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...
Back in the day, using your phone abroad was either impossible or very costly, with high international rates if your provider let you access a partner network at all. Now international roaming is more accessible and for much lower costs, but varies by provider.
If you’re with Telstra, and you are travelling overseas soon, you may be wondering if you can use your sim while you’re there. Keep reading to learn if it's possible.
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Telstra international roaming is a service available to eligible Telstra customers to use their Australian sim to text, call and use the internet while travelling abroad.¹
Telstra offers their customers a few ways to use their sim overseas. They can choose from the international day pass packages, a pay-as-you-go option and prepaid roaming packs. We’ll go through these different options below in more detail.
The international day pass is for customers that have an Upfront phone plan with Telstra. The packages are based on three zones that share 70 eligible countries that roaming can be used in and each zone has their own associated pricing.
For those that are travelling to a country outside the three zones or are not on an Upfront Phone Plan, there is a Pay-As-You-Go option for over 200 destinations worldwide. The costs for using the PAYG service are higher than the international day pass packages.
For those that like to pay for things ahead of time, there is also the option to buy a prepaid roaming plan through the My Telstra App. This option is available in 35 countries, and best purchased once arrived at the destination.
Whether or not you have access to data and internet coverage using your Telstra sim abroad will depend on your destination, and how much you’re willing to spend on using your local sim overseas. Here's a breakdown of your options.
Generally, international roaming can get expensive using your Australian sim, especially if you choose to use the PAYG option with Telstra.
Although this option is available across more destinations worldwide, Telstra recommends buying a local sim if travelling within a destination not eligible for the day pass roaming or prepaid plans.¹ Let’s compare these two other options now.
There are three prepaid plans that are good for those who like to follow a strict budget while travelling. The packs are as follows.²
|Plan||Valid for 3 days||Valid for 7 days||Valid for 14 days|
|Data allowance||400 MB data allowance||2 GB data allowance||4 GB data allowance|
|Messages and Call allowance||15 SMS or MMS to send |
15 minutes worth of calls
|25 SMS or MMS |
25 minutes of calls
|50 SMS or MMS |
50 minutes of calls
As seen on 26 May 2023
If you use all your data, messages or call minutes by the expiry day of your chosen plan, you can purchase another pack through the My Telstra app at any time.²
The packages are broken up into three zones with data, messages and call allowance differing per zone. They are as follows.¹
|Day Pass zones||Zone 1||Zone 2||Zone 3|
|Price||$5 a day||$10 a day||$10 a day|
|Data allowance||1 GB a day||1 GB a day||No data allowance|
|Messages and calls||Unlimited calls and messages||Unlimited calls and messages||Unlimited calls and messages|
As seen on 26 May 2023
If you use up all your data allowance during activated day pass day, you can top up your data for $10 per 1 GB which will be valid from 31 days from your top up.¹
You can activate either a Day Pass Roaming package or prepaid pack directly through the My Telstra App as it does not happen automatically. The steps to do activate a day pass are as follows:¹
- Open your My Telstra App
- Go to My services tab
- Click on Extras and then international Roaming
- Toggle Day Pass on if it isn’t already
For the prepaid packs, your allowances will activate immediately once you have purchased it, so doing it before you leave Australia is not recommended.¹
Now we’ll go through the countries available to roam on either the Day Pass or a prepaid plan.
You can use a day pass package across 70 countries. These include¹:
|Zone 1 Countries||Zone 2 Countries||Zone 3 Countries|
|New Zealand||Europe & UK |
Isle of Man
United Kingdom (Scotland, Northern Ireland & Wales)
East Timor (Leste)
North, Central and South America
Middle East, Central Asia & Africa
Papua New Guinea
As seen on 26 May 2023
For the prepaid plans, you can buy a plan when you land in any of the following 35 destinations.²
|Europe & UK||Middle East & Africa||Asia||South Pacific||The Americas|
Republic of Korea
Papua New Guinea
As seen on 26 May 2023
As mentioned, if you are travelling to a country that is not listed above, you can choose to PAYG when you use your phone, or buy a local sim in your destination.¹
You’ll be able to track your usage through your My Telstra App, through My Telstra on any browser or through Telstra My Plan Manager on your mobile if you have it downloaded.²
You should be aware that your Telstra Day Pass plan can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours to activate. Each time you activate your day pass, it is valid for 24 hours.¹ If you do turn off your roaming before the 24 hours is up, you will still be charged for the 24 hour period.³
If you do have any questions for Telstra before or when you’re overseas, you can contact them by:
- 13 22 00 from within Australia
- +61 439 12 5109 from overseas
You can also message Telstra support directly in your My Telstra App.
Here are a few other things that can pop up when using an international roaming plan that can be useful to know.
VoLTE stands for Voice over LTE network. This means that you’ll be able to make calls over a 4G network when overseas, given your device has VoLTE roaming capabilities. Some countries still allow for calls over a 2G or 3G network, but many countries have stopped these coverage levels.
If you ever need to make an emergency call when overseas, it’s important to have a device that has VoLTE emergency capabilities. If you do not have this, you will not be able to make emergency calls.
What Telstra services you can use while abroad will depend on where you are travelling to. Generally you will have access to data, calls and message services at varying costs.
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Sources checked on: 29 May 2023
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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