's actually getting more expensive to do that. Calls to Australia are currently $3.35 a minute, so that's a little cheaper.
What hasn't changed, however, is Telstra's data rate, which remains $3 per MB for users who haven't purchased a data pack. (It's the same rate in all zones.)
Lst year when Telstra dropped its rates from the eye-watering previous price of $15 per MB — but that still made it more expensive than Optus and Vodafone, both of whom also changed their approach.
The bottom line? Unless you really need to be called, picking up a local SIM is still usually a better deal. To avoid getting slugged, check out our guide to roaming mistakes to avoid.
Telstra simplifies International Roaming call prices into eight zones [Telstra Exchange]