Optus’ revamped $10 roaming plan adds more data, more countries

Optus will retire its $10/day Travel Packs in place of new Roaming Passes, while also changing roaming inclusions in 20 countries.

By Chris Chamberlin, January 31 2020
Optus’ revamped $10 roaming plan adds more data, more countries

Just two months after Optus revamped international roaming by launching new travel-friendly plans for globetrotters, the carrier is now adjusting which countries those plans cover, with 12 nations added to the ‘free roaming’ list, but eight territories axed.

The company’s $10/day Optus Travel Packs – launched back in 2013 in response to Vodafone’s competing $5/day roaming proposition – will also be dropped, replaced by new Optus Roaming Passes.

Here’s how the changes affect you.

Optus Roaming Pass replaces Optus Travel Pack

From March 2 2020, Optus Travel Packs will no longer be sold, with the company moving from the current opt-in system on a per-trip basis to a ‘set and forget’ scheme, triggering an automatic daily charge when a device is used overseas in a supported country.

The new Optus Roaming Pass will retain the $10/day price tag of the outgoing Optus Travel Pack – or more precisely, a $10 charge per 24-hour period, not necessarily aligning with each calendar day – with a more generous data allowance of 1GB per 24-hour window.

Here’s how the two compare:

 

Optus Travel Pack
(old)

Optus Roaming Pass
(new)

Talk

Unlimited standard calls

Unlimited standard calls

Text

Unlimited standard SMS

Unlimited standard SMS

Data

100MB per day (200MB/day on data-only services).

1GB or 24 hours, whichever comes first.

Data
expiry

Cumulative: a seven-day trip gives 700MB, which can be used on any day.

Data expires with each 24-hour window: unused data doesn’t carry over.

Excess
data

Billed at $1/MB
($1,024 per GB).

If 1GB is used earlier than 24 hours, a new $10 Roaming Pass is billed, and the 24-hour timer reset ($10 per GB).

Notably, while unused data doesn’t carry over from one day to the next on the Optus Roaming Pass – as is the case with the Optus Travel Pack – the base data allowance is 10 times more generous, without an increase in price.

Heavy data users will also avoid hefty roaming rates if exceeding their allowance. Instead of being stung an extra $1,024 per GB of data as occurs when surpassing the Optus Travel Pack limit, the depleted Roaming Pass immediately expires. The customer is charged for a new $10 pass with a fresh 1GB of data, and a new 24-hour window begins.

Once introduced in March, customers will need to opt-in to the Optus Roaming Pass system via the company’s website (or by calling 13 33 43, for business customers). Once enabled, there’s then no need to opt-in with every trip: Roaming Pass rates will automatically apply in eligible Zone 1 countries, detailed below.

Roaming Passes are activated when a customer makes or receives a call, sends an SMS, or accesses data in a Zone 1 country.

Changes to Optus Zone 1, Zone 2 roaming countries

Optus categorises each country as either ‘Zone 1’ or ‘Zone 2’ for roaming purposes.

Zone 1 is most advantageous: it’s where those Optus Travel Packs and the new Optus Roaming Passes can be used, as well as being the countries in which Optus’ roaming-inclusive plans can be utilised at no extra cost.

Zone 2 is instead assigned to all other countries where Optus roaming is available, where all customers – regardless of plan, or purchase of an Optus Travel pack or Optus Roaming Pass – are charged at much higher rates for calls, SMS and data.

In March, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Palestine, Panama, South Africa and Vietnam will all move from Zone 2 into Zone 1: slashing the cost of roaming in these destinations.

However, Afghanistan, Brunei, Gibraltar, Kiribati, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal and Uzbekistan will become ‘Zone 2’ countries, resulting in higher roaming charges.

For customers using Optus Travel Packs and Optus Roaming Passes – including those on plans which currently include a fixed number of Optus Travel Packs each month as part of the monthly plan price – this switcheroo takes effect on March 2 2020.

Those with general Zone 1 roaming included as part of the plan itself, such as customers on the newly-launched Optus One flagship plan, will instead see these countries change zones from March 15 2020.

Also read: New Optus plans rejig international roaming: will you be better off?

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

So still 100% more expensive than Vodafone and confusing ......

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 64

Except, Optus has been offering roaming included into plans without having to pay $5/day. I'm on a plan that includes 4gb in most countries with unlimited calls and text.

Although Vodafone's offer was good when it came out, it really needs to improve it. First step would be to remove the $5/day from roaming in New Zealand.

They only offer it on the higher $$ plans and then only in the Zone 1 countries and also limits the data usage - convenient if you're willing to pay more and only travel to Zone 1 ... the Vodafone $5 a day still exceeds it given the availability globally and the fact that is links directly to your own plan and your own data allocation - I have a family shared program at less than the base Optus plan and if I wanted to I could use 160GB of data before incurring a slow down.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 399

If I have to pay extra then the current Optus package it won't be worth it, currently I just buy a data sim for around $85 for 30 days with 20Gig

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2019

Total posts 2

Meanwhile Telstra are still only offering 200MB of data per day for $10/day - the sole issue preventing me from switching to them (from Vodafone) for better regional coverage here in Australia. Vodafone has been great whilst travelling overseas - it's simple and cheap.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2018

Total posts 13

I used to buy a local SIM in every country I visited, until I changed to an Optus plan that includes unlimited talk and text with 4Gb data in zone 1 countries. The plan cost at that time, was exactly the same per month as I was already paying. I have used it in two different countries and was very glad that I could ring Qantas in Sydney from Fiji at no extra cost.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2018

Total posts 9

Unfortunately the Optus on line information is hopelessly out of date and contains errors of fact.

I took up a new $105/mth mobile plan about a year ago (to avoid the idiocy and inefficiency of NBN) for 100G at home, unlimited calls and txt across the world and 2G/mth in Zone 1 countries.

18 Nov 2015

Total posts 119

$10/day is still a lot. I dare say most average Australians going overseas aren't staying just a few days or a week and are there for two weeks or more. That's still $140+ when a local SIM Card is much cheaper.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 151

Glad to see that some relatively frequent holiday destinations in Central and South America, as well as Vietnam are being 'fixed' by moving into Zone 1.

Now they just need to fix the UAE, which is a massive hub for Aussie travellers on Emirates and Etihad through to Europe.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Optus’ revamped $10 roaming plan adds more data, more countries