The Australian government is readying new legislation to protect consumers against sky-high voice and data roaming charges when travelling to New Zealand.
Under the new rules the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) would be able to impose price caps on trans-Tasman roaming charges, while Kiwis would be similarly protected through the New Zealand Commerce Commission.
A statement released by the office of the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, said the International Mobile Roaming Bill 2014 will "will give the ACCC new powers to reduce prices and facilitate greater market competition" on trans-Tasman mobile roaming services.
It's suggested that the bill could also extend to "retail price caps on international mobile roaming services for any destination country."
The bill, released today in draft form for public comment, follows a joint study conducted by the Australian and New Zealand governments into trans-Tasman mobile roaming services last year. That investigation found that while there has been "a downward trend in the pricing and margins of these services, both prices and margins remain high."
The later half of 2013 saw Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all slash their roaming rates in a pitched battle for frequent travellers.
Telstra's new Casual Traveller Data Packs are priced from $29 for 100MB to $350 for 1.5GB and can be used in some 50 countries throughout Asia and Europe, along with New Zealand, the UK and the USA, while its charge for casual Internet usage was cut from $15/MB to $3/MB.
Optus’ $10/day Travel Pack offers unlimited standard and international calls and text plus 50MB of data in Asia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Europe, the UK, the USA and Canada for a flat $10 per day.
Vodafone’s Red roaming plans, which span from $50 for 1.5GB of data to $85 for 5GB of data (on a SIM-only basis) let you use your Australian call, text and data allowance in New Zealand, the UK, Europe, the USA and Asia for an extra $5 per day.
This includes unlimited standard calls and text messages back to Australia as well as the country you’re currently in.
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