Holiday roaming | ACMA


21 December, 2015 09:14 AM


Holiday roaming

By Editor

Woman in airport terminal with mobile phone

The convenience of using your mobile phone overseas can sometimes be outweighed by the cost. To help you get the most cost-effective use of your mobile devices, we’ve put together some helpful tips to remember when travelling.

Roaming charges can vary

Yes that’s right! Charges can vary depending on the destination, exchange rates and pricing arrangements between your provider and their overseas partners. Even if you have travelled overseas recently and used roaming, it pays to check the rates before you travel again.

You can also opt-out of roaming at any time during your trip by contacting your provider.

Service provider obligations

If you have mobile roaming enabled on your phone, then under our international mobile roaming (IMR) standard, your service provider must offer you a range of ways to help you manage your mobile usage and costs while overseas. This includes:

  • sending an SMS warning about higher roaming charges on arrival at your destination
  • giving you clear maximum pricing information if you activate roaming services
  • offering you a free or low cost way to opt-out of using IMR services at any time, including while you’re overseas.

Spend management alerts about data and travel pack usage are also available to Vodafone, Optus and Telstra customers.

What to do before you travel

  • minimise your data usage by sussing out the free Wi-Fi spots whenever possible
  • become familiar with the international roaming charges at your destination
  • decide on the most cost-effective option (e.g. current IMR rates with your plan, using a travel pack with data/voice inclusion, a global sim with pre-set limits or using a local sim at your destination).

But if you want to use this option be aware that both a global SIM and a local SIM are likely to include a separate phone number and that you’ll need to unlock your device before you leave, so that your phone can be used on other networks.

For more information about roaming and tips to combat bill shock when travelling, see our avoiding high bills when overseas fact sheet.