International Roaming travelling tips
If you're travelling overseas with a mobile device or mobile broadband device (for example, connecting to a tablet, laptop or netbook) you need to know about International Roaming data charges and ways to avoid bill shock.
The information below should help you configure your device and help you manage your data usage and costs. Be sure to have a look at our 'How to' videos at the bottom of this page.
Mobile and mobile broadband devices
Make sure International Roaming is activated
If you've never used International Roaming on your Post-Paid mobile or mobile broadband, then you'll need to have it activated. If you apply now, within three days you'll receive an email and SMS confirming when International Roaming is activated and when your Data Pack is ready to use, if you apply for one.
If you've used your Telstra post-paid mobile or Telstra Mobile Broadband (excluding BigPond Mobile BroadbandYou can check if your mobile broadband is with BigPond by checking the plan name on your bill.) overseas before, then International Roaming mayIf you've used International Roaming on your mobile or mobile broadband service before, it may already be active unless you've requested it be switched off or have defaulted on a Telstra bill for non-payment. already be active. We'll check this for you.
International Roaming is automatically active on Telstra Pre-Paid services, so you don't need to apply.
Check network availability and your device compatibility
Use our handy itinerary builder to check network availability in the countries you'll be visiting. You can also check whether your device is compatible in those countries.
Check current rates
Use our handy itinerary builder to check current rates that apply to voice or video calls, SMS, MMS and MessageBank retrieval in the countries you'll be visiting. Remember that any allowances you get as part of your mobile plan can only be used in Australia.
Managing data usage
International Casual Traveller Data Pack or International Roaming Browse Plus Pack
If you want to use data overseas, buy an International Casual Traveller Data Pack before you leave – it'll give you much better value than Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) rates in selected countries
Switch off data roaming
Be sure to turn data off on your device when you aren't using it. While it’s turned on, any apps you have may continue to run in the background and you’ll be charged for data usage every time they automatically update, or connect to an overseas network.
Another way to access data services is to use a Wi-Fi hotspot. For example you may have access to a free Wi-Fi connection in airports, hotels and cafes.
Managing automatic notifications and software updates
If data roaming is switched on while you're roaming overeas, and you’re worried about data usage, you can manage your costs by switching automatic notifications and automatic software updates ON and OFF as required. Apps such as map services or messaging services may be data intensive so please be aware of the costs incurred if you're planning to use them overseas.
If data roaming is turned on, each time your phone checks for email, you incur data charges.
Control when this happens by changing your phone settings to switch email download off, and only check them when you have access to a free Wi-Fi connection.
Download maps before you go or when using a free Wi-Fi hotspot
Unless you're using a free Wi-Fi hotspot, apps with map services can be costly to use.
Do your research before you leave home by saving maps and directions to your device, or download them when you're accessing the internet using a free Wi-Fi connection.
Managing voice calls
Advise family and friends of the best way to contact you
Remember that charges apply to both calls made and received overseas. Also, calls received have an additional call set-up fee on top of the call charge, and may incur an airtime charge, dependent on where you are travelling.
SMS is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends while overseas. It will only cost you 75 cents to send an SMS from any country.
Call diversion settings
Check all your call diversions before you go (for example, check if you're diverting calls from your work phone number to your mobile). You're charged for calls received as well as diversion to your MessageBank. Any calls you receive on your mobile overseas will be at International Roaming rates.
Check call barring settings
Make sure the following call barring settings are removed before you leave, as per your user manual:
- all incoming calls, when roaming overseas
- outgoing international calls
- outgoing calls, except to Australia, when roaming overseas.
Convert phone numbers to international format
For those people you intend to call while overseas, convert their mobile phone numbers in your phone book to international format. By doing this, your phone book can recognise calls made from these numbers and display the name you've loaded in your phone book. To convert phone numbers to international format, enter +61 followed by the Australian mobile number with the first digit '0' deleted (e.g. +61428123456).
Check International Roaming is active
When you connect to an overseas network, we'll send you Welcome SMS messages from Telstra.with helpful information.
- Post-paid: "Need Telstra support whilst you are overseas? Call us on +61439125109 (max cost 25c). Be sure to keep this SMS handy."
- Pre-Paid: "Need Telstra support whilst you are overseas? Call us on 1258880 (max cost 50c). Be sure to keep this SMS handy."
Post-Paid and Pre-Paid
- "IMPORTANT MESSAGE: While roaming overseas mobile calls, SMS / MMS and data are charged at higher rates than when in Australia. Contact us for more info."
- "IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Avoid high data charges when overseas. Manage your data use and turn off data on your handset when not in use. Contact us for more info."
While you're roaming, you can't opt out from receiving these service SMS messages. If you don't want to be disturbed or woken during the night, we recommend that you configure your Telstra mobile to a 'silent' profile or to an unobtrusive message arriving tone or sound.
Downloading video or music
Avoid downloading video or music while you're overseas as it can be very expensive.
When you get home
If you turned data roaming off while overseas, make sure you turn it back on when you arrive home if you want to acess data services. Also check your other settings like automatic notifications, automatic software updates and any call diversions.
'How to' videos
Select your handset below to watch our International Roaming Tips video. The video will take you through some tips and tricks on how to manage the data on your phone when travelling aboard. Managing your mobile data while overseas is important and these steps should help you to do this.
Things you need to know
These videos are located outside of Telstra's unmetered sites. Viewing the videos may count towards your download limit, or you may incur data usage charges.
International Casual Traveller Data Pack
Here’s a list of the selected countries where you’ll be able to use your International Casual Traveller Data Pack or International Frequent Traveller Data Plan:
International Roaming Data Packs or Plans
Here's a list of the selected countries where you'll be able to use your International Roaming Data Pack or Plan:
International Roaming Browse Plus Pack
Here's a list of the selected countries where you'll be able to use your International Roaming Browse Plus Pack: