Dreaded excess data fees and restrictive lock-in contracts have been ditched by Telstra in a major shake-up of its mobile phone plans.
But if you’re a Telstra customer who travels internationally, there’s another omission in the new plans that may leave you feeling short-changed.
Amid the fanfare of the telco unveiling its new plans yesterday, affecting 11 million Australians, some Telstra customers were disappointed to discover none of the plans came with included overseas data roaming.
Many old Telstra plans included allowances for international data roaming, such as 2GB per month. Now, on all new plans, international data roaming is an add-on.
Customers travelling overseas will have to buy a $10 international day pass, which offers 200MB of data and unlimited call and text in more than 70 select countries. The day pass costs $5 in New Zealand.
The 24-hour expiry of the day pass is based on AEST — not the time zone of the country it’s being used in.
Those who exceed that 200MB allowance can pay $10 for an extra 500MB that must be used within 31 days. Telstra is also offering pay-as-you-go roaming for destinations where the international day pass isn’t available.
Telstra’s traditionally cheaper rival Vodafone, by comparison, offers a roaming add-on that lets customers keep using the data, calls and texts on their existing plan in 80 select countries for $5 a day.
Another loss in Telstra’s new plans is international calls, which were included on many old plans. Now, international calling and SMS packs can be added for $10 a month and applies to 21 countries.
Telstra’s phone plan revamp whittles down 1800 services into a simplified selection of 20 plan options. The plans will be offered month-on-month with no lock-in contracts and offered either SIM-only or bundled with new devices.
Some prices of new plans undercut similar plans offered by Vodafone and Optus, such as the new $50 plan with 15GB of data, which is $5 cheaper than its rivals.
Telstra chief executive Andy Penn said the new plans addressed customer “pain points” and eliminated bundles many customers felt they didn’t need.
“Customer expectations are changing and larger companies have got to be prepared to be bolder in terms of disrupting themselves before somebody else does it to them,” Mr Penn told News Corp yesterday.
“We’re taking on that challenge and trying to lead the way in transforming the telecommunications industry and how we serve our customers.”