Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Telstra extends unlimited home broadband offer until the end of June

With the aim of supporting customers through COVID-19.

Telstra announced on Tuesday afternoon that its unlimited data offer for home broadband customers that was slated to end in April would be extended to the end of June. 

The data boost, announced last month, covers customers on the National Broadband Network, ADSL, and cable customers.

"As things change, we need to adapt and recognise we're all in this for the long haul. We all have a continued responsibility to do what we can to help people through this period and our next step is to extend our customer support measures for another few months," Telstra consumer and small business group executive Michael Ackland said.

Other initiatives that would be extended to the end of June include Telstra's decision to waive late payments, its 25GB offer to postpaid mobile customers, and the offer of unlimited calls to local, national, 13/1300 numbers, and Australian mobiles to pensioners with a home phone plan. 

The Australian incumbent telco also launched an online bill assistance hub for customers who are struggling to pay their bills. Through the hub, these customers can enter into a payment plan with Telstra, make an agreement to pay at a later date, suspend all services for up to 90 days, or they can downsize their plan.

"We're making it as easy as possible for customers to access our digital self-serve billing options to cater for any scenario they may be in, including payment extensions, queries and plan changes. If consumer and small business customers are unable to keep up with their bills, they can now make changes to assist them with making payments and to prevent them from having their service disconnected," Ackland said.

Meanwhile, Vodafone has introduced a temporary AU$10 per month plan for existing postpaid customers and business customers on Red or Red Plus plans who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

"We recognise this is a very stressful time for many of our customers who have lost employment or income as a result of COVID-19, and we are a key part of their support network," Vodafone CEO Inaki Berroeta said.

"This plan will allow customers to stay connected to the people important to them and the services they need, without worrying about their phone bill."

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The plan includes 3GB of mobile data and unlimited standard national voice calls and SMS for use in Australia.

The temporary plan would be valid for three months and requires customers to provide proof of financial difficulty when applying. After the three-month period, customers would return to their existing plans.

Optus is also playing its part by partnering with the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) to provide disadvantaged secondary school students with a free Optus Prepaid mobile plan through Optus' Donate Your Data program.

Initially, the telco plans to work with a "small number" of NSW schools to distribute "several hundred" SIM cards with the aim of supporting 6,000 disadvantaged students nationally.

The SIM cards offer unlimited national standard talk and text and 10GB data for use in Australia, which is topped up with extra data donated by Optus customers.

"It is essential that young Australians can continue to learn and stay connected with their classmates, which is why we are delighted to be partnering with ABCN to ensure that students in most need are supported by our Donate Your Data initiative and have the connectivity in place to continue with their studies." Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said.

Optus said it is looking to expand the Donate Your Data program by partnering with additional charities and causes to help more disadvantaged Australians.

The program was launched at the end of last year and allows Optus postpaid and prepaid mobile customers to donate their data. 

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