Best international roaming plans in Australia.

Roberto Efflandrin

Back in the day, using your Australian phone abroad would mean high usage costs and limited connectivity, if it even worked at all. These days, international roaming is more readily available with many providers allowing your local Australian SIM to connect to many destinations at a much affordable price.

We’ll take you through some of the best international roaming plans on the market, as well as introducing you to other possible options you could consider.

💸 Hold over 40 currencies in your account and spend at the mid-market exchange rate with the Wise Debit card while abroad.

Learn more about the
Wise Account and card

What is international roaming and how does it work?

International roaming is a service offered by various telecommunication companies that allow their customers the ability to use their mobiles abroad. Here is how international roaming works and what you’ll need to use your phone or tablet abroad.

SIM card

Before you can even think about connecting your device overseas, you’ll need to make sure you have a SIM card that works. SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module card.** **Your SIM card may be your local SIM or you may be able to organise an ESIM before you leave Australia that has an international roaming package attached or can organise one in the destination. You should check what your options are before you leave Australia.

International roaming plan or package

These are special plans or add ons to your existing phone plans that allow you to connect to a network overseas. These packages may just add on to your plan or you can purchase pre-paid plans that you activate once abroad. Using your devices abroad will incur extra costs on top of your regular plan. How much depends on how you use your device overseas and your phone

Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)

Generally with an international roaming plan, you’ll be able to connect to a local GSM (2G or 3G) system at eligible destinations.¹ This is the system that allows a device and its native SIMs to access foreign networks which will be based on an agreement made between the two countries. Most countries use the GSM standard for their mobile networks.

The benefits of having roaming coverage vs regular phone plans

When travelling abroad, there are various benefits for choosing to opt in to an international roaming plan rather than relying on your regular phone plan. These benefits include:

  • Same or reduced rates while travelling
  • Easy to connect abroad
  • Access to multiple countries
  • Keep the same phone number

Here are some of the top international roaming plans from providers in Australia

Here are the top five international roaming providers in Australia, including what sort of packages they offer. We will cover these services:

ALDIMobile International Roaming

The ALDIMobile International Roaming is available to those with an eligible ALDIMobile plan. Customers will be able to call, receive calls, send messages and use data abroad. This plan works in 10 destinations abroad including²:

  • Indonesia
  • New Zealand
  • United States of America
  • United Kingdom (including Channel Islands and Isle of Man)
  • Thailand
  • Fiji
  • China
  • Singapore
  • Italy
  • Canada

To activate ALDIMobile International Roaming, you’ll need to log into your ALDIMobile account. It is also possible to disable roaming through the online portal as well.³ Here are some of the fees to expect when using your mobile abroad in these above countries.²

Make a call Receive a call SMS Data use
$1 per minute $1 per minute 50 cents per SMS 50 cents per MB used

You can use your eligible ALDIMobile in other destinations however it may incur higher fees than this.² With all that in mind, let’s go through some of the pros and cons of this roaming plan.

Pros Cons
  • Easy to activate and disable
  • No SIM Swapping
  • Not many destinations
  • High costs if used frequently
Read more: ALDImobile international roaming. The rates, fees & how it works

Telstra International Roaming

The Telstra international roaming packages allow Telstra customers to use their phone abroad just like they would in Australia. There are three ways to access roaming with Telstra including⁴:

  1. Day Pass with possible Data Top-Up
  2. Pay As You Go (PAYG)
  3. Prepaid pack

Data Top-Ups are for when you go over the 1GB of available data per day on the Day Pass. Some of the benefits of using your Telstra plan overseas include³:

  • You can roam in 70 destinations
  • Track your usage and top of when needed
  • No need to buy a local SIM
  • Keep your Australian number

Although these are the benefits, using your Telstra SIM abroad does incur extra fees and are determined on countries you travel to. Each country is allocated one of three zones and usage is charged based on this.

Here is a breakdown of what it costs to use Telstra International roaming Day Pass.⁴

Day Pass Data Top Up
Zone 1:

$5 a day for 1GB of data, unlimited calls and SMS

Zone 2:

$10 a day for 1GB of data, unlimited calls and SMS

Zone 3:

$10 a day for unlimited calls and SMS

$10 per 1GB (valid for 31 days from purchase

The PAYG or Prepaid packs will also incur extra fees.³ To sum it all up, let’s cover the pros and cons of this service.

Pros Cons
  • 70 roaming destinations
  • No SIM swapping
  • Low GB allowance
  • Must top up after capped data
Read more: Telstra international roaming. The rates, fees & how it works

Optus International Roaming

Optus International Roaming is available on certain Optus phone plans which allow customers to access up to 5GB of data per day in eligible overseas destinations. The phone plans with accessible roaming include⁵:

  • Optus Choice Plus
  • Optus Plus Family
  • Optus Plus Promo
  • Business Choice Plus plans.

Some of the benefits of using Optus for Roaming include⁵:

  • $5 for 5GB per day
  • Roam to 100 plus destinations
  • Unlimited calls and text
  • Manage roaming settings in app
  • No SIM swapping

These benefits cover destinations in the Zone 1 category which include the 100 destinations worldwide. If you don’t have an eligible plan, you can opt in for a $10 per day roaming plan or visit a Zone 1 destination that can utilise the PAYG rates.⁵

Let’s sum up the pros and cons for Optus.

Pros Cons
  • Access to 5GB of data per day
  • Unlimited calls and texts
  • Easy to manage in app
  • High costs outside Zone 1
  • Eligible plans only
Read more: Optus international roaming. The rates, fees & how it works

Vodafone International Roaming

Vodafone International Roaming allows eligible Vodafone plan holders to use their Australian plan overseas. This includes any plans that cover other devices such as tablets or modems. Some of the benefits to Vodafone roaming include⁶:

  • Roaming available in 100 countries
  • Roaming GB based on Australian plan
  • Easy activation
  • Includes calls and texts

There is also the option to PAYG roam if your plan is not eligible or you travel outside the eligible destinations for Vodafone roaming. The fee for this roaming plan is $5 a day added on to your plan. If you manage to go over your plan's data limit, it is an extra $5 per 1GB thereafter.⁶

Pros Cons
  • Based on local plan GB
  • Single price of $5 a day
  • Same SIM and number
  • Easy activation
  • Only 90 days per year
Read more: Vodafone AU international roaming. The rates, fees & how it works

Amaysim International roaming

Amaysim international roaming is an added service on top of an existing Amaysim plan that customers can opt in for and use at will when travelling to 90 destinations. There are four different packs with different costs available.⁷

Plan Small Talk The Works Just Gigs The Epic
Cost $20 $25 $50 $70
Included features 100 mins of calls

100 SMS

50 mins of calls

30 SMS

2GB data

6 GB data 100 mins of calls

60 SMS

9 GB data

Each pack can be purchased within the app under the international roaming tab and all have a 365 day expiry. You can also buy multiple packs at the same time.⁷

Pros Cons
  • Carryover of unused GB, calls or text limits
  • 365 day expiry
  • Easy to manage in app
  • Purchased packs must be used within 365 days
  • Call minutes include incoming and outgoing
Read more: Amaysim international roaming. The rates, fees & how it works

What to keep in mind when choosing a plan with roaming

As you can see from the above options, there are a range of different roaming packages to choose in Australia. When it comes to choosing a plan, you should always keep in mind these things:

  • Your budget
  • Where you are travelling to
  • How long you are travelling
  • Your usage requirements
  • What types of extra add-ons you require.

In some cases, staying with your own provider may suit your needs the best.

Getting a dedicated travel sim card

Relying on roaming is not the only option when it comes to accessing data, calls and texts overseas. You can get a dedicated travel SIM card. These are usually prepaid SIMs that are purchased that work as if you are using a local SIM at your destination just like a local. You can buy these before you travel at a range of providers.

Travel wisely — Give the Wise Account and Debit Card a try

Now that you have a better understanding of ALDImobile international roaming options, you may be wondering how to minimise international card charges. The Wise Account is an international payment and account that facilitates international spending at the mid-market rate.

With a Wise Account you can hold money in over 40 currencies and spend it in over 150 countries. Whenever you exchange currencies it’s done using the mid-market rate with a low conversion fee shown upfront.

To make everyday spending easier you can order a Wise Debit card for your Wise Account and generate virtual cards as needed. If you have the local currency in your Wise Account the Wise card will use it for local payments. If you don’t have local currency, it uses smart technology to auto-convert your money at the mid-market rate, for a low conversion fee.

Join over 16 million customers currently using Wise. It’ll only take a few minutes to register and see what’s inside.

Register your Wise account
in minutes

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

Sources:

  1. Vodafone GSM Network
  2. ALDIMobile pdf
  3. ALDIMobile info
  4. Telstra roaming plans
  5. Optus roaming plans
  6. Vodafone roaming plans
  7. Amaysim roaming plans

Sources checked on: 18th November 2023


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location