Telstra is ditching international roaming on prepaid: Here are your options

If you’re a prepaid Telstra customer stuck overseas, you have until 13 October to switch.
Photograph of woman using smartphone while waiting at the airport

Telstra has announced that it will be removing international roaming features on its prepaid plans from 13 October 2020. That means any Telstra prepaid customer currently stuck abroad will no longer be able to make or receive calls and texts unless they take action before that date. Telstra has promised that prepaid roaming features will return until mid-2021, but in the meantime, prepaid customers need to seek out another solution.

It’s a dicey time for Telstra to pull the rug out from its prepaid customers stuck across the ditch. While any smartphone these days can still access the internet via a WiFi connection, there are many crucial, everyday Australian services that require an Australian phone number to operate: net banking being the most obvious example that comes to mind.

If you’re a prepaid Telstra customer living or stuck overseas, don’t fret. There are plenty of options that allow you to both keep your number and continue roaming until you return home. Just make sure you do it before the 13 October cut-off date (whatever that is for your timezone).

Upgrade from Telstra prepaid to Telstra postpaid SIM-only

The quickest and easiest solution would be to upgrade your existing prepaid service to a Telstra postpaid SIM-only service. This means you’ll receive a bill (rather than recharge) but every Telstra SIM-only plan is available on a month-to-month arrangement (meaning you can switch again at any time). Upgrading from prepaid to postpaid can be done via Telstra’s website (just make sure to select the ‘Upgrade an existing service’ after you select a plan and have your existing mobile number ready to enter.

Telstra Prepaid to Postpaid

You’ll then have to choose your roaming option. You can either add on the $10-per-day Travel Pass, which gets you 200MB per day plus unlimited talk and text. Or you can opt for PAYG international roaming, where you’re only charged for what you used based on Telstra’s international roaming rate, which can be found here.

Here’s a quick glance at Telstra’s most popular SIM-only options.

Port your Telstra number to another provider

Every mobile provider in Australia will allow you to port your Telstra prepaid number. Meaning you can sign up for a new service, but retain your Telstra mobile number. There are plenty of prepaid providers that offer International Roaming packs, and postpaid options that offer some decent roaming deals, like Vodafone’s popular $5 per day deal (which lets you use all your inclusions, like data, calls and text, for an additional $5 per day).

Whichever provider you decide to go with, you just need to make sure you check the option to port your old number over. This will be phrased differently across different websites, but so long as you’re not requesting a new mobile number, you should be on the right track.

Here are a few popular prepaid plans that have options for international roaming options/add-ons.

And here are a few postpaid SIM-only providers with decent roaming offers.