Expensive mobile phone bills from overseas trips are "one of the most common complaints that I hear", says Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.
If you travel overseas for business, you’ll already know how badly you can be stung for using the Internet on your phone. We’ve certainly heard our fair share of stories about bills totalling hundreds of dollars.
Today the government announced a new effort to do something about it, slating potential rules for travellers to New Zealand, including price caps and making carriers charge local rates instead of overseas rates.
Within 12 months, a standard is expected to be in place covering travellers between Australia and New Zealand, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said.
The standard will ensure “consumers know exactly how much they will be charged when they make a phone call, send a text message, or surf the internet, wherever they may be overseas,” Minister Conroy said in a statement.
Australian and New Zealand governments today released a draft report which claims profits from mobile roaming charges are “excessive”.
You can read the report here.
So what can you do about it?
You have a few options. We highly recommend you read our guide to beating roaming bill shock. Options include special travel SIMs (funnily enough, one is called "TravelSIM"), buying local SIM cards and special data packs or "blocks" with special rates for roaming.
As we've explained before, a roaming pack should be better than normal roaming rates, but they're still not cheap. Getting a local SIM might be a good option, if it will work with your phone.
If this is all too much, you can take the simple approach and do what Anthony Caruana does, and just turn off your data and restrict yourself to texts where possible.