Telstra caps excess mobile call charges

Telstra caps bills for mobile calls at AU$130 per month, but lags behind Optus and Vodafone in cracking down on bill shock.

Telstra has taken one step toward reducing bill shock for its customers, capping monthly call charges for customers signing up to new Every Day Connect plans at AU$130, but has yet to limit data charges.

Last year, Optus introduced a number of expansions to its plans to allow customers to pay a bit extra for additional calls and data when they go over, rather than copping excess usage fees. The most a customer would pay is AU$200 per month for domestic use, or AU$500 per month in roaming charges.

Vodafone also went to market with new plans with unlimited national calls and texts.

Today, Telstra announced in a blog post from the company's director of consumer mobility, Scott McGibbony, that it would cap charges for mobile voice calls at AU$130 per month, including the monthly plan fee.

"The safety net was introduced recently and is designed to protect customers from unexpected charges, because you told us cost certainty is really important," McGibbony said.

Telstra did not include any cap on spending for customers going over their monthly data limits. The company currently alerts customers as they approach their monthly limits and offers data packs to give the customers more data as required, but does not limit the amount of money the customer is charged should they go over that limit without a data pack.

McGibbony indicated that Telstra would be looking to make more changes to its plans in the future.

"We know our work's not done, and we're constantly looking for new ways we can better care for our customers. We hope these changes mean you can enjoy the freedom of making the most of our network — the nation's largest, with four times the 4G coverage area of any competitor — without fear of a hit to the hip pocket," he said.

In response, Optus updated its advertising campaign that is currently running against Telstra's excess charges, adjusting the amount quoted.

Telstra today also revealed that it is likely to partner with the new Beats Music service when it arrives later this year, which will replace the MOG music-streaming service that will be shut down in April following Beats' acquisition of MOG in 2012.

"We can't reveal too much at this stage, except to say we are very excited to be bringing Beats Music to Australian listeners this year. In the meantime, our customers can continue to enjoy the 20 million songs on the MOG service, which is unmetered for most Telstra customers and is continually rated as one of the best streaming music services in the world," a Telstra spokesperson said.

"When the timing is right, we will be in contact with our MOG subscribers about our plans to ensure a smooth transition onto the Beats Music service."

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