International roaming costs $1.4bn: YouGov

Wednesday, 08 May, 2019

International roaming costs $1.4bn: YouGov

Australian travellers are being urged to review their phone plan ahead of overseas trips, with international roaming fees found to have cost the nation $1.4 billion.

The new research conducted by YouGov Galaxy also found that 63% of smartphone users are concerned about the prospect of returning home to a large bill, while 1.5 million smartphone owners have taken the extreme step of leaving their mobile phone at home when they head overseas. Key statistics include:

  • Five million Australians (41% of smartphone owners) have been hit with international roaming fees.
  • Gen X (51%) and millennials (45%) are much more likely to have been charged fees than baby boomers (29%).
  • The average international roaming fee per person is $290, which equates to more than $1.4 billion in fees.
  • Around 250,000 Australians claim to have paid more than $1000 in international roaming fees.

The Chief Commercial Officer at Vodafone, Ben McIntosh, said that people should be able to use their phone overseas as they would in Australia, with the same sense of freedom and flexibility.

“Only 3% of smartphone users will continue to use their phone as normal with the vast majority taking steps to avoid international roaming, the most popular being restricting their phone to be used with Wi-Fi (41%),” he said.

“There is no reason for travellers to fear bill shock while they are out of the country. We encourage people to review the international roaming charges with their current carrier — the vast majority of travellers should not be paying more than $5 extra a day to access their phone as they would at home.”

While each telco in Australia provides their customers with international roaming options, with Vodafone’s roaming, consumers can use their data, call and text inclusions just as they would in Australia, in over 80 countries around the world.

McIntosh offers the below tips to avoid bill shock while overseas:

  1. Contact your telco before you go to check what options you have for roaming overseas.
  2. Pre-plan — purchase roaming packs or if you are a Vodafone post-paid customer, take advantage of $5 roaming and add this cost to your holiday budget so that you don’t have any nasty surprises.
  3. Use your smartphone or telco provider app to track your data usage.
  4. Be aware of apps such as maps that use location services which are heavy on data use.
  5. Use trusted Wi-Fi such as the network at your accommodation to conserve your data.

Image credit: ©Victoria/Dollar Photo Club

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