Telstra is known to charge its customers more for its telecommunications services and has been getting away with it by being the "premium" provider. The telco boasted reliable services and excellent coverage across Australia, often being the only provider of mobile phone or internet that can service remote areas. But with the recent string of network outages, can Telstra continue to charge more for its services? Just how much more are Telstra customers forking out? Consumer group Choice has done an extensive pricing comparison. Read on to find out.
In the past few months, Telstra's mobile and broadband services have experienced a number of outages, outraging customers. The company has been forced to offer free data days and credits to apologise. But is that really enough?
Telstra is the most expensive telecommunications provider in Australia, but the company could afford to charge more because it was offering quality services. But despite committing $250 million to fortify its telecommunications networks against further issues, there were a few more outages that have occurred since then.
Speaking to ABC News, consumer advocacy group Choice is encouraging Telstra customers to request to break their fixed contracts with the telco. Choice spokesperson Tom Godfrey said:
"There's only so much free data Telstra can offer before they have to admit that their network is failing on a fairly regular basis and that promised premium network is a thing of the past. Telstra should do the right thing and let those seeking to get out of a fixed term contract do so. "Telstra claims its real point of difference isn't data limits or cost but its network. Log those outages, record your loss and then if Telstra doesn't agree to let you out take the fight to the TIO because they're clearly charging you a premium price and you're not getting a premium service."
Choice has also did a breakdown of just how much more Telstra customers are paying when you compare the telco's offerings with those of its competitors. The advocacy group analysed over 280 products offered by some of Australia's most popular telcos to do this. Choice only looked at like-for-like products and found that 53 Telstra products could be fairly compared with products offered by Vodafone, Virgin, Optus, iiNet and TPG.
Here's what the group found:
|Category||Cheapest Competitor Product||Telstra product||Telstra tax*|
||$115 Large Broadband
|ADSL2+ broadband with unlimited phone calls||TPG $59.99 Basic Bundle with $10 Oz Talk
||Belong $85 Bundle
|NBN broadband||TPG $89.99 FTTN Large
||$89 Medium Bundle with $30 speed boost
|Broadband, phone & TV streaming||Optus $110 My Entertainment Bundle with $10 speed boost
||$149 X-Large Bundle with $20 speed boost
|Mobile plan with handset||Optus My Plan Plus
||X-Large Go Mobile
|SIM-only mobile||iiNet $19.99 Mobile Voice
||$35 Small Go Mobile BYO
|Mobile broadband SIM||Optus $35 My Broadband Plus
||$55 Large Go Mobile Broadband
*Comparison based on upfront and monthly costs for each product, paid over the length of the Telstra product's contract term, or 12 months for month-by- month products.
As you can see, Telstra customers are paying up to 92 per cent more for their telecommunication services. A Telstra spokesperson has told The Sydney Morning Herald that the Choice analysis was "flawed", claiming that the advocacy group didn't pick the telco's most comparable plans and the analysis "doesn't consider the elements our customers tell us are important, such as the breadth, speeds and availability of our network and the included extras".
What are your thoughts on the Choice analysis? Are you currently a Telstra customer? Let us know about your experiences with the telco in the comments.