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International data roaming packs: Telstra vs Optus vs Vodafone

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Looking for a mobile phone plan with international roaming add-ons so you can use your mobile phone while overseas

Good news, the big three telcos, Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone, all offer different sorts of international roaming packs that you can add to your existing plan, starting at $5 to $10 per day.

Why use international roaming packs? 

International roaming packs are helpful because you won’t need to buy a new SIM card when you’re overseas, you’ll keep your mobile phone number to stay in touch with friends and family, and best of all you’ll be able to use your phone in a foreign country as if you’d never left home.

In some cases, you won't need to use an international roaming pack, but the standard roaming charges can be exorbitantly expensive if you don't.

Basic overview of Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone international roaming packs

Telstra Day Pass (Zone 2)Optus $5 or $10 Roaming Add-onsVodafone $5 Roaming
Data1GB/day1-5GB/dayThis pack adds global data roaming to your existing mobile plan
CallsUnlimitedUnlimitedIncluded with Vodafone plan
SMSUnlimitedUnlimitedIncluded with Vodafone plan
Destinations includedOver 70 countriesOver 100 countriesOver 100 countries
Data top-up$10/GB (valid for 31 days)Auto top-up for $10Auto top-up for $5 for 1GB

Telstra international roaming Day Pass

Telstra’s Day Pass is available on select Telstra Upfront plans (see above) and costs between $5 (Zone 1) to $10 (Zones 2 and 3) per day, depending on your roaming destinations.

The Day Pass includes 1GB of data per day and unlimited calls and SMS for countries in Zones 1 and 2. Roaming in countries that are classed as Zone 3 miss out on the data roaming inclusion, but still benefit from unlimited talk and text. 

  • Zone 1 – New Zealand 
  • Zone 2 – 70+ countries
  • Zone 3 – Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jamaica, Jersey, Malta, Peru, Samoa.

If you need to top up your Day Pass data, you can purchase an extra 1GB of data for $10. This top-up will be valid for 31 days from the date of purchase.

Optus International Roaming

With Optus, there are a few different options for international roaming packs. These different options will be available to you depending on what plan you have with Optus.

Optus $5 Roaming Add-on

Optus’ $5 roaming pass is only available if your existing Optus plan is a:

  • Choice Plus plan 
  • Plus Family plan
  • Plus Promo plan.

You can find a link to these plans above if you'd like to learn more, or purchase one for your trip. 

This add-on starts at $5 per day, works in over 100 destinations and includes unlimited talk and text. The generous inclusion of 5GB of data to use within 24 hours makes for good value, relative to other telcos.

Optus $10 Roaming Pass

Optus’ $10 roaming pass is available for those with select postpaid Optus plans (excluding Choice Plus, Plus Family, and Plus Promo plans).

This add-on starts at $10 per day and includes 1GB of data and unlimited talk and text to eligible destinations.

Vodafone $5 Roaming

Vodafone’s $5 Roaming works a little differently from Telstra and Optus’ international roaming packs. With Vodafone, you pay an extra $5 on top of your plan to use the data that already comes with your plan in over 100 overseas countries.

If you have an eligible Vodafone plan (Small, Medium and Large plans), international data roaming comes pre-activated. This means that you will only be charged the $5 roaming fee on a day when you receive a call, text, or use your plan’s data.

If you're interested in purchasing a Vodafone plan, or learning more, then you'll find the links to Vodafone's plans above. 

If you go over your data limit, then you will be charged an extra $5 for a 1GB top-up. You can also deactivate roaming through the Vodafone app.

Vodafone’s $5 roaming option can only be used for 90 days per year. So, long-term travellers beware.

Compare mobile phone plans 

Looking for a new plan with data roaming to take overseas? Compare some of the latest plans from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone to see if they fit the bill below.

Jack Dona
Jack Dona
Money writer

Jack is RG146 Generic Knowledge certified, with a Bachelor of Communications in Creative Writing from UTS, and uses his creative flair to cut through the financial jargon and make home loans, insurance and banking interesting. His reader-first approach to creating content and his passion for financial literacy means he always looks for innovative ways to explain personal finance. Jack's research and explanations have been featured in government publications, and his work is regularly featured alongside major publications in Google's Top Stories for Insurance.