Australians turn phones off overseas to avoid bill shock

Vodafone’s breakthrough offer – use your plan overseas for no extra charge

New research from Vodafone reveals one in every two Australians are keeping their phones turned off when they go overseas in fear of bill shock.

The study, commissioned by Vodafone, found just one in every six Australians will use their phone overseas on holidays the way they would at home and one in five have experienced bill shock from roaming.

“For most of us, the idea of going without a smartphone for a day would be unthinkable,” said Stephen Smyth, General Manager of Postpaid at Vodafone. “Yet many Australian travellers are turning their phones off or leaving them at home when they go overseas to avoid bill shock.”

Vodafone customers are the big winners when it comes to roaming

The new findings come as Vodafone today announced the latest part of its roaming revolution: offering complimentary $5 roaming on Vodafone’s $100 Red plan, $100 Red Business, $130 Red Business and $130 Red Business Grow plan over 24 months.

For example, new and upgrading customers to Vodafone’s $100 Red plan will now have the freedom to use their monthly plan inclusions – infinite calls, TXT, and 6GB of data – in 47 popular overseas locations including New Zealand, United States of America, Indonesia, Thailand, United Kingdom and more, at no extra daily charge.

“We know roaming costs are a top concern for Australian travellers, which is why we’ve negotiated hard to bring our customers Australia’s best deals on roaming.”

Research summary

More than 1000 smartphone owners, aged over 18, participated in this Australian study, conducted by global research company Lightspeed GMI.

  • To avoid excess data charges from roaming, 44% of Australians travelling overseas turn their phones off, 22% buy a local SIM card at their destination and 17% leave their smartphone at home. Only 17% use their smartphones when overseas.
  • One in every five (21%) Australians have experienced bill shock from roaming.
  • 39% received an excess roaming bill greater than $250.
  • 66% of Australians would be worried to use their mobile phone overseas the way they would in Australia in fear of bill shock.
  • Australians estimate it would cost $206 on average to use a smartphone overseas for a week.

Roam or Ransom?

According to the study, Australians guess the cost of using their smartphone overseas for a week to be about $206.

Mr Smyth said Vodafone offers customers simplicity on top of the best value for roaming.

“With Vodafone’s $5 roaming, there are no zones, no daily data quotas and customers only pay the $5 a day rate when they use their smartphones,” said Mr Smyth.

Staying in control of smartphone use overseas is made easier with Vodafone Alerts and automated data top-ups. Vodafone customers with $5 roaming will receive Vodafone Alerts just like when they’re at home, notifying them by SMS when they reach 50%, 85% and 100% of their data allowance and included value. If they exceed their data allowance, Vodafone adds additional data automatically for just $10 per GB.

“International roaming is a great example of why Australia needs a strong, third mobile provider keeping the big two honest,” added Mr Smyth.

Vodafone is the first mobile provider to offer customers the ability to use their home plan overseas at no additional daily charge.

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Notes to editor

  • Nine million Australian residents departed the country short term in 2013-14, according to the ABS (3401.0 – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, Jun 2014.)
  • Research conducted by Lightspeed GMI, November, 2014. Sample size: 1000. Smartphone owners aged over 18.
  • Vodafone’s $5 Roaming topped the ‘Innovation Large Company’ category at the Australian Communications Alliance and Comms Day Awards 2014.
  • Complimentary $5 Roaming is available to eligible customers (new and upgrading) connecting to the following plans: $100 Red Plan, $100 Red Business, $130 Red Business Plan and $130 Red Business Grow Plan over 24 months.
  • The offer runs from December 3, 2014 – March 3, 2015 (inclusive)
  • Vodafone’s $5 a day roaming offer is available on all Postpaid plans currently sold by Vodafone, including month-to-month, 12-month and 24-month plans.
  • Customers can use their plan’s inclusions at no extra charge in 47 popular overseas locations, including:
Albania Czech Republic Hong Kong Lithuania Poland Spain
Austria Denmark Hungary Luxembourg Portugal Sweden
Belgium England Iceland Malta Romania Switzerland
Brazil Estonia Indonesia Montenegro Scotland Thailand
Bulgaria Finland Ireland Netherlands Serbia Turkey
China France Italy Northern Ireland Singapore United States of America
Croatia Germany Japan Norway Slovak Republic Wales
Cyprus Greece Latvia New Zealand Slovenia