Optus promises to fix outrageous data roaming prices

By danwarne, May 16 2011
Optus promises to fix outrageous data roaming prices

Following Australian Business Traveller's investigation into Optus' outrageous data roaming rates last week, Optus has issued a short statement pledging to offer cheaper options at some point in the future.

The telco, which was caught out charging more than five times more than Vodafone for data roaming, told Australian Business Traveller that it "plans to develop other data related packages that will make data roaming much more affordable."

However, a New Zealand telco has called out Optus' delaying tactics, slashing its global data roaming pricing by 90 per cent and saying other telcos are telling fibs when they say prices can't be reduced right away.

"Data roaming" refers to the cost of using internet on smartphones or laptops through 3G networks while overseas. At Optus' current casual usage rates, a 2MB email with a photo attached would cost $40. A 100MB YouTube video would cost $2,000.

Currently, the lowest rate Optus offers on pre-arranged data roaming without limitation on where the data can be used is $9.09 per megabyte. In comparison, Vodafone offers a pre-arranged data pack for use in 50 countries as low as $1.65 per megabyte.

Optus also reconfirmed that it plans to offer the DataRoam Unlimited plans which will provide unlimited data roaming for a flat daily fee across 11 countries in Asia.

The unlimited data roaming will be available in countries where Optus has formed an alliance with other telcos called "Bridge Alliance".

However, despite other Bridge Alliance telcos already offering the plans, and Optus having the plans ready to go in its billing systems, the telco still did not name a date that they would be made available to customers.

Travellers can still get the Bridge DataRoam Unlimited plans directly from other Bridge Alliance telcos; it just means you'll have to swap your SIM card over and people therefore won't be able to reach you on your normal Optus number.

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