Fear of data roaming bill shock still prevails Down Under

It appears that even as we begin 2015, the confusion and anxiety surrounding data roaming is still common place around the world. A recent survey conducted by Vodafone Australia revealed that 44% of Australians turn off their smartphones when travelling abroad for fear of being on the receiving end of bill shock. 21% of the respondents said their experience bill shock from roaming while the report estimated that it would cost an average of $206 a week to use a smartphone overseas.

Switch off data roaming

Although these findings are startling, are we really surprised? This survey could probably apply to many regions around the world such is the confusion over how much data roaming will cost and the pricing complexity involved. The European Union recently reduced and capped data roaming charges within the EU to much jubilation, but Australians are not afforded this luxury.

As a semi-isolated island nation situated in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean its close proximity to the Asian Pacific countries such as Indonesia and close ties to Japan and Korea provide key export markets. Trade to the major Asian countries has stepped up over recent years with a Free Trade agreement signed as recently as December 2014 with Korea. China remains the biggest export market for Australia with Japan second, Korea third and Singapore fifth. Imagine a scenario for a business or organisation who tells its staff to turn off their phone when travelling to these destinations to conduct important business. Relying on both public and hotel Wi-Fi has its own security and reliability issues as we have documented before. A business person consumes, on average, 300MB of data a day that will undoubtedly include accessing cloud-based services. This is how important staying connected whenever, wherever is for global businesses.

According to the Vodafone report, such is the high cost of data roaming for Australians, 22% of the survey respondents buy a local SIM card at their destination. Again this is something we have discussed previously and throws up reliability issues with language and culture barriers that can result in receiving the wrong service.

The Vodafone survey again highlights the lengths people will go to avoid bill shock. From a business perspective turning off your phone is not an option anymore and maintaining productivity and open communications remains vital for good business practice. Our Goodspeed Wi-Fi hotspot service eradicates any apprehension around data roaming costs with transparent and predictable daily pricing – whether you’re from Australia or any other part of the globe.

-Hanne @Uros