Vodafone roaming - what a joke

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 31-May-2008 12:54

I typically go to Australia 3 or 4 times per year and while I am over there staying in touch is important so I take my mobile with me and use it on roaming.
It's been fascinating over the years to watch the price of roaming increase considerably. In 2001 Vodafone pioneered the concept of charging NZ customers the same price to roam on the Vodafone Australia network as what they paid at home. This was in part due to the competition with 4 networks (Vodafone, Telstra, Optus and OneTel) who were all eager for their chunk of the inbound roaming market.

This was fantastic - SMS's cost 20c while you were in Aussie, calls within Australia cost the same as a call inside NZ (less GST since it's not payable while roaming) and a call back in NZ or a roam forward (inbound) call cost the same rate as you would pay for a call to Australia (again less GST). Over the years as my plan has changed these costs have varied but for the last few years it has cost me NZ 43c per minute to answer a phone call while in Australia with a 1 minute minimum and calls then charged per second. This per second charging isn't just with Vodafone Australia - all inbound roam forward calls anywhere in the world were charged per second after the first minute.

Welcome 2007. Vodafone decide to overhaul their roaming and make life simple. The cost to answer a call no matter where you are roaming now costs NZ$1 per minute with absolutely no mention that these calls are now no longer rounded to the nearest second but are infact rounded *up* to the next minute. Suddenly my 43c per minute to answer a call is now $1 and each and every call is rounded up to the next minute. Sending a TXT message now also costs 80c - up from the 20c it cost back in 2001.

Good on ya Vodafone, shafting your customers yet again..

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Comment by mushion22, on 31-May-2008 13:58

Yet another angle NZX can (and hopefully will) attack VF and TCNZ from!

Why can I use a VoIP phone anywhere in the world and incur the same costs, but not use a GSM phone - a technology that is much more ubiquitous at present - without huge surcharges?

Greed and Opportunism is why.

Viva la Net Neutrality and Open Access, I say!

Comment by mushion22, on 31-May-2008 14:00

Oops, I mean NZC, sorry.

Comment by taniwha, on 31-May-2008 16:39

and folks in Oz think they're eing nice by calling instead of sms... those 6 minutes calls didn't cost me $6.. it was more like $12. (it's a prepay so hard to tell)

Comment by mclayma, on 31-May-2008 19:42

Half price roaming on Telecom at the moment until November :)

Comment by paradoxsm, on 31-May-2008 20:50

Half price Telecom roaming is great! Note this does not apply for us old o2 users. I should check the rounding on roaming calls made on my Telecom simcard though.

Vodafone changed the pricing to better themselves of course, I'm about to launch into a "full minute" rounding attack on the telco's as this is currenly their secret cash cow and a way of rorting more money and saying "we have dropped prices" to the comcom and the like.

Here's to NZC, GSM will once again be worthwhile!

Author's note by sbiddle, on 31-May-2008 21:37

Rounding is a real joke. Just look at VFNZ's end of year financials - NZ's airttime figure of roughly 900 million minutes is only one of two group networks who report all figures rounded up (the other being Germany). 

The 900 million minutes figure puts NZ right near the bottom of group networks but the harsh reality is the true figure is obviously substancially below this. I'd love VF to come clean with the true figure but they obviously won't because it would be far too embarrassing for a company who is quite happy to rip it's customers off and then pay big bonuses to staff.

Where is the bonus for the end users who helped create that massive profit? Wouldn't it be nice to give the end user something? Even Michael Cullen can afford to give us something back..

sbiddle's profile

Steve Biddle
New Zealand

I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.

I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)

  -xDSL deployments

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.

+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.

You can contact me here or by email at stevenbiddle@gmail.com