The Australian Government has announced the release of a discussion paper looking at ways to curb the exorbitant costs of International Roaming, initially in New Zealand.
Appearing on ABC News 24's Breakfast program this morning, Senator Stephen Conroy revealed that this research has been conducted in partnership with the New Zealand government. Conroy remarked that: "One of the most common complaints that I hear is from people who return from overseas and are confronted by a mobile phone bill that runs into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. They are angry about the excessive charges and they are angry about not knowing how much they are being charged in the first place."
Australian telcos have long maintained that the very high costs are simply passed on from the high tariffs charged by foreign telcos in the countries through which you are travelling. An OECD survey released last year revealed that Australian international roaming rates are among the highest in the world, and Senator Conroy insists that Australian telcos are profiteering. He said that "what we found was at the beginning of the study the mark-up, the margin for international cost calls between here and New Zealand was 1,000 per cent. With the spotlight on, it's come down to 300 per cent but that is not good enough."
It should be borne in mind that this report only covers roaming between Australia and New Zealand, although there is talk that ASEAN nations might be incorporated at a later date. There is no suggestion that any agreement is forthcoming with European or North American countries.
Conroy released the discussion paper this morning. The Trans-Tasman Roaming draft report is available here.
Dog and Bone has previously revealed some useful tips to curb your International Roaming costs. If you're intending on travelling overseas soon with your phone, we recommend you give them a look.