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New Contributor
New Contributor

Roaming data warning system is not fit for purpose


Wanted to test who else considers the Optus roaming data usage alert sysstem NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE.

I have a plan that includes 3Gb of roaming data to many countries (Optus call it Zone 1).

I went to the UK for 5 days.

I didn't sign up for any capping of charges as I had 3Gb for 5 days, and normally use about 5Gb a month.

I used my phone's hotspot feature to connect my new laptop to the internet in the UK, to download a few episodes of stuff on Netflix for the flight back to Oz.

I had reset my mobile data counter in the phone's operating system to keep an eye on my data usage.

Un-beknown to me, in the background, my Microsoft OneDrive and Google Docs were syncing files!

You can tell where this is going.

Data flows very fast over 4G mobile networks.

My Netflix download was proceeding slowly I reckoned and out of the corner of my eye I see the OneDrive sync circle turning. 

I panic, check my data usage reading...over 4Gb has been consumed.

BIG PANIC. I kill the hotspot. I call Optus, tell them what happened and instruct them to kill international data roaming.

This is the bit where I suggest their solution design is not fit for (the consumer's!) purpose:

7.01pm I reckon I started using data.

7.15pm I reckon the OneDrive disaster is discovered, and I call Optus.

7.28pm I get a text confirming the change to my account settings by customer services.

7.41pm I get a 50% data usage text warning.

7.51pm I get a $2250 roaming data charges warning.

7.51pm I get a 100% data usage text warning.

The text messages state there could have been a delay in receiving them.


The system is therefor not fit for purpose for three reasons:

1) How can I incur a charge between the 50% and 100% warnings?

2) Adding the disclaimer about a possible delay is an admission that the solution is not fit for purpose

3) There should be an automated cap on all accounts or an opt-in for a lump sum, say $100 which the customer has to keep opting into when it is used up.


5G networks are around the corner. They will apparently be able to transmit data ONE THOUSAND times faster than 4G.

Up to 10 Gb per second.

My entire 5Gb OneDrive would have been downloaded in half a second, in error, and cost THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.


This $2250 honest mistake is almost the equivalent of the entire 2-year plan costs, which I chose so there are no extra charges as I am on a tight budget with my phone being the only luxury.


Am I alone in thinking a repeated $$$ opt-in system is a design that is fit for purpose?


2 Replies
Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor

Re: Roaming data warning system is not fit for purpose

Agree 100% that the Optus model is definitely not fit foir purpose. They recently got fined the max ($10 million) by the ACCC for exposing their customers to unwanted charges without providing even the simplest controls (Premium SMS scam). They still charge $10 per Gb for Excess Usage fines in an era when phones can consume 100 times that in a matter of minutes. There is no provision to opt out of optus providing unlimited top ups. Similarly overseas roaming fees (long a treacherous place to go) have few timely  controls and huge exposure to $$$. In this day and age I would never trust Optus to "have my back" while travelling and only buy a local prepaid SIM to maximise data and minimise cost. 


I would refute the charges hopefully Optus will agree.


Peter Gillespie

Occasional Contributor
Occasional Contributor

Re: Roaming data warning system is not fit for purpose

It is an utter joke. I was previously with Vodafone, and their international roaming system is much better and fairer: use your phone as you would in Australia for $5 / day and timely notifications if there is excessive usage. I think Optus’ international roaming service borders on constituting unconscionable conduct.