New Zealand Roaming Rorts To Continue

Australia and New Zealand often boast of their close relationship, but if you use a mobile phone from Australia in New Zealand or vice versa, you'll pay the same ludicrous roaming charges that apply to countries on the other side of the world. A joint government investigation which began back in May 2010 has finally issued a draft report, but all we're going to get from it is a direction to make pricing clearer. Fat lot of help that is.

The report was announced this morning by Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy and his NZ counterpart, Amy Adams. "The draft report makes it clear that telecommunications companies are stinging consumers on trans-Tasman mobile roaming charges and that their profit margins are excessive," Conroy said. This we already know.

Options the report canvasses to solve the problem include making pricing for roaming clearer, introducing legislation which allows Australians and New Zealanders to be charged local rates in their respective countries, introducing price caps or making it easier to unbundle roaming so that you can use a different network when overseas.

Sadly, the government has gone for the least gutsy option. Conroy says he is "directing the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to put in place an industry standard for mobile roaming so that 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". In other words: we'll keep rorting you, we'll just make it clearer that we're doing so.

Conroy is predicting that this will be in place within 12 months. I hugely doubt this. Let us bear in mind that rules to make phone companies disclose what it actually costs to make domestic calls were resisted fiercely by the industry, and won't actually be implemented fully until September 2013. Comments on the draft report are open until September 27 this year, and I'll be amazed if whining from mobile providers isn't a large chunk of the submissions.

Even if ACMA does introduce a directive, that won't help with costs. That would require legislation, and, just as we've seen with software pricing, a government making noise about an issue rarely equates to something actually happening.

Republished from Lifehacker.



    If you're on Holiday just get a local sim, easiest way to pay local rates.

    Sucks for business travellers who need the same number to be contactable worldwide though.

    Take over New Zealand and make them the 3rd Territory of Australia. Problem solved.

      Can't happen and will never happen. New Zealand would have been the 6th state of Australia had it not been for New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi already being in place.

        I knew about the Treaty of Waitangi, but I thought New Zealand would have been Australia's 7th state, unless WA hadn't joined up by then.

        It had nothing to do with the Treaty of Waitangi, and everything to do with them not wanting to be a part of Australia.

      And I'm from NZ

    the roaming costs are justified in my opinion as you're making international calls from another country using infrastructure that's not owned by your telco or the country where you originate. the costs are passed on to the telecommunication companies from the carriers in other countries.

      Hey "Ray". Are you David Thodey, CEO of Telstra? One would expect a dumb comment like yours from someone from the Telcos. Roaming costs DO NOT reflect the actual costs of doing business with overseas partners. At $2 per minute for a call within the US ($3.50 if you call home), $15 per Mb of data, and 3 times the cost to send a SMS, I wouldn't call these justified costs. The infrastructure already exists. We don't wish to build one from our pockets while we're there.

    Sounds more like a DAFT report than a DRAFT report.

    It is complete BS the costs that they charge.

    Went to NZ on business a few months back, got charged about 670 due mainly to data (left my data on overnight and got absolutely smacked over data rates from emails)

    Fun fact (And Ray, this is where your above comment is wrong for many cases) the company I was connected to over there was Vodafone NZ, and I'm with Vodafone AU. If I had pre-purchased an overseas pack (which I have done sinze) it would have cost me 20-30 AUD.

    That clear disparity between pre-purchasing an overseas pack, and being charged ~20x that much if you don't, makes it damn well clear that they don't need to charge that much. I understand why, as in most cases the NZ/AU sections are independant organisations, but they don't 'need' to charge that much to make a profit.

    It seems to be data that is the big rort. If I use a 2degrees (NZ) SIM in Australia (uses Optus or Voda) the cost is the same as in NZ (44c/min). If I use a Voda (AU) SIM in NZ, the price is also pretty normal (90c/min). This is a BIG change, but I think it all happened when 2degrees arrived and Telecom went to UMTS. Beforehand calls in NZ were $3/min (more expensive than Saudi Arabia), as Vodafone was the only GSM operator.

    Ah ha, finally an article that is about what I do for a day job.

    Ive managed dispute teams across all of the major telcos and I can say that without any doubt global roaming charges, be you consumer, sme, corporate, government or wholesaler are the bane of our existence..

    Once argued with the CEO of a medium Biz sized ISP about how he left his roaming on when he went to Ireland. This despite our repeated attempts to warn customers about roaming charges. You know your product sucks when industry professionals get trapped by it.

    I blame pricing teams and the revenue targets they have to make. Just yesterday I was reviewing few hundred million worth of adjustments and saw how some poor small biz owner had been smashed for $14k -we gave a credit of 50% but still for a 900mb of usage iwas flabbergasted. See wholesale ip and the vpns setup to allow global user to be allowed to use their smpt settings don't result in a $15-20 per mb charge. More like $0.0001c per Mb. Yeah we rate usually to the 5th digit and bill to the 10th digit.

    Anyway back to subject, basically the story I heard is that it's a tit for tat, see we charge visitors who global roam silly rates. If we reduced our rates then I believe the foreign carriers would as well. What I find even. More stupid is that international voice is cheap as, and the routing on those links has to be setup with a QoS that is attuned to time sensitive applications I.e. voice. Yet those same links are the ones used to move your global roaming usage around and the QoS setup on the is like ubr. Really cheap ur data gets there when it gets there.

    So it's just laziness and greed that lets roaming rates sit as high as they do.

    it'd just be so much easier if you telstra for example teamed up with SP's globally so that when you know your going to a country eg NZ they could say we can give you service with "carrier" and for $59 you get:

    like they do here but let us know the options before we leave,

    that way the traveller can get the best rate for their trip,

    I found when I went to Phuket grabbing a $30 unlimited data sim and a skype subscription unlimited calls to Australia to be the best bet.

    The last time this happened (ATM's) the price for using another companies ATM went UP!

    I wonder where this will go now...

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