Australia, New Zealand releases discussion paper on mobile roaming prices

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Image: Tom Solari/TECHGEEK.com.au

UPDATED: The Federal Government, along with its New Zealand counterpart, have announced that they will be working together to stop large bill shock when travellers use their phones internationally. Both will launch a discussion paper today to gauge public opinion before negotiating an agreement.

That agreement could mean legislation being introduced in both sides of the Tasman that could introduce price caps if you plan to use your mobile in New Zealand, or if you are a New Zealander coming to Australia.

Both governments have released a draft report on international roaming charges between New Zealand and Australia. It also provides a number of options including price transparency, allowing roaming users to become local users (meaning that users from Australia can get the same local rates as New Zealanders in that country) and unbundling the roaming services.

Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy, talking to ABC News Breakfast, said that the charges were “not good enough”, after it found that telcos were making 300%. He also said that when the study was started, it was 1000%

Talking in a press conference this morning, New Zealand’s Communications Minister Amy Adams said, “New Zealanders have started to enjoy lower roaming prices recently, and the draft report shows that the pressure created by our joint investigation has been a key factor in this reduction.”

People are invited to submit their comments to the draft report by September 27.

He has also announced that ACMA will soon put in place a standard where mobile phone companies will notify their customers when overseas the cost of the call, sending a text and going online. They will also give a user an option to opt out of international roaming, meaning that their phone will no longer receive calls and messages if they decide to say no to international roaming from their telco.

“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,” Conroy said in the press conference.

Conroy said that this should be in place within twelve months

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