Vodafone NZ launches improved international roaming

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 18-Aug-2010 19:53

After the launch of Telecom's XT network I blogged about a key difference between the XT and Vodafone networks - the fact that while roaming internationally on the XT network your voicemail works in exactly the same was as it did in new Zealand. On Vodafone NZ it did not.

While Vodafone have offered international roaming since the mid 90's (when BellSouth entered the market) one key feature missing was the ability for a person calling your mobile phone to leave a voicemail message if your phone was turned on (ie it rang) and was not answered. This is a feature known as Late Call Forwarding.

If you had activated call forwarding so that all calls were forwarded to voicemail or had your phone switched off then callers would be able to leave messages. If your phone was switched on and rang, people calling you would either receive a disconnect tone after the specified timeout period, or in some cases received a prerecorded message. If you were roaming on the Vodafone Australia network then this feature was available and callers could leave a message, however anybody who has roamed to Australia would also have noticed that Vodafone billed you the standard $1 per minute roaming charge for voicemail deposits, a charge they loved to hide by not mentioning it anywhere on their website.

As of this week Vodafone NZ have upgraded their network to support Late Call Forwarding on all roaming destinations. Now no matter whether your phone is on of off people calling you will be able to leave you a voicemail message. And best of all you will no longer be charged for voicemail deposits!

Just remember though that standard international call costs still do apply when accessing your voicemail box to listen to messages - they haven't been generous enough to waive these!

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Will the iPhone 6 work in New Zealand?

Comment by oxnsox, on 19-Aug-2010 11:28

I may be mistaken Mr B but I believe call forwarding (to voice mailbox) was the default VF setting from Bell South day 0.  I understood this had something to do with even getting the network up and running as Telcom (or other regulators) insisted that all calls must be terminated (answered) in order for the network to operate...  simply another hurdle at the time to stiffle competetion (what changes eh???).

Author's note by sbiddle, on 19-Aug-2010 12:19

What you are talking about has absolutely no relevance to my post above which is about voicemail while roaming.

Yes when BellSouth launched their interconnection agreement with Telecom meant that all customers had to have voicemail enabled as 100% of calls interconnected between networks had to be terminated. This actually backfired on Telecom to an extent when BellSouth decided not to charge for voicemail desposits and also charge a flat rate fee for voicemail retrieval, something that Telecom weren't doing at the time.

Comment by TinyTim, on 19-Aug-2010 14:11

Yay, about time!
No wait, I don't travel much any more. As you were.

Comment by Andy, on 23-Aug-2010 05:24

So, just exactly who is stupid enough in this day and age to use a VFNZ or TNZ phone while roaming? For the price a a few VF or TNZ roaming calls (or should that be reaming calls), you can buy a local sim in the country of your visit, usually as you pass through the airport on arrival, and call for a squillion minutes locally and offshore. Sure, it's inconvenient to tell your contacts your new temp number, but that's better than putting up with those outrageous call charges. In any case, VFNZ (from my experience over many years) finds it inordinately difficult to forward calls on anywhere remotely civilised (i.e. Outside of NZ and Australia). Dropped and failed call forwarding is so common, I no longer bother with their attempts. Buy the local sim. Enjoy the cheap call charges. One day, VFNZ and TNZ will figure out that it's better to keep customers happy with reasonable roaming call charges than lose all that revenue. Being stupid, it'll take them a while longer. Oh, and by the way, 2degrees seems to be able to call forward without difficulty. Go figure.

Comment by johnr, on 23-Aug-2010 08:38

@Andy if your talking about call divert for Vodafone NZ prepay customers this is restricted at network level. Postpay customer can setup diverts

Comment by Adam, on 28-Aug-2010 13:05

Andy, the problem is that a sizeable chunk of vodafones revenue per year has been inbound roaming travellers. Its a market worth millions. The same applies for other networks overseas. Its not really vodafone that is dictating the roaming charges its the respective networks in each country. The sad reality is that at the end of the day travellers can generally afford to pay and those that cant will not use their phones or find cheaper means of communication like a local sim as you point out. For this to change vodafone will have to stop being greedy bastards on inbound roamers and i suspect only then will they be able to negotiate better rates with other countries networks. before xt they probably had very little reason to do so

Comment by KiwiSurfer, on 3-Sep-2010 01:00

@Andy: Last time I went overseas I did exactly what you suggested -- i.e. I bought a local SIM card. When I came home I did the maths and worked out it would had been cheaper if I had roamed using my VFNZ sim all along based on my pattern of sending lots of SMS to other VFNZ customers (both at home and at the conference I was attending). It's not always cheaper to buy a local sim since many foreign carriers have quite expensive prices for calls/SMS back to NZ which are sometimes comparable to the prices VFNZ charge for calls/SMS back to NZ! So I would be careful to advise people to buy a local SIM as it's not always the cheapest option for certain calling/texting patterns.

Comment by turnin, on 6-Sep-2010 18:29

Comment by Adam, on 27-AUG-2010 15:05
Andy Its not really vodafone that is dictating the roaming charges its the respective networks in each country.

But hang on when I go to another country and roam/ream with another Vodafone network I still get charged the same roaming rate, hiding behind the fact that vodafone uk and vodafone nz are different companies might work on paper but I'm affraid it dosn't gel with me.
I'm a tradesman, have 2 offices, jobs get sent to each office according to the location of the job. If I was to charge my customers by contracting the other office to do the job at 4 x the price, and say well, we deal with another plumber in your area and he charges 4 times as much, and them my customers worked out what I was doing -I don't think I'd get much sleep

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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