New industry standard to ease global roaming pain

Peak communications consumer body ACCAN has welcomed the announcement by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy that consumers will soon receive SMS alerts about global roaming costs when they travel overseas.

The Minister has directed the telecommunications regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), to implement an Industry Standard for mobile global roaming. This means that telco providers will have to inform their customers of exactly how much they will be charged when they make a call, send a text, or go online using their mobile phone when overseas. Telcos could face fines if they fail to comply.

ACCAN hopes the alerts will reduce the number of consumers suffering from bill shock because of an overseas trip.

“This is a welcome move because too many people receive exorbitant bills after travelling overseas” said ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin.

“Often it is because people are simply unaware of the costs of making a call or checking email from their mobile phone when they are outside Australia. Consumers need simple information about the real cost of global roaming. No one wants to arrive home to a bill that will cost more than their holiday.”

ACCAN has long been calling for lower global roaming bills and full pricing transparency.  “ACCAN will continue to work closely with industry, the regulator and other consumer groups to make sure Australians can go overseas and communicate without the unnecessary stress of unexpectedly high phone bills”, said Ms Corbin.

The new Standard will come into effect within twelve months. For people planning to travel before new measures are in place, Ms Corbin offered the following advice:

“There are simple things everyone can do to avoid high roaming charges. Many people buy a local pre-paid SIM card in the country they are visiting or purchase a pre-paid roaming pack from their Australian provider before they travel.”

Click here for more tips on how to manage global roaming on your holiday.