Telstra partially backtracks on international roaming charge hike


news In the face of an upset customer base, Telstra has backtracked on its recently announced decision to more than triple excess data fees incurred when roaming internationally.

Just three days ago, the telco giant announced changes in its international roaming packs that restructured fees for some popular destinations, and meant customers could end up paying up to $150 more.

At the same time, Telstra also hiked the excess fees for customers that exceeded their data quotas, although it did also raise the data allowances for customers travelling abroad.

The new penalty fees were to rise from 3c per 1MB to 10 cents per 1MB.

Today, Telstra CEO Andrew Penn felt obliged to personally address the issue following complaints from customers over the rises, and announce that he has “scrapped the proposal” to increase excess data fees. The new price ‘zoning’ of the Travel Passes will however, remain.

In a company news post, Penn said: “Telstra has worked hard at removing the pain point of International Roaming charges with the introduction of Travel Passes that make using a mobile overseas more affordable and predictable.

“So we will scrap a proposal to increase the excess data fees on our Travel Passes from 3c to 10c per MB while keeping the new passes that increase data allowances by 50 per cent and greatly increase the number of participating countries. This makes our Travel Passes very convenient and Telstra competitive as a roaming choice.”

He also announced that Telstra will remove a proposal to have people charged a flat rate on paper bills, regardless of whether they are only receiving those bills via mail and/or paying those bills over the counter.

“We will charge $2.20 to receive a paper bill and separately, $1.00 for each over the counter payment made,” Penn said. “This allows us to recoup costs and avoids the need to charge everyone for a service which a minority of our customer base continues to use. These are equivalent to or better than competitor charges and below various other non-telco organisations. We will also rebate the difference to customers charged the $3.20 fee, where applicable.”

Penn concluded by saying that “making life as easy as possible” for customers is his number one priority as CEO.

“We need to run a successful business and price increases need to occur. At the same time, we need to carefully weigh up those changes with customer expectations,” he said.

Image credit: Telstra


  1. *Why* do price increases need to occur? Telstra made $4.23bn profit last financial year. They (and their shareholders) are doing alright. Price increases only *need* to occur where you’re no longer making suitable profit. I hardly think that’s the case when it comes to Telstra.

  2. There’s one way (probably not the ONLY one) to minimise roaming costs, and plenty of reasons to use it.

    Just buy a “burner” once you arrive there, and phone home at local fees using a prepaid. Almost certainly not quite as simple as it sounds, but certainly less of a penalty than taking your OZ-phone to wherever and getting “burnt” by the rates.

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