Optus joins the roaming push with simpler, cheaper prices

Playing catch up with Vodafone

With Vodafone all set to unveil its $5-cap "Roam Like Home" plans next week, Optus has today revealed its own international roaming changes.

While Voda's option will currently only include New Zealand, the UK and US, Optus' new roaming price cuts, starting from September, will effect 182 countries.

Now to be split into just two zones rather than the current five, Zone 1 will include Asia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, the UK and the US, while Zone 2 will include Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

Available to both prepaid and post-paid customers, the structure of pricing for roaming has also been simplified.

From mid-September, Zone 1 usage will cost 50 cents per text, $1 per minute per call, and 50 cents per 1MB of data used. Zone 2 will cost $1 per text, $2 per minute per call and $1 per 1MB of data.

From November, post-paid customers will also be able to add on a $10 a day Optus Travel Pack to their plan, which will get you unlimited texts, unlimited calls and 30MB of data per day in Zone 1.

Travel plan battle

Though Vodafone, Optus and Telstra have all been touting their own 4G networks in Australia over the last few months, the new battle looks to be forming on the global roaming stage.

"We want our customers to feel confident in using their phones overseas and know that they don't have to worry about their phone bill when they return," said Vicki Brady, Managing Director for Customer at Optus.

"Just as we launched Optus My Plan to tackle bill shock in the domestic market, Optus Travel will ensure our customers don't live in fear of huge bills when they come back from their holiday," she added.

Though it seems like travellers to UK, US and New Zealand may be better off with Vodafone's $5 cap, a proper comparison will have to wait until next week when the telco reveals pricing for plans eligible for its Roam Like Home option.

Still, both Optus and Vodafone has competition from the likes of Globalgig's Jetsetter plan for those more concerned about data usage.