Australia, New Zealand set to cut global roaming charges

Global mobile phone roaming charges between Australia and New Zealand could be set to fall

Global mobile phone roaming charges between Australia and New Zealand could be set to fall, after the Australian and New Zealand governments indicated they will honour a deal to cut the expensive charges.

The changes were first discussed back in February, when former Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, announced a trans-Tasman roaming agreement with New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key.

Despite a change of government in Australia, newly installed Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull today suggested the new Liberal Government will honour the global roaming proposals between the two countries.

"The Minister for Communications is consulting with his colleagues on the proposed arrangements with New Zealand," Mr Turnbull's spokesman told AAP.

"While this consultation is still ongoing, the government is viewing the proposed arrangements positively."

The proposed arrangements in the initial trans-Tasman roaming deal include mandatory price caps on calls and data while roaming.

The news was welcomed by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), but the body said it would like to see similar deals arranged with other countries.

According to ACCAN's global roaming research, conducted by ACA Research on behalf of ACCAN, there are currently "extraordinary price differences" that exist both across and within Australian mobile phone providers.

ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin, said consumers can too easily be left with an expensive bill of roaming charges if they do not choose the right plan.

"This research highlights the significant price differences on global roaming both across and within providers, as well as the diverse ways of calculating charges," she said.

"Individuals will need to make a judgment based on the particular overseas trip they take and the services they want to use, and may find that high roaming charges mean they are better off changing from a plan that is otherwise good value."

The trans-Tasman roaming deal news comes shortly after Telstra, Optus and Vodafone introduced measures to reduce roaming charges.

However, Corbin said the plans from the major Australian telcos remain confusing.

"The recent changes are 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."

ACCAN says buying and using a local SIM card at a travel destination is still the best option for most travellers.

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Tags VodafoneTelstraRoamingoptusaccanACCAN Teresa Corbinglobal roaming

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