Vodafone is about to extend the option of international roaming for $5 a day to all of its current postpaid plans.
"Current" in this context means plans announced from April last year, so the offer is not as generous as it initially seems. But customers on older postpaid plans may switch to a current one of the same or greater price to gain the option of $5 roaming.
The change will be implemented on 23 March, and it will be automatically activated for all new subscribers.
The way $5 roaming works is that when the phone is used for the first time in a day in one of 46 specified countries
, the $5 charge is incurred. But then calls, and SMS and MMS messages within the country or to standard numbers in Australia are charged at the rates applicable within Australia. So providing you're on a Vodafone plan that offers 'infinite' voice and SMS, you don't need to worry about using your phone in those countries. Data usage also comes out of the plan's standard inclusions.
Additionally, Vodafone is simplifying its roaming rates in more than 200 countries. Under the new scheme, prices will be $1 per minute for calls and $1 per megabyte for data. This is approximately one-tenth of the previous charge for roaming data.
So if you only want to make a quick call home to say you've arrived safely, traditional roaming is an affordable option. But if you expect to make several calls a day (especially to numbers that may keep you on hold before putting you through to a person) or to use mobile data, $5 roaming is probably better value if you are visiting one of the covered countries.