Reducing roaming costs

Column number five for Fairfax is now posted online at Stuff. The columns are printed in the Businessday section of the Waikato Times, Dominion Post and Christchurch Press. Fine papers all. We are working to get them all online in a Stuff blog.

It’s hard, really hard to reduce roaming costs as they are based on agreements between Telcos across the world. Some excerpts:

In the last year 2.4 million people visited New Zealand. Almost all of them own phones, many own data cards attached to laptops or iPads, and almost all were unable to use the data functions.

The current data roaming rates are orders of magnitude out. The $7813 per GB that Telecom charges for New Zealand visitors to Australia is almost 100 times larger than the charge for domestic customers on their cheapest plan, $79.95 for 80GB. We can also assume that the $79.95 for 80GB is a much fairer reflection of the true physical costs of delivering data to a handset or data card that is in New Zealand.

So here is my proposal for the Australasian carriers and their respective ministers – Steven Joyce and Stephen Conroy. Aim to cap data roaming costs between Australia and New Zealand at $40 per gigabyte, with that price automatically reducing by 25 per cent per year thereafter.

Once the results are in, use them to cut bilateral deals with other countries and carriers, letting the eventual snowball effect follow so that we can leave our devices on. It is your chance to change the world.

Published by Lance Wiggs


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