All three mobile carriers have moved to re-establish roaming as New Zealand and Australia open a travel bubble.
2degrees business customers with prepay and pay monthly plans, can roam for free in Australia until July 31. This applies to data, calls and texts. Similar deals in the past have been restricted to consumers.
Vodafone says its customers can use 5G networks. There is a $7 charge per day, per device for travellers in Australia. The company has 5G roaming deals in 10 destinations which will kick into operation as wider international travel reopens.
The company offers roaming on its, still limited, local 5G network to visitors coming here from Australia, China, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Taiwan.
This week Vodafone changed its network banner to a “VF Kia Ora” message to reflect this.
Spark has revived its pre-Covid roaming deal. Customers can buy add-on week-long bundles of texts, voice minutes and data for $20.
While roaming represents a small slice of each carriers’ total revenue, the margins are high. This makes it a lucrative source of profit, one that was conspicuously absent when New Zealand closed its borders because of the Covid pandemic.
When discussing Spark’s first half results earlier this year, CEO Jolie Hodson told analysts revenue was down 1.5 percent on the same period the previous year. She said most of this was due to the loss of higher margin mobile roaming revenue.
Last year the company estimated the loss of roaming was worth in the region of $50 million.
Likewise, when Vodafone laid off workers in mid 2020 as the pandemic hit, it issued a statement saying reduced roaming had a significant financial impact on the business.