Vodafone’s announced it’ll offer a $5-per-day charge to customers roaming in the US, UK and New Zealand from August.
Bill shock is a big problem for users who don’t pay attention to all the warnings you get about using smartphones in foreign countries, with stories of bills in the thousands of dollars being all too common. Vodafone’s announced this morning that it’ll leverage its network to somewhat eliminate that bill shock by simply offering a $5/day charge for those roaming on its networks in the UK, US and New Zealand. Pay the $5, and you’re then using whatever inclusions your current plan allows for.
This does raise some questions: What kind of warnings do you get if you’re approaching quota, given that the roaming charges will presumably apply if you go over? Can you opt out if you just want a phone that’s on (i.e contactable) rather than one with data usage rights? I’m at Vodafone’s event right now, and I’ll update once I can clarify those kinds of details.
“You don’t need to opt in”, says Vodafone’s Bill Morrow, because it’ll automatically happen.
You’ll apparently be billed at Australian rates if you go over quota, but you can’t really opt out; apparently any action except SMS on an international network, including receiving a call would incur the $5 charge. The $5 charge will apply to new plans signed from next month. In the UK and New Zealand you’ll roam to Vodafone, and in the US AT&T is the “preferred” partner, but it’ll be feasible to roam onto other networks. Interestingly, it’s not a reciprocal deal; UK and New Zealand customers don’t get the same thing in return. If you’re on an existing plan, though, it’s not automatic, although Morrow notes that they may reach out to customers if they spot that they’re frequent global roamers to those three countries.