Mobile Itinerary Builder
A few years ago, it was fashionable to want to travel with your mobile phone. Mobile phone operators were making a big deal out of the fact that they could turn roaming on for you. It was in fact a selling feature that they used.
I remember visiting the Optus store prior to going o/seas and asking how to do it. I happened to be served by a sales person however who warned me of the charges.
For those that did turn roaming on, the bill that arrived from their phone company when they returned home was enough to make them regret most of their holiday, or atleast the decision to turn the roaming on.
Luckily enough, we are on the most part much more educated these days about how expensive it can be to roam with your mobile phone. In fact we are able to access exactly how expensive these charges are. What we also have today which probably wasn't around as much a few years ago is real choice about what the services we can use when we travel.
This week Telstra launched their International Roaming Itinerary Builder. This online tool helps you list each of the countries that you will be traveling to and it then shows whether Telstra allows international roaming to these countries and exactly how much it will cost you.
The tool is very easy to use and allows you to infact build an "Itinerary" listing each of the destinations in your trip and what the costs will be when using your Telstra service whilst you are there.
The example I have below is for travel to Italy and Spain. Whilst the summer might be over for 2011, I am sure they are great places to visit this time of year.
The key charges for me when using my Telstra Sim card would as follows:
- Standard call rates within Italy - 95c per min + 35c flagfall
- Calls to Australia - $1.90 per min + 35c flagfall
- Calls to any other country when in Italy - $2.15 per min + 35c flagfall
- Receiving calls when in Italy - 75c per min + 35c flagfall
- SMS - 65c
- Internet usage - 1.5c per kB ( or $15.36 per MB)
The beauty of the tool is that you can add lots of destinations to the list and then you can also print the results off.
What do all of these charges mean? Well it simply says that it is expensive to bring your mobile plan with you when you are traveling from Australia. The results above show that it will cost me $2.25 to make a 2 minute call in Italy with my phone. To call Australia, the charges for a 2 minute call will be over $4. If someone in Australia was to call me, not only would they pay for the cost of the call, I would also pay. A 2 minute conversation would cost me $1.85.
There are obviously other alternatives. Whilst Telstra would love you to take the sim card with them, I am sure they realise that there are cheaper options. I personally recommend that you either purchase a Roaming Sim card from Australia with cheap calling and roaming costs or buy a sim card when you arrive in Italy. For a total of about 12 Euro, about A$15, I can purchase a prepaid sim card (with a new phone number) which also comes with 80 minutes of calls to any network in Italy.
Understandably international roaming charges are expensive whichever country you live in, however they seem to be extra expensive here in Australia.
I am quite impressed with the tool. Telstra has made a commitment to make it easier for their customers to understand their plans and the charges behind them. This is certainly a step in that direction.
Not only does the tool cover call rates, it also has a calculator for Data or Internet usage. With the proliferation of smart phones this is really where "Bill Shock" is likely to hit. The data calculator covers the main areas of data usage that the everyday person uses.
Based on my regular use of email (Gmail in my case) and browsing the net on my phone I would be using approximately 30MB of data a day. Based on $15 p/MB, my smart phone would cost me $450 for a whole month.
Even with the data packs that Telstra makes available, using your existing sim card overseas to access the net really isn't a great idea. Just remember to turn the data on your phone off.
So the tool is very cool, but the prices aren't.
Do you use your local mobile plan when traveling overseas?See results without voting
- Estimate your Data Usage - International Roaming - Telstra
Not sure how much data you might use? Use our data calculator to estimate your requirements whilst overseas.