Telecom introduces flat rate roaming

December 10th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

A huge and welcome announcement by Telecom today. They have concluded agreements in a number of countries, so mobile customers can data roam for a flat rate per day.

The rate is $10 a day for UK, US, Canada, China and Hong Kong and Taiwan (and a couple of others) and $6 a day in Australia. This is pretty damn decent, when you consider per MB rates tend to be $10/MB!

The test for me is whether the rates are low enough that I would keep my NZ sim card in the phone, rather than buy a local sim. While local sims will still be cheaper, it is a hassle to have a different number while overseas and acquiring the sim can be a hassle also. So I’d say I’ll now stick with my Telecom sim when travelling overseas to one of those countries.

As you can tether your laptop to your phone, the $10/day charge is also cheaper than what many hotels charge for daily Internet. In some countries the hotels have free Internet, but not universal.

This new plan by Telecom will shake up the market dramatically. If Vodafone and 2 degrees don’t respond, I can see a lot of business travellers swapping over. Also as far as I know, a flat rate roaming deal is very rare outside Europe (which is basically one market now). This deal could have flow on effects to other markets.

I understand Telecom CEO Simon Moutter personally pushed this initiative, based on his experience as CEO of Auckland Airport. It seems one of the most common complaints he heard there was about international .

Two thirds of Telecom customers turn off data when in Australia. I’m one of those. I’ll definitely keep it on for $6 a day (of course would not object to this lowering over time).

The worse thing about the per MB rates is you simply don’t know how much you’ll end up walloped for. There is going to be a fair use policy for use overseas but it won’t be a fixed limit or anything, Basically it will just be based on your data usage overseas being comparable to your usage in NZ. So don’t download any movies while roaming.

I find it quite easy to use 20  to 50 MB a day on my phone, just through normal activities such as web, GPS, youtube, e-mail, twitter and facebook.

I swapped from Vodafone to Telecom a year or two ago for my mobile (still Vodafone for landline and Internet) mainly based on the coverage. There were just too many areas (esp in Auckland) that Vodafone signal was too weak. If I hadn’t swapped. I’d be tempted to do so now just for the roaming rates. However I suspect Vodafone will be under great pressure to respond with a similar flat rate package for data roaming – which will be good. I love competition!

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13 Responses to “Telecom introduces flat rate roaming”

  1. George Patton (353 comments) says:

    Moutter you legend! There’s a reason why this guy is one of the best CEOs in the country. An outstanding initiative which puts Telecom squarely in the driving seat for those considering data plans for their mobile phones.

    A huge win for NZ consumers. The wifi in your average hotel in the USA is around $10 per day, so to have flat rate data anywhere anytime at $10 is fantastic.

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  2. KiwiRupes (16 comments) says:

    Is this $10/$6 a day, then your usual Telecom data charges on top? Or is it $10/$6 all you can eat?

    [DPF: All you can eat subject to a fair use policy that your usage is not massively more that what it is in NZ]

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  3. Elaycee (4,352 comments) says:

    As you can tether your laptop to your phone, the $10/day charge is also cheaper than what many hotels charge for daily Internet. In some countries the hotels have free Internet, but not universal.

    Agree… this is great news and an excellent initiative by Telecom. Chalk up one for the consumer! :D

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  4. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    “This new plan by Telecom will shake up the market dramatically. If Vodafone and 2 degrees don’t respond, I can see a lot of business travellers swapping over.”

    Yep, and then we might even get some price competition on the $10/ day.

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  5. Alan Wilkinson (1,866 comments) says:

    Woohoo! Yes, Vodafone will have to respond in kind asap.

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  6. Richard Irvine (1 comment) says:

    Hiya, Richard from Telecom here. @kiwirupes, $6 for Australia and $10 for other key markets is what you pay when you turn your data roaming on – no more, no less. But there is a fair use policy to prevent misuse, as we don’t want anyone trying to set up a virtual wifi torrent hub on their phone while roaming etc :)

    Fair use policy is as follows:
    Data Roaming Fair Use Policy: Telecom’s Fair Use Policy is about making sure that everyone is getting great value from us while roaming. So in our roaming destinations with daily data prices, we keep an eye on how much data you use each day and compare this to ordinary personal or business data usage and the way you use your mobile when travelling back in New Zealand. If you use significantly more data while roaming than you do at home, you may be in breach of this policy. If this is the case, we will alert you, and if you breach the policy again, we reserve the right to suspend your account.

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  7. rouppe (962 comments) says:

    Or you can go into any Optus outlet in Australia, and for $2 a day get unlimited voice, text and data within Australia.

    Sure you have a different number but who cares when you’re on holiday and all you want to do is update facebook, and read your email and news. The people you’ll be phoning are your mates in Australia, or restaurants for bookings. I still don’t see $6 a day as that compelling.

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  8. PaulL (6,030 comments) says:

    I travel a lot for work, and even when on holiday I still need to remain contactable. So changing phone number is not ideal. This is close enough that I’d do it. And, of course, once the first one does this, the rest have to compete. Expect Vodafone in particular, who often roam to …. another vodafone in another country ….. to be able to do great prices.

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  9. Mike78 (83 comments) says:

    Last month in Sydney the “5 star” hotel I stayed in wanted an extra $40 Aud for in room wifi limited to one device with this I can set my phone as a wifi hotspot for so much less. Had no time to source a local sim and needed incoming calls anyway so a very good innovation. Telecom surprises me here. The only thing to watch would be your phone automatically swapping to another network in a black spot or something, that could be painful.

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  10. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Not that I go there that often, but really impressed with the price reduction for Fiji – now $2.50/MB. That would make ‘keeping abreast of things’ a lot more affordable over there.

    The Aussie is excellent.

    It’s got me seriously thinking of changing. Vodafone had better react quickly – and they have an international network that would enable them to do better if they chose to

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  11. peterwn (3,239 comments) says:

    Bad news if you are on Telecom prepaid – you will only get 6MB for your $6.

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  12. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    Was going to get a second phone on Telecom until I read peterwn’s comment.
    Looks like I’ll stick to getting a local sim wherever I go – works out better almost everywhere you go.

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  13. mister nui (1,020 comments) says:

    Great news, and I will definitely be swapping from vodaclone to telecon as soon as I’m back in the country next week.

    Oh, andplease get Japan and some of the European countries into zone 2, that would make this truly fantastic!

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