Telstra adds Foxtel to mobile plans, signs new telco exec

Telstra has unveiled its new post-paid and prepaid mobile plan inclusions, adding Foxtel Now streaming packs and extra data, and also announced its new consumer and SMB executive.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra has announced the addition of media content, streaming inclusions, and extra data to its post-paid and prepaid plans under a media partnership with Foxtel, also revealing a new group executive for its Consumer and Small Business segment.

Under the new post-paid inclusions with Foxtel, which Telstra co-owns, it is now offering customers 12 months of free access to content packs from the Foxtel Now streaming service.

Customers signing up for Telstra's AU$99 Go Mobile Plus and Go Mobile Swap Lease plans prior to December 25 will be given a 12-month subscription for one Foxtel Now starter pack, as well as 20GB of data per month.

Paying AU$129 per month will give customers 30GB of data and two Foxtel Now starter packs; AU$149 will provide three starter packs and 50GB of data; and AU$199 will provide 100GB of data and three starter packs.

The five packs to choose from are Pop, which includes entertainment, comedy, drama, and reality TV, as well as HBO dramas and Foxtel Originals; Drama, which includes BBC, HBO, and Foxtel Originals content; Docos, which includes the Discovery, Nat Geo, BBC, Crime and Investigation, and History content; Kids channels in a "safe" app; and Lifestyle, which includes content from food, homes, entertainment, and reality TV channels.

The post-paid plans also include unlimited Wi-Fi at the more than 1 million Telstra Air hotspots across the country, and data-free streaming on Apple Music and Telstra's AFL and NRL apps.

Telstra Media Group ED Michele Garra called the deals "the most generous data allowances ever", with Telstra saying it is part of becoming the "home of mobile entertainment in Australia".

"We've already established strong content partnerships with the AFL, NRL, Netball, and Apple Music to provide our customers with access to the best quality content," Garra said.

"This new partnership with Foxtel delivers further value to our customers all on Australia's fastest mobile network."

According to Telstra, video consumption now accounts for 38 percent of its mobile network usage -- up by 40 percent year on year -- and is forecast to rise to 75 percent of its mobile traffic within the next five years.

The Telstra TV mobile app will also allow for continuous streaming between home and mobile, with Telstra last month announcing the second iteration of its streaming device.

Telstra's prepaid plans have also been overhauled, with the telco adding a data bank capability to its Prepaid Extra plans. As a result, customers who recharge by AU$30 or more before their plan's expiry can now bank up to 50GB of unused data that has no expiry.

New customers who activate a AU$10 to AU$30 SIM starter kit by January 29 will also be given 5GB of data towards their data bank.

"Data bank is the next generation of our prepaid offers," Telstra Mobile Products ED Michael Simpson said.

"It combines the flexibility and great value of prepaid while letting our customers keep their unused data to stream the latest music and entertainment on their mobile, when they like."

Prepaid customers who recharge by AU$40 or more will also get unlimited international calls to Telstra's 10 standard countries, as well as to Vietnam, Pakistan, and Bangladesh until February 26.

Telstra last month announced its media revenue growing by 8.2 percent to AU$935 million during the FY17 financial year thanks to uptake of both the Telstra TV and Foxtel from Telstra. The latter made AU$777 million in revenue, growing by 8.1 percent due to 57,000 additional subscribers. There were 827,000 Telstra TV devices in the market as of June 30.

Optus is also focusing on media content, in July unveiling an entertainment partnership with National Geographic as part of what CEO Allen Lew told ZDNet is the telco's next move to become a "mobile-led multimedia service provider".

Lew had previously said that Optus is a unique position to be the first in Australia to take advantage of the convergence between telecommunications, media, and technology after beginning its self-described transformation into a multimedia company with the acquisition of the exclusive Australian broadcast rights for the English Premier League in 2015.

Telstra appoints new Consumer and Small Business MD

Telstra's leadership team will meanwhile see the addition of former Optus MD of Marketing and Products Vicki Brady as Telstra's new group executive for Consumer and Small Business, reporting directly to CEO Andy Penn.

Brady's portfolio will give her oversight of Telstra's consumer, small business, product, channel, and customer experience segments.

"Vicki brings a wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge in the Australian telecommunications sector," Penn said on Tuesday.

"She has a strong track record of improving customer experiences, leading product simplification, and delivering outstanding commercial results."

Brady, who has been with Telstra since 2016, will start her new role immediately. She replaces fellow former Optus exec Kevin Russell, who was appointed just over a year ago.

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