ACCAN commissioned ACA Research to analyse the global roaming charges of 12 popular providers across the top ten overseas destinations visited short-term by Australian residents. The research took place during July and August 2013 but was was updated with new pricing details in September and October 2013.

The research revealed the extraordinary price differences that exist both across and within providers.Recent changes by Vodafone, Optus and Telstra are seen as a step in the right direction but there is now a confusing array of roaming offers from data packs, to pay as you go to $5/$10 a day deals. Some of the new plans are data-only or don't cover all popular travel destinations for Australians.

Australian consumers face roaming charges that can range from as high as $3.50 for an SMS down to 38¢. Data can range from $51.20/MB down to 50¢/MB.

Some of the key takeaways for consumers include:

  1. Consumers should avoid using data roaming on prepaid or post-paid plans without a roaming data pack.
  2. Roaming call costs are still extremely high unless you're on one of the new $5/$10 a day deals from Vodafone/Optus.
  3. For calls only you can get a much better deal using a travel sim such as GoSim, Roaming Sim and Travel Sim compared to prepaid/post-paid plans from the main providers.
  4. Sending MMS messages through roaming costs a lot but consumers can avoid these costs by sending photos via online apps provided they are within their data use limits or using Wi-Fi.
  5. Even checking your voicemail can cost you an arm and a leg if you're not careful with roaming usage so tell people on your voice message to send an SMS to you instead.

Download the report: docxGlobal roaming price comparison247.31 KB