Local Call Charges Locked At 22 Cents (But You're Mad If You Pay That)

The government has extended the period in which Telstra can't charge more than 22 cents for untimed local calls until June 2014. Pensioners might think that's good news, but in reality paying 22 cents for a local call means you're almost certainly not getting a good deal. Here are five ways you could spend less to make calls:

Picture by Karolina Kabat

The idea that you can pay just 22 cents and talk as long as you like sounds comforting if you don't think about it hard, but in reality it only really makes sense if you make frequent lengthy calls and never call outside your area code. You'll still be paying line rental, and your rates for making long-distance and mobile calls will probably be higher. Other tactics can make more sense:

  • Many higher-value phone plans and bundles include unlimited local calls. The monthly charge might look high, but if you really do make lots of local calls, this could actually prove cheaper in the long run.
  • If you sign up with any kind of voice-over-IP service, you'll often pay much lower fees for local calls. Most services offer free calls to other customers on the same network; those that don't typically charge 10 cents or less on the same network; and many have plans with a fixed monthly fee which offer unlimited untimed calls to any number on the landline network, not just those in your local area.
  • You can get unlimited call deals on many mobile phone services, both contract and prepaid. Not only do these offer free local calls, they also let you call other mobile services cheaper.
  • Mobile providers often have free calls to other customers on the same network on prepaid plans. If you only call a handful of numbers (say family members), getting everyone on the same network could save lots of money.
  • If you can call other people on Skype, Facetime, Google Chat or other IM services, you won't pay anything at all.

What other call-saving tactics do you adopt? Share your thoughts in the comments.


    You know whats a bloody good deal? Exetel's $49/month business plan (requires an ABN)


    B31, $49/month for a phone line, unlimited ADSL2+ (with all the bells and whistles like web hosting, email, a block of 6 static IP addresses, etcetc) and free Local, National and calls to Optus Mobiles

    Why bother with VOIP when you can get that sort of deal? Crazy times.

      That's actually pretty good IMO, thought you were spamming but that's actually rather helpful.

      Yeah this seems like an awesome deal... too bad its in optus ADSL2 exchanges only

    Wonder how they get away with http://www.telstra.com.au/home-phone/plans-rates-connections/homeline-budget/ then - openly advertising that they charge 30ยข per local call on their budget plan.

    Senator Conroy even specifically mentions the $22.95 plan, but that plan doesn't seem to conform to the requirement...

      Must include the connection fee... if you notice the 45c connection fee is for (for timed STD, mobile and international calls) not local... so the 30c includes a connection fee of at least 8c... easy to get around!

    You guys pay for local calls? In NZ local calls are free!

      String and paper cups are cheap I suppose.

    I have that Telstra budget plan with 30c calls, but as I rarely make calls, my total bill never exceeds $25, so it suits me just fine.

    Who makes LAN Line phone calls anymore?

      I've never made a LAN line call - I guess the fact you call it that is a pretty good indication you haven't made a land line call in sometime!

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