Data roaming costs slashed with flat fee pricing


Telecom has a new approach to international data roaming that slashes costs for travellers when using their smartphones and other mobile devices overseas.

A feature is a flat daily rate for data roaming by postpaid customers across major travel markets. Australia roaming starts at a specially reduced rate of $6 a day (Telecom will review the rate in mid-2013).

Customers pay just $10 a day flat rate for data while travelling in the UK, USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia. Telecom’s fair use policy applies to these rates.

Data roaming charges have been slashed by 83% to 92% in other markets, although charges continue to be on a usage basis.

The new postpaid pricing schedule also includes new voice call roaming rates, featuring a 35% cut in the per-minute rate for Australia. Rate bands across all other markets have been simplified to make them easier to follow, with individual market rates either reduced by up to 50% or broadly similar to current rates.

Telecom chief executive Simon Moutter says the flat rate makes it much simpler for customers to understand data roaming costs, and gives them the freedom to make use of their smartphones in the same way they would at home.

“It’s also much simpler to follow than any usage-based system — as most customers don’t really know how quickly their phone apps will chew through 1MB, 10MB or 100MB.

“Currently, around two-thirds of our business customers switch off their data when in Australia, despite most being regular data users when in New Zealand.”

Mr Moutter says Telecom has been busy over recent months renegotiating underlying wholesale deals with overseas telcos to make the flat fees commercially possible.

“We’ve focused first on those markets most important to our business customers, in particular Australia, US and China. We’ll keep pushing on behalf of customers and be seeking to add more countries to our flat fee plan as and when we can.”

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