Telstra Hikes Up Call Costs And Line Rental

Telstra's fixed line customers are set to be hit with higher line rental prices and call costs from October..

Image: Ed Dunens

If you're a home customer on a budget plan, the line connection fee will jump up $1, while customers on "selected other home phone plans" will jump $2.

Meanwhile, the call connection fee for timed calls to fixed lines, mobiles and international numbers will bump up either 5c or 6c per call to 55c (depending on your existing plan), while 13 number calls will jump 5c to 40c per call.

On the business side of things, BusinessLine PSTN and ISDN charges will also increase, with Telstra claiming that the "majority" of services will jump by $2 per month.

Telstra states that it will contact all affected customers by the end of July, pointing out any lower cost plans they could be eligible for.

Changes to our fixed phone plans in October [Telstra]


Comments

    Will this affect people that bundle with another ISP, didnt they just drop the price they charge ISPs for access or something now they up the prices on their dwindling POTS lines. The only people that actually use their landline for voice are probably people over 50, people who don't have a mobile or people whose mobiles are flat / lost / being repaired. Before Find my phone, the only reason id make a call on a land line was to locate my mobile.

      I wish I could get naked DLS where I live. We have a phone line (not through Telstra though) and never use it for calls. We don't even have a home phone in the house at all.

        Naked costs pretty much the same as full blown, but you get shafted if you have a line fault, which is why i have a full line (well im off net with iinet atm so i couldn't get it anyway, soon to be on net but ill still keep a phone line for that reason)

          Didn't know that! Either way, bring on the NBN. It's actually supposed to go live this year around my area.

            I'm not sure what experience tim has had, but it might be bad luck. Naked ADSL plans are typically around $10 more expensive than normal plans, while landline monthly fees are typically in the $25 range at the low end. $15 a month cheaper on a $60 service is a 25% difference.

            You don't get screwed by line faults either, the responsibility just shifts. Instead of you dealing with Telstra directly, you deal with your ISP and your ISP deals with Telstra. In my experience you actually get faster resolution via your ISP, since they have more pull and Telstra stands to lose a lot more if they put their wholesale customers offside than just another residential customer.

            Why can't you get naked ADSL, out of curiosity? I got the impression it was available almost everywhere landlines are available.

            Last edited 14/07/15 10:43 am

              They are legally required to give you quicker resolution for a voice phone line than they are for a data line, unless you're with a budget ISP and sign away those rights.

                That only applies at the consumer level. Telstra's corporate customers typically get faster resolution than either voice or data issues for residential customers. When I first worked with Telstra at a corporate level I was surprised just how drastically different their service levels are compared to residential.

                  12 business hrs vs 3-5 working days. Yeah, there's a marked difference.

                  Still used to have folks running a home business on a residential plan and demanding same-day fault resolution 'because I'm running a business' (and not paying corporate rates to get a corporate fault response time).

                  I'm skeptical about the voice vs data legal requirement, @dknigs. I'm pretty sure that the only time priorities are ever looked at is when it comes to the type of fault (ie: 'slow data speeds' is lower priority than a noisy line which is a lower priority than a completely dead line), and that's a type of fault that affects data more than voice, or 'Priority Assistance', which is specific to voice carriage, but only applies to people who request it and have life-threatening conditions. Maybe that's changed in the last 9yrs since I was involved? But back then, a fault is a fault is a fault and resolution time is about workflow and tech availability.

                  @transientmind One company I worked for a few years ago made nationwide use of Telstra's 3G/4G network for critical priority data. The SLA I saw had Telstra's resolution time at 90 minutes. Hell if I know how they were able to meet that level, but our type of usage meant any dropout longer than an hour could potentially cost millions of lost revenue and potential loss of life.

                @transientmind just had the inlaws home phone diverted to mobile at no cost, mobile calls all charged at landline rates, and 4G hotspot charges comped from Telstra because their voiceline was stuffed. Obviously, it helps when all your services are Telstra, rather than just the voice line when stuff like that happens.

              The wholesale ISP/Telstra direct fault resolution time is a nice theory and it's great when it works out (like when an ISP like iiNet hires its own techs to check the premises and are able to resolve internal wiring/easy MDF faults like being cabled/patched incorrectly), but for the most part, in 'real' faults, I'd say the opposite is true.

              Bigpond can log a fault with line techs able to fix and responsible for street/pillar/pit maintenance directly using the same systems that Consumer Faults do, but wholesale ISPs have to go through their own internal testing then submit their own tickets to that same area of Telstra that takes the consumer faults, meaning there's an extra layer between customer and tech, which is where delays always spring from. More people involved almost always equals more delays.

              Each person handling a job has a not-unreasonable expectation of some leeway between receiving the job in their queue and actioning it. Especially if you've waited a couple days for a wholesale tech just to confirm that it is actually a Telstra line fault that requires a Telstra tech, and now you have another couple days for that tech to go out. It gets worse if it's an auth/drop-out issue and Wholesale has to talk to service specialists in Telstra.

              That said, being on naked DSL shouldn't affect you for line faults unless your ISP is incompetent and hasn't registered it correctly or kept track of its number.

                I can only speak anecdotally, of course, but I've always had very fast fault resolution the few times I've had them with TPG naked, and the only friends I've known to have line faults have had similar experiences (also with TPG). A TPG tech did come out to check my most recent issue the day after I reported it and a Telstra tech was out the day after that to replace a section of degraded line between me and the exchange. Two day turnaround isn't bad.

                In comparison, the last time I had a landline with a data line fault, Telstra dicked around for two weeks before resolving it. The time before that, I had to get the TIO involved because Telstra decided it wasn't their problem. 5 weeks and a $45,000 fine later, Telstra decided that actually yes, it was a fault in their network and it was mysteriously fixed a day later.

                  Wow. I'd always thought it was really rare for Telstra to cop those kinds of fines. Telstra's TIO liaison officers from what I've seen have always bent over backwards even when the customer is a moron in the wrong, offering discounts/refunds JUST to avoid those kinds of fines.

                  Someone in service assurance must've been trying to 'put their foot down' over a jurisdictional/process issue and came off second-best.
                  Good for the TIO. Got a lot of faith in the ombudsman for that particular industry.

              Something to do with the exchange being out of iinet's area so we can't do naked. Or ADSL2 which sucks. The main reason I wanted naked was that it was heaps cheaper. Why pay extra for a landline that I am not using?

              The whole thing about having a voice line means nothing. For about a year there was serious noise on the line from time to time which would cause our internet service to die until the modem/router was restarted. We went through every possible solution that could be our fault (different devices, different cables, different outlets/sockets etc).

              It got passed up to Telstra multiple times and it kept coming back as 'no faults' which is total bullshit. I know this because there was a technician in our cul de sac trying to locate it at one point (I went and had a chat to him about he told me as such).

              Calling Telstra got me nowhere because I was not a customer of them.

              Anyway, the NBN cable is now at the end of my driveway and should be hooked up to the house in the coming months.

              Naked required the ISP to have their own dslams, im in off-net area (no iiNet dslams) so no can do.

              I could be wrong about the line fault (only what ive read about on whingepool) so i should have said you supposedly get shafted (longer wait times for fault resolution), i have had numerous line faults here (made easier to tell if its a line fault or internet fault by checking for presence of dial tone), they often take over a week to get fixed (telstra's response time), i read that Telstra gave lower priority to those who didnt have voice on the line. I don't know if its still an issue but in the early days of naked, stupid techs would supposedly steal naked dsl lines as they didn't have dial tones.

              Why can't you get Naked DLS you ask? Simple, you live in a suburb with only Telstra gear in the exchange. I live in a suburb in Sydney where no other ISP gives a damn and we are shit out of luck. Get screwed on broadband prices and to rub salt into the wounds our suburb has now been removed completely from the NBN timetable.

      Probably not. They can change PTSN pricing at will because these services aren't contracted. Bundles generally are and use a totally different pricing structure for fixed line calls.

    Out of curiosity, when's the last time they raised prices? 1-2 dollars doesn't seem like as much of a 'hike' as an adjustment for inflation. From what I remember of working at Telstra in the 00s, they typically only increased line rentals every 3-5yrs, and even then, roughly to match CPI.

    Don't get me wrong, I dislike the company and its 'premium' pricing being based on brand alone, and its behaviour as an employer is reprehensible; there's a reason I left. But I usually prefer to call bad behaviour out when it's actually bad... It's a shame the press release doesn't justify it with anything more specific than PR fluff.

    ...

    Research later... Hm, it does seems like it might just be 'bad' (greedy, anyway - 'but businesses are meant to make money!' duh etc) behaviour on the surface.

    The last price increase was apparently Nov14, a little over eight months ago, by about the same increase.
    ABS has the CPI increase as 1.3 in the last year, but that's a little misleading. That increase is the average across all industries. Alcohol and tobacco's increase was 5.2. Communications was NEGATIVE 4.5 in the last year. Sooo... the price should've probably stayed the same or gone down? The increase in pricing this year seems to be around 4%.

    Seems the last price hike was justified with explanations that the decline in land-line use had started to taper off and stabilize, allowing them to better gauge the appropriate cost for infrastructure maintenance. I wonder what the excuse is this time? 'We need a quick profit boost to make the CEO look good before he jumps ship'?

    It's difficult to see 'lower network use = higher maintenance cost' on a per-user basis, but this may actually be a valid reason given that maintenance doesn't only occur on individual user premises but in the street - exchange & pillar, where it doesn't matter if you have one user in the street or fifty.

    A shrinking land-line customer base means the cost to support the street remains the same but could mean you have fewer people paying for it. Because it's not a public utility anymore, it's a private business. :P

      The CPI influence on prices is meant to be based on the consumer, not the company. That's why the average is typically used at companies that use CPI to justify price increases (and pay rises). Still, as you say, the increase is much higher than CPI if you look at the last 12 months, but I wonder if you look at the last 5 years if it's still high. I guess part of the problem with increasing rates infrequently or irregularly is that sometimes it's going to look like a high spike in a short duration when over time it's a pretty smooth curve.

        Right, so communications cost consumers less overall... but Telstra's prices rose? It's difficult to make sense of. Typically my understanding of rising consumer costs is rising industry wages and vice-versa in an endless cycle of catch-up, but if Telstra was increasing prices when everyone else was decreasing them, why is that? Tech wages?

          As you mentioned in your earlier post, Telstra is in a bit of a unique position at the moment, one they haven't been in at any point in their history. Landline customers are declining, their infrastructure is being acquired, but they still have to maintain everything regardless.

          In a sense it's similar to what's been happening with Australia Post, where the number of customers has declined to the point where the whole organisation is running at a loss and the only way to try to recoup expenses is to raise stamp prices, do mail deliveries less frequently, or a combination of both.

          The difference, of course, is one is a publicly traded company, the other is a government-owned corporation. The government can justify AusPost running deficit because it's a service funded in part by taxes, but Telstra is at the whim of its shareholders and shareholders don't like declining or negative net profits.

            In a sense it's similar to what's been happening with Australia Post, where the number of customers has declined to the point where the whole organisation is running at a loss and the only way to try to recoup expenses is to raise stamp prices, do mail deliveries less frequently, or a combination of both.

            There's one more thing AusPost can try: revert the post offices back into being post offices instead of like a small scale Coles and Woolies with them selling chocolate, toys, SD cards etc. But that's just me be old fashioned.

            There is also their borderline unethical habit of hiring sub-par contractors to do delivery in some areas. It's so bad for me I've ditched them for courier as I don't have the time to liaise with senders so lost post investigations can be launched. It doesn't help either that the head of AusPost is getting million dollar bonuses.

            Last edited 18/07/15 7:22 am

              Adding the sale of other items was one of the early moves to avoid sinking further into deficit. At least while those are being sold there's some actual profitable income partially counteracting their service costs, if you were to remove them the deficit would just grow larger.

              CEO bonuses are something that's always been and probably always will be contentious. There is logical justification behind large CEO bonuses that isn't just executives padding their own pay packets, but it still seems excessive compared to what (I assume) you and I get for our own hard work.

              It's tempting to point the finger at Fahour's bonus or large scale mismanagement, but the reality is the internet killed the physical mail business and even if you paid the whole leadership $0 it'd still be in the red. I haven't received a letter from anyone in months, I only get junk mail in my letterbox these days. Diversification, service reduction and government funding are really the only three weapons AusPost has left to stay operational.

                It's not just letters. I once ordered something from a warehouse which was 1 to 2 hours from where I was located. After a week, I had to report the undelivery to the sender as even though it was a AusPost tracked package, they (AusPost) had no information on where is was and it took two days of investigation to declare it lost.

                That and coupled with frequent damage of other parcels both local and from overseas purchases I finally decided to use a courier where I can.

                The Internet did no such thing to Australia Post's current sub-par state. Australia Post did it to itself. The reason why letters are dropping is because AusPost no longer puts the effort in even for that to ensure they are delivered properly.

                Heck, I was once asked to sign for a registered later and the person who was delivering it could barely speak English and didn't even pronounce my mother's name right and it was only by sheer luck I asked "did you mean...?" that he said yes and when I said that is no how it's pronounce he responded with "That's how those letters are said in my country."

                AusPost has a lot to answer for but I'm drifting to far from this discussion. Long story short, Australia post, is only Australia in name and nothing else and seriously needs to look at itself when the performance is below acceptable expectations yet Fahour pockets more than the Prime Minister.

                AusPost doesn't need to diversify. It needs to revert to being a postal service and adapt to the times.

                Last edited 18/07/15 5:23 pm

                  I respect that you disagree, but it's well documented that the decline of traditional mail, combined with regulatory requirements to maintain delivery schedule and pricing are the primary causes of Australia Post's current financial situation.

                  I didn't say the internet had anything to do with Australia Post's quality of service, I said the internet is responsible for much of the decline in physical mail. This is easily seen in the trend for companies to prefer email bill delivery and electronic payments, often now charging extra if the customer wants to continue to receive physical mail. The loss of corporate business in this respect is massive, stamped mail volume has declined 24% in the last 6 years alone.

                  I think you might be underestimating how much letter volumes contributed to Australia Post's profit. Parcel delivery has never been a big factor in AusPost's profit lines because the margins on parcel delivery are extremely low. AusPost's parcel service has been growing consistently for years at about the same rate as courier growth, but it's not enough to offset the increasing losses incurred from mail delivery.

                  Boston Consulting Group was hired by the government in 2013 to conduct a study into Australia Post's operations. Their results showed that in that year, only the combined amount of parcel and retail profits offset the losses from mail delivery. If it weren't for retail income, losses would have been around 20% worse.

                  Based on the rate of decline of mail delivery in Australia, BCG predicted that by 2018, even with parcel profits doubling, the combined profits of parcel and retail areas would only offset 60% of the losses from mail delivery and the remaining 40% would account for outright losses. Their recommendations on the correct way forward was what I described above - delivery times need to be reduced to three days a week (service reduction), and stamp prices need to be increased in the range of 40-50%. Neither of those things can be done while the current regulations are in place.

                  Diversification has been long recognised as the only choice for Australia Post's future. Bob Chizzoniti, the head of POAAL (an association of post operators and contractors who are not employed by AusPost) said earlier this year:

                  Australia Post’s entire operations need to be reassessed to take into account the needs of 21st century Australian society. While the post office network may have been founded on letter delivery, its future lies in having diversified income sources with potential for growth.

                  This fits with the trend happening worldwide of postal agencies moving into logistics and other markets to ensure income diversification.

                  I understand that you're unhappy with the quality of Australia Post's parcel service. I don't use them either. But the quality of the service isn't what got them into financial trouble, it's the other way around - the financial trouble they've been experiencing over the last 15 years is what has led to drops in quality. Staff are underpaid, layoffs push extra work onto other people, there's neither the incentive nor the compensation to work at quality levels. The scale of the losses AusPost makes in its mail delivery area aren't something you can just offset by paying the board less money. Like I said above, you can pay the whole board nothing and they'd still be making a loss, and would still be facing a long downhill slope ahead with no sign of an end.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now