Telstra simplifies international roaming call charges

Roaming should be easier now, but will still cost you.

In a move similar to Optus last year, Telstra has revamped the way it charges for international roaming by introducing eight zones.

For the 192 countries that Telstra offers roaming services in, the zones begin at $1.50 for Zone 1, which includes New Zealand, South Africa and Singapore, rising in increments of 50 cents to $5 for Zone 8, which includes countries like Bangladesh, Maldives and Zimbabwe.

The zone rates include calling and receiving, and will now be charged in 60 second blocks instead of 30 second blocks.

Telstra has also done away with call connection fees for post and pre-paid customers, while it will still be free to receive and SMS and cost 75 cents to send an SMS.

Simple, but not cheaper

Unlike Vodafone's aggressive Red Roam Like Home plans and Optus' traveller packs, Telstra's changes don't make using your phones while overseas significantly less costly.

The zones certainly make it easier to figure out what your charges will be, but in many instances, like with $3 per minute charges for the US, it will actually be more expensive to make or receive a call within the US now ($2.19 and $2), though making a call to Australia or another country from the US will be cheaper ($3.35 and $3.57).

Of course, it does standardise the charges, so it's still a positive move. Previously, each country had different roaming charges, and within each country (as can be seen above) there were different charges for calling within the country, calling to Australia, calling to another country and receiving calls.

Telstra last year also introduced 30-day data packs for use in 50 countries and dropped standard roaming data charges to $3.00 per MB.

The new roaming call charges will be applicable from 24 March 2014.

  • Don't have a holiday booked for any time soon and more concerned about the state of the local network? Check out our guide to the best 4G network in Australia.