$100 a minute

February 14th, 2010 at 11:15 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

A kiwi salesman was stunned to receive a $1100 bill from for just 10 minutes of access from his laptop.

Michael Crake racked up the charges after using a computer fitted with a mobile broadband device while at Sydney airport.

Oh dear. He got clobbered with the outrageous $30 a MB that Telecom and extort from users who roam overseas.

The price charged is massively higher than that faced by users from many other countries that roam. It has zero resemblance to actual costs.

But putting that aside, my bigger gripe is that the telcos do not do enough to inform people of this charge.

When you roam overseas it should flash up a huge warning that tells you what the cost will be on that network, and require you to confirm that you understand the price and accept it.

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22 Responses to “$100 a minute”

  1. Whafe (652 comments) says:

    It also highlights just how much of like extortion it is in this country and others….

    For example, I lived in Spain for near 4 years, been back in NZ for 16 months…. It cost me 10 Euro per month for a wireless stick, that included as much data, volume etc as I wanted…..

    We get raped in NZ for so many core needs….

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  2. homepaddock (429 comments) says:

    I asked Telecom about the charges before going to Australia a couple of weeks ago. I was told that it would be $30 an MB which would be about 100 emails but the bloke I was talking to was a bit vague on what that would be for web pages because of the variables.

    My laptop was stolen at Christchurch airport before I left, after reading your post I think that might have saved me money :)

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  3. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Typical of the chicanery that characterises businesses run under the patronage of socialists.

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  4. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    Duopoly meet over charging

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  5. tvb (3,945 comments) says:

    Thanks for this post, I will look for alternatives rather than put up with this extortion.

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  6. whalehunter (465 comments) says:

    a descent tax cut would be a 50% reduction in electricity and communication costs.

    is it not a license to print money.

    mind you, for the capital they have invested…

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  7. Fletch (5,726 comments) says:

    A lot of Telecom’s pricing is kind of weird. I have one of those T-sticks that you whack into the side of your laptop and can surf the net. You pay $30 I think to top up 500 MB of data for one calendar month. Apparently, what it really is is 30c per MB for the first 300 MB you use, then the last 200 MB is free, so if you never use over 300MB for the calendar month you never get into that free 200MB.

    Kind of a weird way of doing it.

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  8. Whafe (652 comments) says:

    For sure Fletch, they will be wanting you to get sucked in and fully overuse your volume….

    I think most people whom are using the sticks are not using it to surf the net etc, more so for email and work purposes… Where by in other parts of the world, the theory and push is to get the population on the Sticks to be their primary means of getting online….

    I dont see it evolving to that in NZ at all in the last few years….. So that is the Duopoly taking effect I guess…

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  9. gravedodger (1,426 comments) says:

    @fletch 12 17, agreed weird, how much harder to have a 30 day period from initiation. When I go off in the mobile home it often works out that I use a week at the end of month and a week at start of next meaning $60 for two weeks and waste 6 weeks of access. Fine except that is quite a bit of beer at the Tree Fellers Arms at happy hour while I am at home.
    Just try to talk to the marketing dept, if one can translate the voice at the other end of the phone.
    Will they ever get the message , marketing 101, happy customers buy more than grumpy ones.

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  10. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    There is at least oner alternative when you go to the States. The other telco’s denied any such no contract top up internet type thing existed – a 3G stick(?) – (probably because it wasn’t their product and wasn’t very well-known). It was fairly recent when I went there September/October last year, and I think it was done by Virgin and you could get it through Best Buy stores (not sure if you could get it elsewhere). It wasn’t cheap. I think it cost about US$210, but that may have included a few gig (I don’t remember). Still a lot cheaper than NZ$1100, even with a conversion.

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  11. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    One could, of course, check out the charges before roaming, or even before buying the Tstick and all it entails. Caveat emptor, personal responsibility and all that.

    And Redbirther, what do you know about vodafone that its management and shareholders don’t? The Vodafone – Telecom duopoly is the natural outcome in most capitalist markets. Really, what’s the difference between Telecom-Vodafone and Progressive – Foodstuffs?

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  12. tvb (3,945 comments) says:

    I prefer to a pay for use plan for phone calls – which are just data anyway. The use it or lose it plans are a huge rip-off. The day is long overdue to get stuck into telecom companies on their pricing.

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  13. gazzmaniac (2,270 comments) says:

    Little sympathy for the man. Everyone knows it’s really dear to use global roaming, especially with a NZ based service. He could have taken a walk down to the local Telstra shop and spent $A120 to get a prepay telstra stick. Would have been cheaper.
    On a better note, I am visiting NZ at the moment and am not near a DSL connection, so I went to the local Orb Communications at Paraparaumu and got a telecom XT stick modem (identical looking to my Telstra one) and it only cost me $30 with 500mb preloaded (compare to Vodafone’s $35 sim card that comes with nothing). OK it’s not as cheap to run as the Telstra stick in Australia but it does the trick. Cellphone on 2degrees, and there’s no issue here with the cost of telecommunication in NZ anymore. Personally I’m surprised that Telecom and Vodafone haven’t seriously reduced their prepay charges to counter 2degrees, and Vodafone haven’t done something to try and match XT.

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  14. infused (616 comments) says:

    There are no alternitives. It’s been like this for years. You’re better getting mobile broadband in the country its self.

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  15. Hagues (711 comments) says:

    Cry me a river. Sick of hearing people cry about the cost of things when they didn’t do their homework first. He could have paid for the airports net service for a few dollars for 24 hours.

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  16. Ed Snack (1,539 comments) says:

    I have to say, although the charges are outrageous, that the gentleman concerned should have known about the costs, and, that the charges aren’t particularly up to Telecom. Roaming charges the world over are extortionate. Even in the EU, roaming from country to country can be damned expensive. It’s damn expensive to even telephone by mobile although the charges do vary. From NZ it is almost impossible to pre-arrange cheaper charges via your telco, and if going to more than one country in Europe getting a phone in one country doesn’t help that much when in a different one.

    Leftrightout, I think you are incorrect about the natural state. Duopolies often occur in small markets where there are large entry costs, but even in NZ mobiles are no longer a full duopoly, O2 has started up after all. The US, being a much larger and more easily segmented market has many operators. Of course it is true that government operated industries almost always have complete monopolies along with the inefficiencies, indifferent service, high prices, and resistance to new technologies. Me, I simply recall two facts, the enormous changes (for the consumer, all good) that occurred in the domestic aviation market when Ansett started up, and the huge improvements that occurred when telecom was first privatized. Not enough people recall a many weeks long wait to get a telephone installed.

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  17. Sideoiler (69 comments) says:

    Before being privatized the average number of days to get a new connection was 99 days, over 5000 employees in the telecom side of the post office and most rural users still had a party line but 1100$ for ten miniutes is taking the micky

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  18. Richard (94 comments) says:

    You’re right David, people don’t know the roaming rates (and should) :-)

    For the record, in OZ it’s $8 per meg on XT and $10 per meg on Voda. This one of the few countries that’s not $30.
    Still a rip though!

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  19. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    LeftRightOut, Redbaiter can’t think. He blames everything on “socialists”, “progressives” and Helen Clark’s childlessness. Every. Single. Thread.

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  20. inversesquare (14 comments) says:

    I travel regularly to Australia. I have a smart phone and I take my lap top with me.

    There are a few options, I would say the easiest is to pick up a prepay stick from the Vodafone counter at the airport like i did.

    It costs $100 up front to buy the stick and half a gig of data, then between $19 / $25? for half gig / 1 gig bundles (you can recharge from your laptop). The only PITA about it is that you need to pretty much give up your left kidney in ID to sign up (you need to have some sort of Australian address+drivers licence+Passport+some sort of utility statement)…..but then you need that when you go to a bank to exchange currency anyway….

    But it’s by far the easiest and cheapest way to get your data whilst across the ditch, (the roaming charges are more competitive when in other countries as well).

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  21. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Gravedodger asks when he will get sense out of a telco mkting dept.

    If you had worked with these people you wouldn’t ask, :)

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  22. simonway (356 comments) says:

    Private business? Why, that’s socialism! I blame Hitlerelen Clark!

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