Want to avoid a large University mobile phone bill when travelling overseas?

20 March 2012

Staying in touch while overseas can become expensive. While the easiest method is to limit the use of your mobile phone, it is not always practical or convenient. We've devised some tips to help you minimise phone costs while overseas:

  1. Buy a local prepaid SIM card at your destination and use it instead of your Australian SIM card. This way, you will be charged local rates instead of the international roaming rate which is often very expensive. If you choose to do this, you will need to contact the ICT Helpdesk on 16000 to unlock your phone before you leave Australia.
  2. If you prefer to keep your Australian number while you are overseas, then you will be charged at the international roaming rates. To minimise call charges, contact the ICT Helpdesk on 16000 to obtain an Optus Calling Card. You will still be charged if you receive calls or if you access the Internet on your mobile phone, but the cards allow you to make phone calls at a cheaper rate.
  3. Disable data roaming on your mobile phone and avoid high international data roaming costs, regardless of whether you are using an Australian or international prepaid SIM card. ICT recommends that you access the Internet via wireless hotspots in your hotel or in public places, or if you are visiting a university that participates in eduroam, you can use your UniKey to access their wireless network.
  4. If you will use your phone for voice or data during your overseas trip, take a look at the new Optus Business Roaming Value Packs that are available for University staff. They are added to your mobile phone plan and your account is charged at the standard call or data rate of the network within the country you are visiting. For more information about the voice and data Roaming value packs, visit the Ask Sydney - ICT website or contact the ICT Helpdesk to add one to your existing University mobile phone plan.

The above tips can help to protect you from incurring high international phone call and data chargessuch as$80.62 for a 13 minute phone call from China to Australia; $43.28 bill for a 13 minute call from New Zealand to Australia; $20-$200 for downloading 100 emails (1-10MB); or $80-$200 for streaming a one minute video! For more examples of costs, see tabled data charges.

For more information on how to reduce your mobile phone charges visit the Ask Sydney - ICT website.