Instagram and Facebook addicts rejoyce! Credit: Thinsktock
Instagram and Facebook addicts rejoyce! Credit: Thinsktock

Uploading your holiday snaps to Instagram and Facebook in real-time will become a whole lot cheaper as Optus moves to save Australian travellers hundreds of dollars a day in global roaming charges.

Already offering coverage in over 182 countries, Optus has today announced a simplified version of the way they charge their overseas travelling customers that will hopefully eliminate the shock of coming home to mobile bills in the thousands of dollars.

From mid-September, Optus will reduce their global roaming payment zones from five to two, with Zone 1 covering the top five destinations that Australians travel to – New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Europe, UK, Canada and Asia – and Zone 2 covering the destinations less travelled by Australians – Latin America, Africa and The Middle East.

What you’ll pay (excludes premium numbers, satellite, marine and airspace):

Zone 1: 50c/SMS, $1/min talk, 50c/MB data.

Zone 2: $1/SMS, $2/min talk, $1/MB data.

The telco also plans to introduce ‘Optus Travel Packs’ for travellers heading to Zone 1 destinations. For $10 per day on top of your current postpaid plan you’ll get:

Text: unlimited

Talk: unlimited

Data: 30MB per day

In comparison, Australian Business Traveller quotes the current Optus AutoRoam plan data charges at $20/MB, while a call from most of the countries in the above Zone 1 is around $1.40/min for local numbers and $3.20/min if you want to call home (overseas).

Related: Compare Optus Mobile Phone Plans

Communications consumer action group ACANN told Australian Business Traveller it welcomes Optus’ new plans, with spokesman Asher Moses saying “it’s good to see telcos taking action on the global roaming rip off.”

"Consumers are increasingly aware that they are being taken for a ride by providers addicted to the massive profits derived from the global roaming rort. Global roaming charges have for too long been way too high and do not come close to reflecting the true cost of providing the service."

However, Moses added that "it's likely that buying a local SIM card at their destination will still be a much cheaper option for travellers. Optus' $10 a day bolt on would mean paying $70 a week extra and that's on top of your normal plan fees."

What do you think of Optus' new roaming rates?

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