Students planning an Australian gap year following the release of A-Level results are being urged to consider their approach to call and data roaming charges while abroad. As the most popular destination for gap year travellers and situated over 10,000 miles from the UK, maintaining contact with friends and family while in Australia requires careful planning for thousands of travellers each year.
Australia’s Department for Immigration and Citizenship has confirmed an increase of 7% in Working Holiday Visa applications from Britons in the 12 months leading up to June, leading to a total of 35,700 set to travel and work in the country for up to 12 months. With Europeans set to spend £11.8 billion* on data roaming services in 2012, toggle mobile, a travel SIM provider with a local network in Australia is warning that a lack of planning could lead to unexpected bills on return.
Milind Kangle, the CEO of toggle mobile, said:
“When you take into account the number of people on first and second year Working Holiday Visas in Australia, you have over 41,000 people who are vulnerable to high call and data roaming charges. Although this summer we have seen the EU successfully launch legislation to cap the amount networks can charge for data within its borders at €50 a month, this is irrelevant for those travelling outside the EU, or those making calls or sending texts.
“We have introduced toggle mobile this year, which allows users to have a UK number and up to eight other local numbers running simultaneously on their mobile phone. This is particularly useful in Australia, where we have our own local network operating. This allows us to charge significantly lower prices for call and data use, allowing you to pay local rates for the web, texts and phone calls. Unlike simply buying a local SIM card, users can also run a UK number simultaneously, which allows them to retain the local UK tariff alongside their Australian number.”
The toggle mobile network, which includes Australia, allows users to pay only 15p per MB for data use, compared to £6 per MB with O2.