Life on the Road doesn't require much in the way of possessions, however one of the really important things for us is communication with our family and friends.
We chose Telstra because they have the best coverage throughout this big red continent.
To make this easy, we needed a mobile phone each, with as much data as possible and the lowest price. We also needed to be able to phone and text New Zealand frequently.
That was the brief we took to Telstra's Head Office in Melbourne when we came over on our trip to check out caravans and motorhomes. As we were only here for nine days, it was recommended we begin with a prepaid package, with an add on $10 International package.
This way we got our phone numbers prior to our move, we could communicate with each other on the odd time we became separated and we could keep in touch with our family in New Zealand.
When we came back to live in April 2017 we stayed in Geelong as this was the base we were picking up our motorhome from. The first thing we did was visit the Geelong Telstra. They could set us up with our package, but they couldn't set us up for a $10 free calling to New Zealand, that package doesn't exist. So I knew I'd be up for paying for any toll calls. That meant I could only phone occaisionally, but I figured apart from my Mum, I could text everyone else, so no drama.
Well think again! Texts to New Zealand were .50cents each. And we text like a conversation, ping ponging backwards and forwards. The result - $159 phone bill. What the heck? By the time we had the account, I'd clocked up another $181. All in texts and a couple of phone calls. Now the phone calls I was happy to pay, but the texts were a different story altogether.
I should have checked my bills as I went you say? Any idiot would have done that, right. Well I did check my bills. I knew I had free calling in Australia, limited to $1,000. There was a note on the account that said discount hadn't been applied yet. Now I'm dealing with a different country, a different Telco. I thought that the way they laid out there account was so that you could keep track up to the $1,000 limit. Made sense to me.
Eventually after multiple phone calls to the customer help line, and preparing my case for the ombudsman, I ended up with a Service Manager in Sydney who not only credited back the text messaging costs, he credited back the toll calls as well. He then added the $10 package for free calling to, not just New Zealand, but twelve countries.
The package we've ended up with is a joint package. My phone is $50 with 5GB of data, free international calling $10 and Mr S has an add on package with 3GB of shared data plus $300 worth of Australian phone calls and texts. We can share the data between both phones so we don't need to worry about using this phone or that phone.
Phew, that took hours to get set up and operating. Countless phone calls. We needed to have an Australian address. Because we were staying at the apartments we had booked into, we were able to use the address for there. When we arrived back to set up the full account, we needed to have an Australian address. Fortunately we had a friend willing to have our mail sent to him.
Our accounts are set up to come to us electronically. We have only had a couple of times when we didn't have cellphone coverage, so on the whole we've been reasonably happy with our set up.
To do the set up we needed: Passports, Drivers License, Australian Address proof (Accommodation receipt) and we had to pay $300 in advance on our account.