Telstra's new International Travel Pass deals provide voice calls, texts and data roaming in more than 40 countries at greatly reduced rates. But with an average serve of only 50MB per day on tap at a daily charge of $5-$10 depending on which country you're in, Telstra still falls well behind Vodafone in the globetrotting stakes.
How it works
You'll pay $5 or $10 per day, depending on which country you’re in, and get unlimited free voice calls and SMS text messages back home to Australia as well as standard mobile or landline numbers within that country.
However, your average roaming data allowance comes in at a meagre 50MB per day (spread across the plan, for example, 150MB for on the thee day plan) – most travellers will gobble up 50MB in a single morning or afternoon.
You’ll get SMS alerts once you hit 50%, 85% and 100% of your data allowance, after which you’ll be up for an additional 3c/MB.
That’s far less than Telstra’s current casual rates, and comes out at a decent (by global roaming standards) $30 per GB, although there’s no up-front ability to buy an extra block of data on the go.
However, once your travel pass expires, the data rates rocket up to $3/MB. For example: during the span of a three day pass any excess data is costed at 3c/MB, but as soon as those 72 hours are up you'll be charged at $3/MB unless you've bought another pass which extends your roaming period (and your data allocation).
In short, the Telstra International Travel Pass deals are much better for voice and text than data.
Getting ready for roaming on your next trip is a pretty simple affair.
First , pick your country or region of travel. Telstra has divided the globe into two zones.
Zone 1 is the smallest and cheapest, covering New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia.
Zone 2 covers a large chunk of the rest of the world including much of Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North American (specifically: Cambodia, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and United States of America).
You can buy a travel pass for 3 days, 7 days, 14 days or 30 days on any Telstra post-paid (contract) plan.
While there's no one-day plan, you can buy multiple plans and stack them together – for instance, purchasing a 3 day and 7 day plan will cover you for ten days overseas.
The travel passes start at $15 for three days in a Zone 1 country (for Aussie business travellers that’s most likely New Zealand) and $30 for three days in one of the many Zone 2 countries.
The table tops out at $150 for a 30 day pass in Zone 1 and $300 for Zone 2.
A three day pass in either zone is good for 150MB, with 350MB for seven days, 700MB for 14 days and 1.5GB for 30 days – in other words, an average of 50MB per day.
Likewise, the per-day dollar cost of each pass is $5 in Zone 1 or $10 in Zone 2.
One small convenience is that the free talk and text component covers all countries within that zone, which in the case of the expansive Zone 2 unlocks free calls and SMS messages to dozens of countries as well as back home to Australia.
You can also continue to use the travel pass as you move between countries in the same zone – there’s no need to activate it on a per-country basis.
There is, however, a catch: that the travel pass is activated as soon as you buy it, rather than from when you switch your phone on overseas.
Telstra suggests that travellers call them once they touch down overseas – you can buy your travel pass by dialling +61 439 12 5109 (it's a free call from any Telstra mobile).
All things considered, there’s no argument that this is Telstra’s best global roaming deal yet.
It's a catch-up to Optus’ own Travel Packs, which cost $10 per day in Asia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Europe, the UK, the USA and Canada for 50MB daily, although Optus hits you with a far higher 50c/MB for excess data.
However, Vodafone is still well in front of Telstra with its flat $5 per day ‘Red Roaming’ option.
Vodafone is either the same price or drastically cheaper across all of Telstra’s travel pass countries, and also lets you tap into the fully data allowance of your Aussie plan rather than lock you into a daily dose of 50MB.
Of course, buying a local pre-paid SIM card for any country remains the best value for money, especially in terms of data.
For more information, click through to Telstra's International Travel Pass website.
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