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Vodafone has abolished voice and data roaming charges for its Australian subscribers travelling to New Zealand, and other countries could follow in the radical 'free roaming' plan.
The jaw-dropper of a deal, which takes effect as of today for customers on all Vodafone Red plans – starting from the $30/month SIM-only package – means that trans-Tasman travellers can use data, make and take calls and swap text messages without paying any additional roaming fees.
'Roam like home'
Arrive in NZ, switch on your Vodafone mobile phone and it'll be no different to being in Australia, with your Aussie plan's full serve of data, voice and SMS allowance available for free.
This also includes free calls within New Zealand and back to Australia plus free text messaging worldwide.
If you happen to blast past your monthly data cap by watching too many sheep videos on YouTube, excess data is charged at the same 1c/MB rate as in Australia.
New Zealand is Australia's most popular international destination, with Aussies making 1.2 million trans-Tasman trips a year according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Vodafone chose New Zealand for the launch of its revolutionary $5/day roaming plans in August 2013.
The scheme now covers over 50 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas, and easily bests the more expensive 'buy before you fly' add-ons of competitors Telstra and Optus.
NZ roaming: how the telcos compare
Telstra's New Zealand roaming plans start at $15 for a three day 'travel pass' with a measly 225MB and $35 for a seven-day pass with 525MB, with excess data charged at 3c/MB
Optus sells $10/day 'travel packs' for Kiwi roaming with unlimited calls and texts plus 50MB per day, plus 50c/MB for excess data.
By comparison, Vodafone's new NZ roaming arrangement costs you $0 and makes all of your plan's data, talk and text available for use.
More countries to follow with free roaming?
Vodafone will consider extending free roaming to other countries in its $5/day network, depending on the viability of what Vodafone terms its NZ 'experiment', which will run until until December 1st 2016.
Over the next 12 months Vodafone will monitor how much it's paying on behalf of customers roaming in New Zealand, against an uptick in subscribers eager to slash their roaming costs.
Vodafone also today announced a partnership with Qantas which will see selected mobile plans rebadged as Qantas Red plans and offered with up to 15,000 Qantas Points over the term of the contract.
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