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Telecom NZ slashes cost of unexpected journeys

Flat rate roaming for Kiwis - now what about the rest of us?

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Telecom New Zealand has announced flat-rate international roaming charges.

The antipodean carrier announced today that its customers will pay just $NZ6 each day they use mobes while visiting The West Island Australia, and a tenner in UK, USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia. Data costs have been reduced by between 83 and 92 per cent, but are still charged per megabyte.

CEO Simon Moutter said, in a canned statement, that the carrier could take a bath on the flat fees, "but we reckon it’s a risk worth taking."

“Currently, around two-thirds of our business customers switch off their data when in Australia, despite most being regular data users when in New Zealand," Moutter said, adding that he hopes this changes with the rate cut.

It's not hard to imagine Telecom New Zealand's decision to adopt the flat fees will be cited when other telcos around the world twiddle their thumbs on the issue of high roaming charges. New Zealand is hardly a telephony titan, so it seems unlikely Telecom New Zealand was able to wield a big stick when negotiating with other telcos to make this happen.

Just what stands between other carriers and similar arrangements is therefore now just a little harder to imagine.

The carrier has also been busy on the LTE front, flicking the switch on a multi-vendor 4G technology trial across segments of cities Wellington and Auckland.

The first phase of the trial will run until mid-February, focussing on testing how the network performs in a New Zealand environment across a range of situations and performance pressures. A second phase, including customer trials, begins in mid-February and runs until the end of March.

Huawei will be conducting the trial in Auckland on the 2600MHz spectrum while Alcatel-Lucent will run the trial in the Lower Hutt area of Wellington, also on the 2600MHz spectrum.

Two smaller 4G LTE trials will take place in regional areas. ®

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