Cheaper mobile roaming for Singapore and Brunei users

September 10th, 2014 | by Alfred Siew

 

Mobile phone users in Singapore and Brunei will get to call, SMS and go online more cheaply when they travel to either country from January 1, 2015, after an agreement was reached to cut such international roaming charges.

While overseas, users can expect to pay 10 per cent less for voice calls and up to 50 per cent less for SMSes, video calls and Internet data usage, said Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority today.

The deal is the first major breakthrough for ASEAN, after the regional grouping committed to cutting such roaming rates in 2011. Earlier this year, the European Union slashed roaming rates by as much as half, and they may be removed altogether in the trading bloc by December 2015.

Bill shock has been a recurring complaint of many consumers worldwide, who have ratcheted up costs of hundreds or even thousands of dollars unwittingly when their phones go online to fetch e-mail or Facebook updates while they are overseas.

In Singapore, pressure from consumers has pushed telcos to automatically send SMSes to warn them of their roaming usage. They can now set daily limits, say, of S$20, to avoid huge bills.

The IDA said the actual cost savings for Singapore users would vary among telecom operators.

For Singapore users travelling to Brunei, it currently costs between S$3.20 and S$4.40 to call home at regular rates, while an SMS costs either 60 or 70 Singapore cents to send while overseas.

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