Global Roaming Scam

I've been an Optus prepaid user for the past 7 years or so to manage my call spend. I only just recently switched to post paid when I bought my new phone.

I recently went travelling to India and Singapore. Now, I know global roaming is expensive, but I thought what the hell, I've got a little bit of money now and I want to enjoy the convenience. I made some calls and checked a few emails. Given that my regular phone bill is around $80 per month, I was expecting a phone bill of perhaps $300 or so (i.e. more than triple).

I was roaming with Optus's preferred ‘bridge’ partners in each country, which in Singapore is SingTel (which owns Optus). Optus told me to avoid high costs by roaming with their partners.

My bill was over $1500.

I was charged between $5.30 and $6.65 per minute for calls and $15 per megabyte of data (which is over 10 times the price of the cost here). SMS's were 55c (which to me is reasonable).

Did I make the calls? Yes. Am I an idiot for not finding out exactly how much they would cost first? Yes, however... surely 10x the price is simply unjustifiable, excessive and unreasonable? It’s not 1980, a seven and a half minute phone call should not cost $49.90 when made from a capital city.

Singapore is not a poor country with tacky Telco infrastructure, and in India the locals pay 1p per minute (43 rupees to the $1 AUD, and 100p in 1 rupee, i.e. a fraction of a cent).

I’m going to take my complaint to Optus.

Has anyone experienced any success in a similar situation?

Failing a satisfactory outcome I will consider taking this to the Telecommunications Ombudsman.
$5/min sounds about right. Last time I used global roaming the $5/min charge was for outgoing AND incoming calls, ie. I was also charged that rate for receiving calls!
gee - those poor satelites and all that maintenance they have to perform every time someone globally roams....

what a crock of sh*t.
Looks like they European Commission has addressed this situation for the EU...

"The new rules will also protect consumers from "bill shocks" by introducing a cut-off mechanism once the bill reaches €50, unless they choose another cut-off limit (recently, a German downloading a TV programme while roaming in France faced a bill of €46,000). Operators have until March 2010 to put this cut-off limit in place."

Checkout what rates I'd be paying:
$5 sounds pretty cheap actually. You really must have made longer calls than you realised - I made a lot of calls in Bali this year and used the internet but the additional costs were only around $200.

People dont realise that when someone calls you from Australia, you are the one who gets charged the $5+ rate. That has always been the case for every provider.
$5 per minute is cheap? The European commission thought it was excessive too.

Did you see their government regulated rates for roaming? They're cheaper than our local rates!! (11c SMSs).
hmm...thats bad luck, i used to travel to south east asia alot, i usually buy a sim card when i arrive at the airport, they are very cheap and i make calls internationally, they are more expensive than a local call but not as bad as roaming, a lesson for you next time.
Yeah, that's what I've done in the past. This time I didn't bother and just thought I'd pay the bit extra and enjoy the convenience. Didn't realise it was 10x more though, I was thinking perhaps 3-4x.
I was charged between $5.30 and $6.65 per minute for calls
I enquired with Vodafone once when my wife was going to Vietnam and got told about A$7 a minute (for one direction - the other direction was about half that). Naturally we opted for the local SIM card in Vietnam option!

$15 per megabyte of data (which is over 10 times the price of the cost here).
Not really, it depends on the plan. My wife's plan with Virgin gives 300MB a month for $10, but the overrun rate is much the same as the standard rate we pay at work: 2c a kilobyte ($20 a megabtye).

As work has no Internet plan, I basically can't use Internet from my phone (which is a work-supplied one). I tried it once, when no one seemed to be able to tell me how much it cost, and after spending a long weekend checking email a few times and a few other small things, the bill was over $400 - and work complained. :D

Can you 'add on' an internet pack? I know with Optus you can get 200mb for an extra $10. Maybe you could do that and pay for it yourself?

Funny, I thought Voda would have been cheaper as a more 'global' Telco.
OMG I would have had a heart attack.

I usually get a SIM card in the country I'm travelling in but last year my travel phone died so had to use my 3 one on global roaming. Hubby rang me and said don't worry. Last time I rang from overseas it only cost me $5. So we talked for a few minutes. Yeah it cost him $5 to ring me but $19 for me to receive the call.:eek:

Never again except in an emergency. I've got to remember to change the message to say I will not check the calls until (date I get back) or to ring hubby.
I can beat that with my $4000 phone bill. no idea what it was for - every 30 seconds my phone was hitting the net looking for some data and then hanging up. Vodafone couldn;t tell me what number it was diallign as it was just data. They were pretty good about it and reversed most of the cost (after many hours and many phone calls and store visits). Interestingly, the guy in the store said i was the first person he had ever seen having the charges reversed. I think there are ALOT of these horror stories around. Ever since then I turned data completely off on my phone.
Ausprop. Did you have location services enabled on your phone? That will keep checking where you are over the data network.
I was training in Japan in October with my Iphone.
The house I was staying at had wireless so I used that mostly when at home. But one of the guys used my phone to call home 10@$4/m which is not bad the local calls I made were cheap but the data I used to check mail on the phone and a few other times came in at $75 which doubled my normal phone bill. As far as I am aware location based services are only used when they are opened.

We all know it is a rort because remember these are the same companies who claim it is cheaper to have all of our calls go to places like India etc.
So how can they say it is cheaper to do this but still charge us huge prices when we make the calls overseas?
This is why I buy prepaid sim cards in each country when I travel overseas....

I did this on a recent trip to Canada last month and only spent pocket change by comparison. Global roaming works technically, but definitely not financially.... at least not for the consumer.

I just wish we had multi-sim phones enabled in Aus.... :mad:
another vote for using local pre-paid SIM cards.
I travel a lot for work in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China... i just buy a simcard in each country.