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Telstra cancels International Roaming on Annual Pre-paid plan with 4 weeks notice

I have been posted overseas temporarily for work and maintain an Australian Telstra mobile number to stay connected to Australian Banking, MyGov, and other utility bills. I am currently on the $70 annual prepaid plan, which allows for international roaming to receive calls and text messages from Australia.

I recently received this text message from Telstra.

"We wanted to remind you - some features on your Pre-paid service such as international roaming, will be phased out from 13 Oct 2020. If you’d like to continue to roam, try international roaming on our discounted month-to-month plan.”

To receive texts or calls I will have to convert to a post paid month-to-month plan at $55 per month, and $10 a day International Day Pass = $355 per month, less Telstra special $20 discount = $325 per month.

I have chatted to Telstra online about my Prepaid service which includes international roaming to receive calls and texts. Sadly, on three occasions I have had to advise the online service team of the discontinuation of the international roaming option on my Pre-paid plan.

Telstra are changing to a new digital prepaid platform, and while this happens there is a possible 9 month period where the only option is to pay $325 per month to have the ability to receive calls and texts while overseas. Data is free in any hotel, coffee shop, train or shopping mall, but for calls and texts Telstra’s only solution is the $10 Day Pass to stay connected.

Can you help or advise how I can escalate this issue? Telstra directs me to their postpaid plans available on the below web page and reminds me of $20 discount per month I can use to offset the $355 per month plan they are suggesting I use.

https://www.telstra.com.au/help/critical-information-summaries/personal/mobile/mobile-plans/telstra-mobile-plans

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That sounds bad big time. Now, what is the primary reason you want to keep that number?
You mention mygov and banking so I’m guessing it may be for logon authentication. Have you tried changing over those accounts to a new phone number whilst you still have theTelstra one to validate the change?

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I am in the process of purchasing a pre-paid sim from another service provider in Australia that allows international roaming for calls and texts. I will then start making changes required to transfer my contact details to the new service provider. I am still holding out for Testra to find a cheaper solution.

I have lived in country WA and in my experience, Telstra has the best coverage in Australia. I also have active email addresses connected to Bigpond which will need to be moved to another email address.

I am a loyal Telstra customer and they put me in a position where the only option is to leave the service provider of my choice. As much as I detest the long waiting times on calls, the coaching of their helpdesk staff, dropping me on the call after explaining my issue for more than half an hour, I actually still expect Telstra to make an effort to keep me as a loyal customer.

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Don’t. They won’t. Their prepaids used to be excellent value but no longer. I left them 2 years ago, because they were decimating their prepaid service. I really don’t think they are interested in low volume users so if they can get you to spend well beyond what you want to, in order to get your needs met, then thats what they will do.

Oh yeah… customer loyalty is something they take advantage of, with zero advantage to the customer. If you are hoping for something better because of that, you’ll be hoping forever.

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While Boost is also stopping international roaming, being dependent on Telstra, their SIMs use the entire Telstra 3G/4G (not 5G) network not just the wholesale one. When there is once again a suitable plan available you might check them out. Telstra is known to answer their phones and service their accounts :wink: Customers can receive the same excellent Telstra experience, often for less money than being a Telstra direct customer. (/s)

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I expect that the frequency of access to these is low.

Maybe an option is to keep the sim and don’t take a roaming package, but roam with standard charges ( Pay-as-you-go-roaming). Buy a local sim, remove the Telstra one and only insert the Telstra one when you need to access such services. Then remove the Telstra sim so charges can be managed.

The other option is to buy another sim with another Australian Telco exclusively for such purpose. This avoids getting texts/calls when overseas which òne has to pay to receive…and don’t use the Telstra Sim.

It may be worth, if they still exist, using a voice forwarding service. Years ago there used to be services where voice calls could be forwarded to a number, message taken and these available online or emailed. I am not sure if they are still around.

If you have access to regular wifi overseas, are also Apps which allow one to make very cheap calls back to Australia or elsewhere (to mobile or land line but usually exclude some 13, 1300 and 1800 numbers). These include Line App, Skype etc. We have found Line App one if the cheapest and they also have free limited duration calls to landlines if one watches an advertisement. …which can be useful as well.

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May be useful and may be not. Depends on usage:

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I faced a similar challenge some years back.

My solution was to bite the bullet as you have and change to a different provider. I ported my existing mobile number. I looked for the cheapest Telstra mobile month to month prior and took a new number for that phone when we were travelling in Oz. As the team here have suggested there is better value in the prepaid alternatives that use the Telstra network.

Any reward for loyalty to Telstra after half a lifetime amounted to nil minus a large number. Especially for a small business customer. Business plans used all to be at a premium relative to consumer accounts. Perhaps it was the cost of a speedier call centre answer in an Aussie accent. That dates some of my experiences.

P.S.
You only need one Telstra connected service to assure your Bigpond mail stays active. If you have one such as home internet you just need to get Telstra to confirm that your BigPong email is attached to your shared account before porting your number. Yes, I noted you have gone a slightly different way.

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These don’t need to be moved. Telstra will maintain your email addresses. You may have to pay once 12 months have elapsed after leaving as an internet phone etc customer… I have two Bigpond addresses and they are about 4 years old now and I have not been a Telstra customer for about the last 3 years. Any decent email program/app will allow you both to send and receive using these addresses, or as I do when away and using a library computer I just login via the Bigpond mail portal.

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