Telstra makes all home broadband plans unlimited in response to coronavirus

Until the end of April, Telstra home broadband customers are without a data quota.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Image: Asha Barbaschow/ZDNet

Australia's incumbent telco, Telstra, announced on Monday afternoon it was giving all of its home broadband customers unlimited data until the end of April. The data boost covers customers on the National Broadband Network, ADSL, and cable customers and is set to begin on Thursday, March 19.

"The data, which will be provided automatically, will help facilitate videoconferencing; voice over Wi-Fi, and cloud connectivity, all important tools when working from home or in isolation," Telstra CEO Andy Penn said in a blog post.

Mobile customers are set to receive an extra 25GB if they are postpaid, while prepaid customers that complete a recharge of over AU$40 will get 10GB of extra data. Telstra mobile customers will need to "apply for extra data" on the telco's 24×7 and My Telstra apps after Thursday. Customers will have until the end of the month to receive the extra mobile data.

For pensioners with a home phone plan, the telco is giving unlimited local, national, and 13/1300 calls, and calls to Australian mobiles until the end of April.

On Friday evening, Optus announced its postpaid customers would get a 20GB data bump during April, and prepaid users with a greater than AU$40 recharge will also get 10GB.

"These are unprecedented times, and we want to help Australians who find themselves having to self-isolate or work from home to stay connected," Optus CEO designate Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said.

"We understand how much it means to customers to stay connected with their colleagues, classmates, family, and friends. Access to data is critical, so we are playing our part in helping the community with our additional data offer."

Optus customers can receive the extra data through the My Optus app.

Earlier on Monday, Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland said the government-owned national fixed broadband wholesaler, NBN, should provide pricing relief to Australian telcos.

"The NBN already supports significant peak hour data consumption, and for the time being, the capacity purchased by retail providers appears to be appropriate to meet these demands," Rowland said.
"However, if peak demand overtakes capacity, this may present telecommunications providers with a decision to either incur greater costs or to tolerate greater levels of NBN speed congestion.

"Labor considers these unique circumstances do lend themselves towards NBNCo providing retail providers with temporary and targeted capacity relief should these circumstances arise over the COVID-19 period."

In the United States, major telcos on Friday agreed not to terminate users or raise late fees if a customer is impacted economically by the outbreak. AT&T also removed broadband caps for its customers.

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