New international roaming rules | ACMA

New international roaming rules

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From Friday 27 September 2013 there will be fewer surprises for Australian consumers using international mobile roaming services.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s International Mobile Roaming Standard takes effect from this date, although the implementation of the standard’s various components is staged.

From tomorrow, all Australians travelling overseas will receive an SMS alert advising them when they start roaming and a warning that significantly higher charges may apply.

In addition, customers of Optus, Telstra and Vodafone will receive SMS messages informing them of the costs of using roaming services in each country they visit.

Medium and smaller telcos are building systems to allow them to send these SMS messages. In the meantime, customers of these telcos will receive information about roaming prices and an ACMA fact sheet on alternatives, when they first ask for access to roaming.

In addition, customers of Optus, Telstra and Vodafone will receive from tomorrow a series of SMS messages informing them of the costs of using roaming services in each country they visit.

‘The increasing use of smart mobile devices has meant that people using mobile devices overseas without careful planning are at risk of bill shock, possibly running to tens of thousands of dollars,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

‘These warnings are important because international roaming services are usually priced differently from services at home. The overseas charges for receiving calls and casual use of data—for activities like maps, social media, email, browsing and uploading photos—are often expensive. And these further charges vary between mobile plans and between countries.’

Optus, Telstra and Vodafone have all recently announced welcome changes to roaming charges,’ Mr Chapman added. ‘So, talk to your provider and about the options before you travel and tailor your approach to suit your particular circumstances.’

More information in the Backgrounder below or to arrange an interview, please contact: Blake Murdoch, (02) 9334 7817 and 0434 567 391 or

Media release 70/2013 - 26 September


The International Mobile Roaming (IMR) Standard was made by the ACMA in June 2013.

The Standard focused on four key consumer protection measures:

  • A notification via SMS to be sent to all consumers on arrival overseas, warning them that significantly higher charges for using roaming services may apply.
  • Enabling customers to stop international roaming, at low cost, at any time—including from an overseas location.
  • A notification to be sent via SMS to customers of service providers giving them pricing information for using a range of roaming services. These services include any that would normally be free in the domestic market, such as receiving a call on a mobile device.
  • Spend management tools, including notifications in A$100 increments for data usage and notifications at 50, 85 and 100 per cent of included value, if a customer has purchased an included value travel package from their IMR service provider.  

The standard’s implementation timeframes are being phased in from tomorrow (27 September 2013).

Last updated: 04 October 2016