'

Primus answers Telstra increase

Primus Telecom today unveiled a pricing plan for residential phone users bundling line rental, Internet download and all local calls into one package.The "Primus One" plan comprises all local calls, dial-up Internet with unlimited download and access time and monthly line rental for a fixed rate of AU$55 a month.

Primus Telecom today unveiled a pricing plan for residential phone users bundling line rental, Internet download and all local calls into one package.

The "Primus One" plan comprises all local calls, dial-up Internet with unlimited download and access time and monthly line rental for a fixed rate of AU$55 a month.

Primus Telecom managing director Greg Wilson said "Primus One would set a benchmark where local calls were being delivered at no charge to the customer. There is no reason why after seven years of telecommunications competition, that we should not expect the end of local charges, and Primus Telecom is ready to lead the way."

Although the price package was not a planned answer to Telstra's price increase, Wilson thinks it is a fitting response. "This is not necessarily in response to Telstra since it's been in consideration for some time but I think it is a fitting response to Telstra's price increase because we believe there is a considerable space for prices to fall."

He added that many customers are spending more than AU$55 on their combined line rental and Internet alone. "They now have the opportunity to make significant savings on local call costs and Internet charges irrespective of how many local calls they make or how long they spend on the Internet."

The Primus One deal was developed in response to customer feedback on the complexity and hidden cost of many current phone and Internet plans. Wilson expressed his disappointment with Telstra's continued increases in line rental charges.

"It is disappointing that the line rental charge, which is under the control of Telstra, continues to rise substantially and is being passed on to other carriers and ultimately to customers," Wilson said. He emphasised that with the new price plan, customers will not feel the sting of the line rental charge.

With the onslaught of wireless broadband operators today, Wilson still thinks fixed-line services is the way to to. "I suppose at this stage wireless broadband is still an immature market. No question it's going to expand but the vast majority of consumers still relies on fixed-line services for the immediate future. We're forced to compete in that area and that's where this new offer is directly targeted," he said.

The Primus One plan fee does not include mobile calls, long distance or premium calls.