All I want for Xmas is Telstra pricing

All I want for Xmas is Telstra pricing

Summary: Five consecutive days without broadband has led me to what seemed at the time to be an act of desperation: contemplating signing up for Telstra's 100Mbps cable modem service.

SHARE:
24

This column was submitted using Morse code. Or, it might as well have been, as I struggled through my fifth consecutive day without broadband.

My ADSL connection ranged between non-existent and a pulse-pounding 38Kbps today, after a visit from a Telstra technician who today told me "data isn't my thing" and left me with a service that worked worse than it did yesterday (I am told the issue is some sort of area landline problem to which Telstra is dispatching the Major Cable Upgrade crews).

The net result was to push me to what seemed at the time to be an act of desperation: contemplating signing up for Telstra's 100Mbps cable modem service. Yet even my despair put me off after seeing Telstra's laughable data pricing had not changed, and that there were no details of the new service.

Sweet relief, however, came within hours after Telstra announced it was following through on David Thodey's October commitment to drop broadband prices with a host of new broadband plans. Among the changes: Telstra's ridiculous 200MB minimum plan will be replaced with a more palatable 2GB for the same $29.95, and plans will range up to 200GB for the most enthusiastic torrent-philes.

This welcome but surprising move will be critical as Telstra seeks to regain its momentum in a broadband market where competitors have out-manoeuvred the company with dramatically better-value broadband packages. Cutting prices, raising quotas and ditching its absurd $150-per-gigabyte excess charges will go a long way towards helping the company recapture the interest of customers who, like me, long ago gave up hoping for value-for-money from the telecoms giant.

Can new Telstra consumer business head Glenice Maclellan help David Thodey reverse years of consumer pricing disillusionment? (Credit: Telstra)

That's not to say the coming 100Mbps services — for which pricing has not yet been announced — are likely to be a bargain. As premium home services without any direct competition, we can expect them to sit well into the $100-plus price range, at least until Optus gets around to launching its own rival service when ongoing upgrades are complete.

To be realistic, availability of 100Mbps cable services to a small proportion of the population isn't going to turn around Telstra's fortunes overnight. However, it is symptomatic of a more powerful force reshaping the Telstra we have known for years as a premium service provider with unapologetically high prices and, as I remarked recently, no particular intent to lower them.

That force is perhaps best related to the departure of David Moffatt, the eight-year Telstra veteran who announced his departure in September after being passed over for the position of CEO for the second time.

Moffatt, whose time with Telstra began during Ziggy Switkowski's tenure and outlasted that of Sol Trujillo, was heavily focused on brand building, most notably through the creation of Telstra's successful T-Life retail outlets.

Moffatt oversaw a major change in Telstra's culture, making the word "customer" part of everyday strategy at a company that had been surprisingly removed from those customers in the past. T-Life was a major part of this, improving accessibility and doing wonders for brand-building. Yet in his quest to position Telstra as a higher-value consumer provider than its competitors, Moffatt seems to have bought into Truillo's combative, unapologetic manner and refused to lower prices even marginally, despite rapidly increasing broadband quotas and lowering prices from competitors.

The latest broadband plans are the first major announcement from Moffatt's successor, Glenice Maclellan, who has taken up the reins in Telstra's largest business unit and will clearly be charged with reinvigorating the company's presence in the consumer market. Telstra's funky T-Hub is one possible tool in this fight, but in the short term it is 100Mbps and competitive pricing that will help the company. By dramatically revamping Telstra's broadband plans and promoting bundling discount deals in the lead-up to Christmas, Maclellan may well have finally helped Telstra find a more appealing value proposition.

Or, perhaps, not. Prices for Telstra's 100Mbps HomePremium services weren't online as of the time of writing, but it's unlikely that Telstra will undercut as much as nearly-match its competitors. Furthermore, many of the price cuts Telstra has announced include bundles with home phone service and Foxtel. For example, a bundle combining Foxtel, 25GB broadband plan, phone service and unlimited-calling plans will sit at a not-necessarily-competitive $198 or $218 per month.

The real test, of course, will come when Optus weighs in with its own 100Mbps cable services, forcing Telstra to reassess its value and — as happened after its recent iPhone launch — potentially revisit its pricing so as to not appear completely out of touch.

No matter how it compares, widespread reports that Telstra is cutting its prices could be just the thing it needs to revitalise its broadband fortunes — keeping it relevant and putting new heat on its competitors. For customers struggling with ADSL over a steadily aging copper loop but unwilling to pay Telstra's exorbitant prices, the company's new consumer market positioning might be just the thing — and in time for Christmas, no less.

Topics: Broadband, Telcos, Telstra, NBN

About

Australia’s first-world economy relies on first-rate IT and telecommunications innovation. David Braue, an award-winning IT journalist and former Macworld editor, covers its challenges, successes and lessons learned as it uses ICT to assert its leadership in the developing Asia-Pacific region – and strengthen its reputation on the world stage.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

24 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Goodbye Telstra!

    After years of being ripped off by Telstra I have finally gotten around to cutting off both my Telstra landline and Bigpond services and am moving to iiNet. Announcements of price reductions by Telstra have done absolutely nothing to affect my decision and I will be more than happy not to pay the $30 a month landline tax. Only a Bigpond email address has kept me with Telstra as well as overseas parents that have no idea how to use Skype. Oh to be free of Telstra, its crap service and its over-inflated prices. Gone and never to return. Finally I am supporting an innovative Australian company that doesn't rort its customers...
    anonymous
  • Oh the envy

    Dear Anon,

    Oh how we envy you ... we still pay the T tax every Quarter though the calls made are way down thanks to VOIP (non big puddle) bypass

    Our dream is to jump to a Naked svce once the upgrade of equip reaches our area or NBN, whichever comes first
    anonymous
  • Its a small step for auskind

    Telstra have the largest infrastructure in Australia. They are still the dearest even with their data adjustments - I don't think they really dropped their prices, just added data to it.
    This is not enough to bring people back, they need to start from scratch. Look at their entire mob of services and make a comparible pricepoint and data allowance to lead the providers.
    Why should ADSL be cheaper than NextG. NextG is a great technology that has allowed many people to finally connect to a broadband service, but the price point is supremely ludicrous! Its the same old Telstra Monopoly Giant that screws the people of Australia. Bring back customer service. Make your website easier to navigate, make phone support actually available to speak to a human, have someone that can actually help you with a service/problem. These things would go a long way to help improve the image of Telstra.
    Its time to remember what being Australian is all about - helpin out a mate.
    anonymous
  • 100Mbps pricing in press release

    http://www.telstra.com.au/abouttelstra/media/announcements_article.cfm?ObjectID=46084

    If you scroll to the bottom you'll see the pricings, and the 100Mbps appears to be only available in bundled stuff as well, Cheapest being $169 a month for 50Gb with phone or $269 bundled with phone and foxtel and 100Gb quota.
    Also its for Melbourne only....
    anonymous
  • A step in the right direction

    Congrats to Telstra on a step in the right direction. Nice to see the new CEO following through on his promises.
    anonymous
  • Telstra

    I use cable modem as I have Foxtel infrastructure. As soon as NBN provides cable to the premises I will quit Telstra. A really awful company that provides poor services, zero customer service (worse; they clearly have structured customer service to simply exhaust the patience of callers so they give up. Have you seen the comaplaints to the Ombudsman - off the scale. This cannot be an accident but rather a deliberate policy from the Gorilla.). As for the pricing; this is just organized theft and represents the worst aspect of competition failure. Bring on the death of Telstra as an infrastructure provider ASAP. Let them compete in an open market with universal FTH and we will see what they can do.
    anonymous
  • You won't be sorry

    In the same boat. I have finally rid myself of all Telstra services and moved to iinet.
    Apart from the deal being 10 times better, I have found the customer service to be fantastic.

    Whoever heads customer service at iiNet - perhaps if Telstra paid them 13 millions dollars instead of some strange American, there might be a change.

    Make the change, its like dropping dead weight.
    anonymous
  • Been to iinet and internode

    Lol @ people moving to iinet yeah you going to get good real service there LOL LOL

    internode is not as good as people make out , i will never reccomd anyone to internode
    anonymous
  • Internode?

    Funny you should say that, I am a Telstra customer, more through apathy than anything.

    But my brother-in-law, who is a Telstra shareholder, recently moved from Bigpond to Internode and is raving about the quality, support and price of Internode.

    He says also, in comparison to Telstra's un-metered content, Internode kills them, as they have so many great freebies! Particularly for gamers.

    I don't know, but this is what he says.

    So maybe in comparison to whoever you are with, Optus apparently, it would seem Internode kills Telstra and that's coming from a Telstra shareholder.

    Maybe Optus are better again?
    anonymous
  • And the real speed will be ?

    Will be interesting to see speedtest results across a broader area, wonder if ping rates will be any better than on existing plans. Especially once you add in the effect of everyone streaming video across the main pipe.
    Would rather see cheaper open plans than a bigger pipe.
    anonymous
  • T tax?

    And when you stop paying your T tax and the network starts failing because everyone jumped ship to some other SP who doesn't pay Telstra enough to maintain it who will you blame?

    Telstra!

    Funny That..
    anonymous
  • re. t tax

    more telstra fud from the desperates.
    anonymous
  • Optus/Singtel SPONGE

    This RANT has been sponsored by your local SINGTEL/Optus rep!!

    OH pls OH pls Minister Rudd can Optus/Singtel SPONGE some more off the Australian Taxpayer..Oh Pls Oh Pls..... Pretty Pls?
    anonymous
  • ADSL v NextG

    "Why should ADSL be cheaper than NextG"

    Because if it wasn't, everyone would sign up for NextG (because let's face it, ADSL speeds and quotas while mobile? Yes please!) and we would discover that their vaunted wireless network can't handle the sheer volume of data that would be shoved through it, and that their claim that fixed-line broadband is for the dinosaurs is complete twaddle.
    anonymous
  • Another dopey TLS shareholder, how dare you !

    "But my brother-in-law, who is a Telstra shareholder, recently moved from Bigpond to Internode and is raving about the quality, support and price of Internode."
    anonymous
  • copper

    I work in faults for a Telstra competitor.
    The quality of the copper is awful.
    To give you an idea of how awful, Telstra have fault reference numbers for the copper network.
    2 years ago today, they were in the 127xxxxxx range.
    Today?
    We're rapidly approaching 135xxxxxx. A cool 4 million faults a year. Not bad for a network that services ~11million homes and businesses.

    From your article, it sounds like you've had a CNI requested. A Customer Network Improvement.
    Cynically named as an improvement, it means that cables in your area have become so degraded that they are completely out of spare pairs, and what's left the technicians cant dodgy into a barely acceptable state any more.

    Dont hold your breath either.
    Most CNI's wait months at a minimum. Sometimes years.
    These cables may service hundreds or thousands of customers. All of whom pay Telstra in one way or another.

    The cause of this degredation?
    Aside from normal aging, the copper hasnt been maintained to anywhere near the standard it used to be.
    Where Telecom used to appear to be an inefficient beast where technicians were paid by the hour to do a proper job that lasted a long, long time, now? It's a model of efficiency!
    Technicians are paid by the job, and so they get a LOT of jobs done.Far exceeding their hourly paid predecessors, but, well, these jobs dont tend to last as long, and worse, they accellerate the corrosion when they're done badly.
    We've all seen lost and forgotten Telstra gates around pits.
    A customer in a rural area told me recently there'd been one up the road for about 8 years around an uncovered pit.
    It doesnt take a rocket surgeon to conclude that the wiring itself wont like this.

    But dont worry, if you're a shareholder, you can look forward to your 7% of stock price dividend each year.
    anonymous
  • TLS Shareholder?

    People still own Telstra shares? Lol, your BIL should of gotten away from them years ago and put the money into something that will increase in value.

    As for un-metered content for Gamers, Bigpond's GameArena has plenty for gamers.

    But I'll concede the point, far better (generally) customer service with Internode.
    anonymous
  • No problem being a TLS Shareholder?

    "People still own Telstra shares? Lol, your BIL should of gotten away from them years ago and put the money into something that will increase in value."

    I have no doubt whatsoever, that Telstra shares will increase in value. How soon and by how much is the only query.
    anonymous
  • Were not sorry.

    You certainly are living in the past. The Americans are long gone, Thodey is well on top of things, and Telstra's future is assured. Stop living in the past.
    anonymous
  • Wrong

    They aren't just fault numbers for the CAN. They are for all Telstra products.
    anonymous