International roaming: prepaid plans compared


WhistleOut
16 May 2017

International roaming on prepaid plans

Wanna take your phone overseas, but you're on a prepaid plan? Good news: you don't actually need to move to postpaid to roam internationally.

Plenty of prepaid providers and carriers allow global roaming, provided that your device is capable, and that you've got enough credit on your account. However, most charge for international use on a pay-as-you-go basis, so rates aren't cheap.

Some major providers — such as Telstra and Vodafone — offer add-on international roaming packs, which mean you'll pay for a set amount of megabytes, voice minutes, and messages. This can help cut roaming costs, but be aware that even these packs aren't always affordable.

Below is all the info on which Aussie providers offer roaming on prepaid plans. We've also included example pay-as-you-go prices for five of the most popular destinations for Australians abroad: China, India, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

ALDI Mobile


ALDI prepaid customers can talk, text and use data internationally, provided they have pay-as-you-go credit available on their account. 

All roaming is charged at pay-per-use rates, although the highest you'll pay for calls is $2.00 per minute and, for data, $1.00 per megabyte.

China India New Zealand United Kingdom United States
Cost to call Australia per minute $1.00 $1.00 $1,00 $1.00 $1.00
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50
Cost of data $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB

Amaysim


Customers on Amaysim plans can activate international roaming at any time through the Amaysim app or website. You'll need to have sufficient credit applied to your account to roam overseas, and charges vary between destinations. 

Depending on the country, you'll pay up to $2.00 per minute to make voice calls, $1 to send an SMS, and $1.00 per megabyte of data use. 

China India New Zealand United Kingdom United States
Cost to call Australia per minute $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50
Cost of data $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB

Boost Mobile


If you want to roam on a prepaid Boost plan, you'll need to purchase a $15 Bolt-On pack. Call rates are calculated based on country, and any unused Bolt-On credit will expire after 28 days.

Boost charges a flat $3.00 per megabyte fee for all roaming data, with SMS generally costing $0.65 for each message sent.

China India New Zealand United Kingdom United States
Cost to call Australia per minute $3.50 $3.50 $1.50 $2.00 $3.00
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.65 $0.65 $0.65 $0.65 $0.65
Cost of data $3.00 per MB $3.00 per MB $3.00 per MB $3.00 per MB $3.00 per MB

Coles Mobile


Coles Mobile users will need to add a $5 or $15 Extras Credit pack to their plan in order to roam outside Australia. All roaming costs are charged to your Extras Credit balance, and rates follow the roaming zones used by Optus.

Zone 1 countries: $1.00 per minute for voice calls, $0.50 per SMS, and $0.50 per megabyte of data

Zone 2 countries: $2.00 per minute for voice calls, $1.00 per SMS, and $1.00 per megabyte of data

Zone 3 countries: $4.00 per minute for voice calls, $1.00 per SMS, and $15.50 per megabyte of data

China India New Zealand United Kingdom United States
Cost to call Australia per minute $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50
Cost of data $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB

Optus Prepaid


If you're on Optus' My Prepaid Ultimate, My Prepaid Ultra, or My Prepaid Ultra Plus plans, you'll need to add a $20 Travel Credit to your account before roaming internationally. 

Customers on recharges of $30 or more can also apply their included Extras Credit towards roaming costs, or buy an Extras Credit add-on for $10. Otherwise, all roaming fees will be deducted from your plan's regular credit balance.

Roaming rates are charged according to which zone a destination falls under. Optus' zone-by-zone rates are as follows.

Zone 1 countries: $1.00 per minute for voice calls, $0.50 per SMS, and $0.50 per megabyte of data

Zone 2 countries: $2.00 per minute for voice calls, $1.00 per SMS, and $1.00 per megabyte of data

Zone 3 countries: $4.00 per minute for voice calls, $1.00 per SMS, and $15.50 per megabyte of data

China India New Zealand United Kingdom United States
Cost to call Australia per minute $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50
Cost of data $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB

OVO Mobile

OVO Mobile customers will need to buy an OVO Roaming pack before using their phone internationally. Roaming packs are priced at $20 or $50, depending on your desired credit amount, and unused credit rolls over for up to 90 days.

OVO Mobile's roaming rates are calculated from Optus' country-by-country roaming zones.

Zone 1 countries: $1.00 per minute for voice calls, $0.50 per SMS, and $0.50 per megabyte of data

Zone 2 countries: $2.00 per minute for voice calls, $1.00 per SMS, and $1.00 per megabyte of data

Zone 3 countries: $4.00 per minute for voice calls, $1.00 per SMS, and $15.50 per megabyte of data

China India New Zealand United Kingdom United States
Cost to call Australia per minute $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50
Cost of data $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB

Telstra Prepaid


If you're on Telstra's Prepaid Plus plans, you'll get either $5, $10, or $15 of Plus Credit to use when roaming. Otherwise, your travel costs will be deducted from your recharge credit. 

Telstra imposes a flat $3.00 per megabyte roaming data rate on all countries. Customers can expect to pay $0.65 per text message sent, and calls are charged at between $1.50 and $3.50 per minute.

If you'd rather avoid pay-per-use data pricing, you can buy an International Roaming Browse Plus Pack. All packs have a 30-day expiry, and are priced at $29 for 100MB, $85 for 300MB, and $160 for 300MB of data. 

China India New Zealand United Kingdom United States
Cost to call Australia per minute $3.50 $3.50 $1.50 $2.00 $3.00
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.65 $0.65 $0.65 $0.65 $0.65
Cost of data $3.00 per MB $3.00 per MB $3.00 per MB $3.00 per MB $3.00 per MB

TPG 


As with other prepaid providers, TPG's roaming rates are applied according to the 'zone' your destination falls under. Rates are as follows:

Zone 1 countries: $1.00 per minute for voice calls, $0.50 per SMS, and $0.50 per megabyte of data 

Zone 2 countries: $2.00 per minute for voice calls, $1.00 per SMS, and $1.00 per megabyte of data

Zone 3 countries: $4.00 per minute for voice calls, $1.00 per SMS, and $15.50 per megabyte of data

China India New Zealand United Kingdom United States
Cost to call Australia per minute $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50
Cost of data $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB

Vodafone Prepaid


Vodafone's standard pay-as-you-go rates are taken from your prepaid plan's credit balance. Customers will pay $1.00 per minute to make and receive calls, $0.75 for text messages, and $1.00 per megabyte of data use. 

Customers can also buy a Prepaid Roaming Add-on for their plan. The $25 pack includes 100MB of data, 30 minutes of voice calls, and 30 SMS, and has a 3-day expiry, while the $25 data-only pack includes 200MB over 3 days. 

Vodafone's 7-day Prepaid Roaming packs include 60 voice minutes, 60 SMS, and 250MB of data for $35, or 500MB of data for $35. 

China India New Zealand United Kingdom United States
Cost to call Australia per minute $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.75 $0.75 $0.75 $0.75 $0.75
Cost of data $1.00 per MB $1.00 per MB $1.00 per MB $1.00 per MB $1.00 per MB

Yomojo


Yomojo uses Optus' prepaid rates, so your roaming costs will depend on the zone your destination falls under. Rates are as follows:

Zone 1 countries: $1.00 per minute for voice calls, $0.50 per SMS, and $0.50 per megabyte of data 

Zone 2 countries: $2.00 per minute for voice calls, $1.00 per SMS, and $1.00 per megabyte of data

Zone 3 countries: $4.00 per minute for voice calls, $1.00 per SMS, and $15.50 per megabyte of data

China India New Zealand United Kingdom United States
Cost to call Australia per minute $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50
Cost of data $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB $0.50 per MB

Prepaid brands that don't offer roaming


Unfortunately, not all prepaid providers allow customers to use their plan outside of Australia. Here's a list of companies that — so far — don't allow international roaming.

  • Dodo 
  • GoTalk
  • Hello Mobile
  • Kogan Mobile
  • Lebara
  • Virgin Prepaid
  • Woolworths Mobile
Looking for info on postpaid plans with included international roaming? Head to our guide here.

Original travel planning phone & notebook image via Shutterstock

Plane at sunrise image via Shutterstock

Compare prepaid plans below
Carrier Inclusions  
OVO
OVO
  • Mini Mobile Plan
  • 1GB Data
  • Prepaid (30 Days)
  • $9.95
Optus
Optus
  • My Prepaid Daily Plus - $10 Recharge
  • 500MB Data
  • Prepaid (30 Days)
  • $10
amaysim
amaysim
  • UNLIMITED 1GB Prepaid
  • 1GB Data
  • Prepaid (28 Days)
  • $10
Lycamobile
Lycamobile
  • All in one 10 National Plan
  • 1GB Data
  • Prepaid (28 Days)
  • $10
Coles
Coles
  • Prepaid $10 for 10 Days
  • 1GB Data
  • Prepaid (10 Days)
  • $10

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