Here’s How Telstra Is Putting Up Call Prices

Here’s How Telstra Is Putting Up Call Prices
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If you have a landline phone with Telstra, you’ll be paying more for most of your calls from January 1 2014. Call connection fees, local call costs and per-minute rates are all on the rise.

Picture: Getty Images

These are the key changes Telstra is introducing across its home phone plans, which are all being rebranded with names beginning with ‘Voice’:

  • Call connection fees will rise from 45 cents to 49 cents.
  • The per-minute rate on Plus and Advantage will rise to 25 cents.
  • Local calls will rise in cost to 22 cents on Plus and Advantage plans.

Telstra caps these costs even on its cheapest plans, but what that means is that short calls are expensive. On the $35.95/month Plus plan — which will have the rates listed above — listed above, calls to national numbers are capped at $2 per call for 20 minutes between 7am and 7pm, and at $2 for three hours between 7pm and 7am. Merely making a call will therefore cost you 74 cents; a six-minute call will cost the same as a 20-minute call.

As ever, many of those options are cheaper if you sign up for a bundled plan or a more expensive deal that includes more credit — but that in turn makes it less likely that you’ll switch, even if call costs are overpriced.

We always recommend assessing how you actually use your phone and paying accordingly. In an era where you can easily score unlimited calls in Australia on a sub-$40 mobile plan, paying $35.95 for a landline and then 25 cents per minute for a call seems quite foolish.

Telstra announces changes to fixed line call prices and new plan names [Telstra Exchange]


  • Clearly trying very hard to kill their phone business. Why would anyone need or even want to pay these landline charges when there are so many other cheaper options that work just as well? I live in a Telstra-free zone, and hope to keep it that way.

    • Mainly because at this point to my knowledge Telstra does not offer Naked DSL. In areas such as Forest Lake in Brisbane where I live, Telstra has a strangle hold on the area, as no other company can get in to give you anything but 8mb dsl1. Telstra however can give you high speed DSL2+. So you have to get the phoneline + the modem + the expensive bill just to get DSL 🙁

      I’d get cable but there’s no phonelines here.

      • The real question is why haven’t other carriers bothered to install equipment at the local exchange to service you? and the simple answer is that they don’t deem it profitable. In other words without Telstra providing services to an unprofitable area you wouldn’t have any access.

        It costs about $250K to install a DSLAM in an exchange and carriers have been doing this for years, they have all put these on hold due to the NBN, So if you want to blame someone, blame the NBN for stalling investment in new infrastructure. No one talks about this because we are all blinded by 100mb and no Telstra, well unintended consequences are many.

        • Much more complex than that; in many cases exchanges were deemed “full”, so competing carriers couldn’t install gear even if they wanted to.

        • Why would I blame the NBN when this issue has existed long before the NBN was even a theoretical possibility on paper for anyone???

          • The issue is fairly straight forward from a business perspective, as a company you have $X in capital you can spend, you look at where you get your best $ returns first and then look at the brand impacts. Some companies will choose to invest in unprofitable areas if they believe the Brand impacts warrant it, Telstra obviously does in your situation as they are not bound by any legislation to provide you ADSL2.

            The issue of the “full” exchanges is a red herring, this was addressed many years ago and companies can approach the government to force Telstra to open their exchanges, given that Telstra has deployed ADSL2 in this exchange I don’t believe that space is the reason no one has invested the money to upgrade.

            The NBN looked at in isolation is not the blame but bare with me here. As a carrier I will deploy new DSLAMS etc where I can get the fastest return and market share, as I get returns from these services I am then looking at how I can continue to satisfy the quarter on quarter growth targets the market and investors expect of me. Now with NBN coming in I am not going to invest capital in something that may be decommissioned before I get a decent return, also as a post GFC lender (most of these investments are funded by debt) I am more reluctant to invest in an uncertain future.

          • Don’t share your confidence in the exchange issue at all. Telstra’s control of them remained a point of complaint right up to when the NBN was announced and beyond, and Telstra itself has exchanges where no ports are free.

          • The issue of ports looks at companies reselling Telstra DSL services not with physical capacity in the actual exchange, people do get the two confused and I understand that. Capacity at exchanges has been freed up a lot over the last 5 years as older exchange hardware has been upgraded.

            It’s a point of contention but like all media battles has been overblown.

            We can say a lot of things about Telstra but at the end of the day we need to back it facts and not paint a whole picture from a few dots on a page.

          • I think you missed the forest through the trees entirely.

            The issue has existed LONG before the NBN became a possibility in Australia. The issue has existed for 10+ years. NBN has only been a catchname for what, 3? Maybe 4? It would be useless blaming it for this situation, the idea of blaming the NBN would just be a case of uselessly shifting blame. Sorry but I don’t share that idea with you.

          • I’m not saying NBN is the only issue, it is part of the current day problems. The issues have evolved and changed since ADSL2 was first offered 8 years ago. Blaming one thing fits nicely into our tabloid view of the world but misses a lot of points.

            I stand by my opinion that the reason you don’t have more carriers offering you ADSL2 is that the returns are too low. This is always an issue and to blame someone for that is ridiculous, I could easily say that it is your fault for living in a marginal area but again that’s dumb.

            I would like to know why you think you don’t have competitors in your area?

          • They were given the option to buy into the area around 8 years or so ago and passed up on the opportunity at the time. Telstra gave them the option, they passed up. They have to link through a Rim to get through to us, which means they get reduced speed etc. I know exactly why they didn’t and it was because it wasn’t financially viable to invest in an area like Forest Lake where the population being so low meant the return wasn’t worth it at the time. Alas it still isn’t. As far as NBN goes, Forest Lake isn’t even on the plans to GET NBN in the foreseeable future, so that’s in itself a moot point.

    • We switched to NodeLine (Internode) years ago and haven’t looked back.

      Only our mobile phones use Telstra these days.

  • After 20 years and almost $50,000 donated to the Telstra charity, it’s time to pull the plug. I remember when they charged me $1 a minute for international calls, and $70+ for 3GB on cable (uploads and downloads). There’s not one thing they offer now that can’t be replaced at a substantial saving. How long before this state-sponsored communications ponzi scheme falls over?

  • I have a Telstra landline on the cheapest plan (no included calls). I think I make about $2 worth of calls every six months. Can’t wait for NBN so I can ditch it.

    • …the NBN that Telstra desperately hates, feels threatened by and are doing their damnedest to kill– that NBN??

      • The one being installed in my suburb currently, that at this stage all in progress works are being complete? That one :D.

        Funny thing is, 6 months ago Telstra looked like the best deal for NBN, not sure if they’ve become more expensive or iinet cheaper, but I’d be switching to iinet now.

  • Didn’t Telstra raise some of these prices a while back to what’s stated here? =/

    Now the real question about all of this is, if they change these prices on us to a higher price without us resigning a contract is our contract with them void and we could then tell them to go stick it and get out of it free of any charged?

    • They’ve had clauses in their contracts to change them at any time for at least 15 years now. My grandfather was on a legacy Optus plan for years which they couldn’t change on him, they’d continually try and convince him to change plans but for everything except data the newer plans were a worse deal.

      • Yeah, our friends in Camp Hill, in their old house have been on the same cable internet plan since 1998 or so, 100% unlimited when it first came out and still is. They pay 100 dollars a month. We even had it, phoneline + cable = unlimited downloads at 10/100 speeds. Unbelievable deal, it was a limited time thing they had back in the late 90s. However since then Optus try and try and try but they can’t get them to resign a new deal. Why the hell WOULD you????

        • He was on a $20 plan with $20 worth of included calls, no flagfall and the call / SMS rates were about half what they are these days. Data was shocking, as you’d expect on a 15 year old plan, but I just set his phone to data on wifi only. Unfortunately he moved house and had terrible optus reception at the new one, so they convinced him to get one of those in home “hotspot” things and that it wouldn’t change his plan. They did however change his plan, and then refused to change him back so he moved everything over to iinet after being an Optus customer since they launched in Aus.

  • I can see the board meeting now:

    “Well we need to increase our profits. Any ideas?”
    “Well we could offer more competitive services and increase efficiency”
    *roar of laughter*
    “Seriously guys, let’s just jack up the price”

    • They rely on a huge number of people who just won’t change. My parents pay a huge amount for their Telstra land line and then have ADSL from Internode on top. They complain about how much it is, and complain about every price rise. But will they take advice? Nope. For half what they pay, I get a big Optus cable plan and reliable VoIP. Basically, Telstra rely on fear of change, lack of knowledge of the alternatives, and complacency. Most people could drastically reduce their phone bills, and it is often possible to transfer the land line number to a VoIP provider. Everyone I try to convince wishes they paid as little as I do for so much, but they just won’t change.

  • Unfortunately, some of us cannot ditch our landline because we need it for ADSL. Naked DSL is not available here as our exchange is Telstra-only. We pay $22.95 per month for Homeline Budget just so we can have ADSL. All our calls are made via VoIP. We would have to be mad to pay the ridiculous rates Telstra charges.

    • Yep and I’d say it far from a timy minority. My exchange is solely Helstra equipment. I have to pay far higher fraudband charges for Internode’s plans and have no access to things like Naked DSL. I don’t however, use Helstra for my phone having switched to a bundled Internode plan.

  • With unlimited calls on all but the cheapest bundle plans, who pays for calls these days anyway?

    For most customers I would have guessed calls are essentially no cost.

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