Beware new mobile phone bill shock threat

Sweeping changes to Telstra mobile phone call charges could cost Aussies while overseas.
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01.Incoming mobile phone calls could cost you

Overseas mobile roaming fee hike
Watch out for mobile phone bill shock if you’re travelling overseas from March 2014. Changes to Telstra’s pricing mean consumers could be stung by unexpectedly high global roaming mobile phone charges.

Telstra will rationalise its current 792 international roaming mobile call rates down to just eight, with a single cost to both make and receive calls. Telstra says this will enable consumers to more easily calculate the costs of making and receiving mobile calls while overseas. The price of this simplicity could be unexpectedly high for consumers, however, in some of the most popular holiday destinations.

Using Telstra’s new mobile call rates schedule, the postpaid rates for receiving international roaming calls in New Zealand, for example, will jump from 64c to $1.50 per minute. Other popular destinations to get a price hike for accepting an incoming mobile phone call include:

  • Fiji ($1.70 to $2.50)
  • France (85c to $2.50)
  • Germany (85c to $3)
  • Ireland (77c to $2.50)
  • Malaysia ($1.41 to $2)
  • New Caledonia and Norfolk Island ($1.02 to $2)
  • UK (70c to $2), USA ($2 to $3)
  • Vanuatu (93c to $4)
  • Cruise ship services will rocket from $1.07 to $5.

Phone calls will be charged in 60-second blocks instead of the current 30-second blocks with all calls rounded up to the nearest minute. Only 13 destinations will cost less to receive an incoming mobile phone call – Afghanistan, Bermuda, Bhutan, El Salvador, Ghana, Gibraltar, India, Liberia, Micronesia, Macau, Pakistan, Swaziland and East Timor.

Telstra says it is generally dropping outgoing mobile call rates and increasing the calls received rates, painting this as a win for consumers. It says the majority of roaming calls (around 70 per cent) made by its customers when overseas are outgoing calls to Australia.

A guide on the Telstra website sets out how call pre-paid and post-paid mobile rates will change in each country. Telstra says customers also receive an SMS alert with specific call pricing when they arrive in a new country. and the alert has instructions on how to turn off international roaming for your mobile phone.

For more on global roaming charges see our other articles: Roaming rort, Monitoring mobile phone usage, and Global roaming costs.



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