Using Optus global roaming for international voice, data, SMS

By Chris C., January 28 2015
Using Optus global roaming for international voice, data, SMS

With the new 'Optus Travel Packs’, you’ll pay just $10 per day in selected countries for unlimited calls and text messages to friends, family and even your boss back at the office when circling the globe.

Your $10 also buys 50MB of data per day – which admittedly isn’t much, but it’s ample if you’ll only be syncing your emails or using Google Maps momentarily to get your bearings in an unfamiliar city.

Optus divides the world into two simple categories: Zone 1 and Zone 2. $10 Travel Packs can be used in Zone 1 – covering Asia, North America and Europe – while Zone 2 allows only ‘casual’ roaming where you’ll be charged per minute, per megabyte and per SMS.

Here’s how it all works.

Optus’ $10 Travel Pack: the basics

Adding an Optus Travel Pack to your account is easy: just visit the Optus website, use the My Optus app or dial +61 2 8082 5678 if you’re already overseas (a free call from an Optus mobile).

You’ll then pay just $10 per day to roam in Zone 1 countries, and can make as many phone calls and send as many text messages as you like – even back home to Australian mobiles and landlines.

The 50MB/day data allowance can also be pooled for use at any time during your trip, so if you’re travelling for five days and buy a five-day Travel Pack for $50, you’ll receive a full 250MB of data from day one.

If you burn through it all before heading home, you’ll be charged 50c per MB of excess data – billed in 10KB increments.

(Downloading an extra 100KB, or ~0.1MB sees Optus billing all of 5c rather than rounding that up to the nearest megabyte.)

Optus’ $10 Travel Pack: where it works

A single Travel Pack can be used across every country in Zone 1: you won’t need to buy a new one every time you get your passport stamped.

Zone 1 countries are indicated in teal. Zone 2 – where Travel Packs can’t be used – are in blue, and those in white don’t allow any international roaming with Optus, Travel Pack or otherwise.

In Asia, Zone 1 includes China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Russia, Indonesia, South Korea, India, Malaysia and more.

That’s perfect if you’re travelling to Asia on business, or even if you’re Europe-bound and want to keep in touch during your transit with Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Garuda, Japan Airlines, China Southern, China Eastern, China Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, and the list goes on.

Once you’ve touched down in Europe, your Travel Pack is also valid across the region in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Hungary and more.

And of course, you’re also covered in New Zealand, Canada and the US.

For a full list of included countries, head to the Optus website.

Optus’ $10 Travel Pack: how it works

When adding an Optus Travel Pack to your post-paid account you’ll be prompted for your departure and return dates – which allows you to lock in your roaming discounts before leaving home soil.

You’ll be billed A$10 for every calendar day that you have a Travel Pack activated, so if you’re planning a week-long trip to Singapore, you’ll be charged $70.

That $70 also buys 350MB of data (based on the 50MB per day allowance), which you can use at any time during your trip while you’re within Zone 1.

As mentioned above, any excess data is charged at 50c per MB within Zone 1, while all calls made and received are free – as are text messages both sent and received.

If you don’t activate a Travel Pack on your account at all, or you remain in a Zone 1 country after your Travel Pack has expired, you’ll be billed $1 per minute to make and receive calls, 50c to send an SMS and 50c per MB of data.

Pay As You Go roaming in Optus Zone 2

As Optus Travel Packs aren’t valid when globetrotting in Zone 2 countries, you’ll be slugged practically every time you touch your phone.

Included on the Zone 2 list is the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, South Africa and more, where you’ll pay $2 per minute to make or receive a call and $1 per SMS sent, while data costs $1 per MB.

Text messages are always free to receive, so if you’re aiming to minimise your roaming costs within Zone 2, switch data off and ask your family and colleagues to text you rather than sending an email, which requires a data connection to receive.

Finally, international data roaming isn’t available in a handful of Zone 2 countries such as Paraguay, Ethiopia, Algeria and Madagascar, where you’re limited to basic calling and SMS.

Taking your phone overseas? Also read:

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Chris C.

A former contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

28 Jan 2015

Total posts 1

I utilised the travel pack recently and found the coverage in the United Kingdom to be quite intermittent to say the least.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 266

Vodafone Red is the clear leader when it comes to global roaming. Sure it doesn't cover every country, but when the Vodafone countries are matched to Telstra and Optus, there's no question who provides better value.

For the countries that Vodafone don't offer Red roaming, a local sim is still better value than Telstra and Optus.

17 Jun 2011

Total posts 66

I recently used the Telstra travel pack for two week trip to Asia and Europe with pricing almost identical to Optus. Let me say that 50MB per day just doesn't cut it. Between Google maps, iMessage, email and general surfing I was more around the 75-100MB day ( and that was with a self-imposed YouTube/podcast ban). I also found in many countries just getting a decent 3G connection was a high point - many places only gave 2G or GPRS - 4G was non-existant. 

Unlimited calls/text is great but who cares - no one makes phone calls anymore :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 511

Yeah we went on a trip to NZ recently and we had unlimited phone calls and we didn't even do a single call other than conforming bookings and stuff but aside that the 3G was very useful, I went through 750MB from Instagram, Messaging and so on.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 801

I'm in China at the moment using the Optus Travel Pack seems ok but I had to turn the phone off and and on 3 times before it activated, with the amount of free wifi around I haven't used the data yet.

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