haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

I bought a prepaid Telstra SIM for my father who is in Melbourne, and need to call my grandmother daily in China, it has been working until the 21st of Sep when it was the mid-Autumn festival, on that day when he called the Chinese number he got a voice saying: "the number you have dialed isn't available from this service".

 

We checked a few things, there's no change in Settings, also tried restarting iOS, taking the SIM out and putting it back in, turning of WIFI, the issue persists; I contacted Telstra via online chat, was redirected a few times, and was told someone would look into the issue, but so far the issue is still not resolved. We live apart in different locations around Melbourne, and this really makes it hard for my father who can't travel back to China and hasn't been in contact with his mother for more than a week, which makes him very upset.

 

A new billing cycle has started and the issue is still there.

 

I don't know who can help?

 

I asked him to record it when he makes the call, uploaded the video to Dropbox:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ze2do8t5pfvh2b7/Zone1Call.mp4?dl=0

 

 

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29 REPLIES 29
Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Until Telstra Support work out what the problem is, your father could use the FaceTime app to make a call to his mother if she has an iPhone. He should be sure that it’s an audio call to minimise data usage (unless he’s using free WiFi).

haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Thanks, unfortunately, my grandmother's using a special phone that has super large text and very loud audio, made for elder people, she doesn't use a computer either, so the regular phone call is the only way to connect.

Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

If Telstra Support cannot assist you, you could lodge a complaint.

haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Thanks for the suggestion, I'm not sure how would that solve the problem, will it get more attention from Telstra or something? It sounds ridiculous that a customer has to raise a complaint in order to get enough attention to fix a problem. I'm considering switching to some other companies, it's been almost two weeks and my father's really worried, we leave in different locations around Melbourne and can't meet due to the travel limit, I have to call my grandmother and let her know we are all OK which makes her more worried that if something happened to my father.

Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Lodging a complaint usually does result in more attention, however it could be 5 business days before a case manager is assigned and contacts the complainant.

 

Given the  situation, I suggest that you try contacting Telstra Support again via the online chat (over the weekend).  Ask for reference numbers, and mention that you could be lodging a complaint.

 

Then (if the issue is not resolved) on Monday morning you could call Support on 132200 (9am - 8pm AEST Weekdays) and speak to one of the personnel.

 

By the way, it could be handy to try the SIM card in another phone just to ensure that the mobile network is at fault.

haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Thanks a lot for the explanation! I'll ask him to try another phone, from memory he does have a backup phone.

haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Well, just called him, he did try it and it didn't work 😞

JoJoH
Support Team
Support Team

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

China is included in the zone 1 destinations. https://www.telstra.com.au/help/critical-information-summaries/personal/pre-paid/prepaid-mobile/tels...

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Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

I thought the same thing, which implies that the user is probably doing $40 recharges (to attain 500 minutes of calls to China).

haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Yes it is, that's something we made sure before buying the prepaid SIM as it's the main purpose, and there is more than enough minutes left.

 

Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Thank you for that information.

 

Is the phone in question able to call any numbers in China?.

haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Good question, I did ask my father to call a few numbers, it turns out that it works for some provinces but not working for others, however, based on the voice that "the number you've dialled isn't available from this service", it feels like something that Telstra is filtering, like calling a number that's not in the 500 minutes countries list.

Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Are you able to dial exactly the same number (for your grandmother) using your phone?.

haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Yes I can call her number without problem, I'm using the $30 prepaid package while my father uses $40 one, all managed under my account, so there shouldn't be any difference in terms of what countries are included.

Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

It’s a n interesting problem (though frustrating for your father).

Please call the 132200 number as I described previously.

haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

I haven't got any update so far, so I contacted Telstra and this is what they found:

 

 

It's more confusing now, I'm located in Australia, calling a Chinese number, is this considered as international roaming? Even if it is, it has been working for a few month until 21st of Sep, and why they promote the 500 minutes international call for prepaid SIM if it no longer exist since Oct, 2020?

Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

The Telstra consultant that you dealt with has a poor command of English and Telstra policies.

International Roaming was indeed removed from Prepaid mobile services, just as VoWiFi functionality was also removed.

 

As you correctly realised, none of that is relevant to a Prepaid mobile service making an international call from within Australia.

Jupiter
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Are you and your father both on the current range of PrePaid plans, or are you on one of the older plans?

If you are on an older plan, then your mobile will be running through a different management system than your father's (Telstra are migrating all PrePaids to a new system at the moment and your father will be on the new system).

 

That could explain the difference in call behaviour between his phone and yours. Doesn't help with solving the problem though. I would be lodging it as a formal complaint to get it investigated properly. https://telstra.com/complaints

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Further to my previous suggestion that you call 132200, you could alternatively have a Telstra Support person call you.

 

In the My Telstra app -> Get help -> Speak with us section, describe the issue and you should receive a phone call from a consultant.

haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Thanks, I'm not sure if we are on newer and older plans, I bought the two SIM packs roughly at the same time.

haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Thanks, I did try to reach them via the app's chat feature and they arranged a technician to call me within 24 hours, but I have to follow up with them to find out why I didn't get any call.

haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Some update:

After several days of talking to Telstra complaint staff (trying various things and update the result next day), in the end I was asked to buy a new SIM to replace my father's existing SIM, after receiving the SIM, I found the activation doesn't work. But still there's a question: how do I replace a SIM with a new one keeping the same number when the current SIM is already with Telstra? Does the system just work?

Jupiter
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

They're having issues with the new PrePaid activation and recharge system.

 

But, once you get it activated, you then call and ask them to transfer the existing number to the new SIM. Apparently the new system allows them to do that (the old system didn't, they used to have to send you a blank SIM).

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Thanks for the info!

Do you mean when I activate, I need to choose a new number, then call Telstra to port the old number onto the new sim so the new number will go away, or can I simply choose to keep my number (although it's already with Telstra)?

Jupiter
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

The PrePaid SIM comes with its own number, so you shouldn't get the option to choose the number (unless they've changed it recently so that you can).

 

You then call Telstra and ask them to move the old number to the new SIM.

 

Had an idea with someone who is having problems calling China from a landline. Is your Dad's service sending it's caller id when he makes a call? If not, try putting *31# before the chinese number and see if that works. China may be blocking calls that aren't sending their caller id.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Thanks, we double checked and caller ID isn't hidden. The activation website seems to be working now, I can choose a new number or keep my current number, keeping current number sounds like a better option because I don't need to call Telstra again to switch the sim, but I'm not sure if the system is smart enough if both numbers are with Telstra.

haozhexu
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Just tried it, when I choose to keep current number, clicking Next button takes me to a blank page, I guess this is the Telstra way of telling me the system can't handle it, so I went back and chose to have a new number, then I could proceed to next step asking me to select a recharge, I guess I need to pay this and ask for a refund when I call Telstra to port the old number onto the new device.

 

It's such an unpleasant journey that took me more than a month so far, I was frequently given false information by Telstra, the last call from complain staff told me I can only activate the SIM at a physical store.

misslisa
Support Team
Support Team

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

Hi Haozhexu,

 

Have you tried giving us a call on 132200 or speaking with us via the MyTelstra app to take a look at this further for you? 

 

- Lisa

Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Pre-paid SIM with 500 international call minutes cannot call Chinese numbers

“the last call from complain staff told me I can only activate the SIM at a physical store.“

 

That consultant is incorrect. As Jupiter said, the number transfer to your new SIM card can be done either by contacting Telstra Support.

 

By the way, if you put credit on the new SIM card, does it allow calls to China?.

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