Australian & NZ governments call time on mobile roaming rort

By John Walton, February 11 2013
Australian & NZ governments call time on mobile roaming rort

Australia and New Zealand governments are clamping down on the cost of using mobile phones and data overseas, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Kiwi counterpart John Key announcing a raft of new powers for regulators.

This should prove a welcome end to the colossal ripoff where Australian and New Zealand telcos charge connected business travellers through the nose for getting online across the Tasman.

A recent joint report (PDF) found that the margins telcos charge each other are more than 300 percent, and that's passed on to you the traveller at a more than 90 percent retail margin. That compares with a domestic margin of 10-20 percent.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and its NZ equivalent will be given new powers to combat the rort.

In the meantime, AusBT has road-tested recommendations for the best New Zealand prepaid SIM cards for your iPhone, iPad, Android device or pocket 3G router.

"The report clearly demonstrates the need for government action on roaming charges. Consumers and businesses have had enough of being gouged and putting up with high mobile roaming charges," Gillard said.

And there's a welcome signal that Australian telcos may also be banned from price-gouging further abroad.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg. If we can drive down prices in New Zealand, we can also start to act to bring about lower prices in other advanced economies such as the European Union," Gillard promised.

Read more: Avoid the data roaming ripoff — your top three options

The Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers also announced a trial of automated border departure controls using the SmartGate system when travelling overseas.

For the latest on that — and on all the news you need to know — follow @AusBT on Twitter.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 5

Very welcome initiative!

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