Vodafone axes roaming fees for Aussies travelling to New Zealand

Vodafone today announced that it will no longer charge its Australian customers roaming fees when they travel to New Zealand. The offer effectively waives the AUD$5 per day Vodafone bills customers when they leave the country and continue to use their service.

As with AUD$5 per day offer, Vodafone customers are able to use their full call, text, and data allowances while roaming in New Zealand. Customers will be able to roam on New Zealand's 4G networks where available.

Vodafone Chief Marketing Officer Loo Fun Chee said that "free" offers are the next step in trying to conquer user's fears of international roaming. Research commissioned by Vodafone suggests only 17% of Australians use mobile roaming, and 67% do not understand roaming charges.

Free roaming in New Zealand is available on all SIM-only and Red post-paid plans that include AUD$5 per day roaming. These start at AUD$30 per month.

At present, Vodafone plans to run the free roaming offer until February 1. While the telco "will definitely" consider expanding free roaming to offer countries, New Zealand was chosen as a pilot market due to its popularity with Australian travellers.

General Manager Consumer Products Stephen Smyth said that competitive offers such as AUD$5 per day roaming mean Vodafone plays an important role as a challenger brand in the Australian telco market, and have forced competitors such as Telstra and Optus to adjust their own plans in response.

"It takes a lot of work to build these propositions," said Smyth "but we'll keep looking for these innovations."

Telstra recently faced heavy criticism for its restructured approach to global roaming. Rather than charging a flat daily fee, Telstra customers are required to purchase a minimum three-day travel pass. Pricing varies depending on which zone a country fits in, starting at AUD$15 for three days in Zone 1, to AUD$45 for three days in Zone 3.

A number of countries previously in Zone 2 were moved to Zone 3 at the beginning on December, including the United Kingdom, Canada, United States of America, and Germany, effectively increasing Travel Pack prices by 50%.  

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