Telstra is set to increase its fixed line pricing for both Business and Residential customers from October of this year.
Business PSTN line rental will increase by $2 per month, while residential PSTN line rental will go up by $1. There are also planned increases to ISDN, though Telstra is yet to reveal those. Nor have they said whether this increase will affect Telstra charity line rental rates (which you may recall were already increased dramatically a few years ago).
In terms of call charges, flag fall for most kinds of call (STD, calls to mobiles and international) will increase to 55 cents. Calls to 13 and 1300 numbers will increase from 35c to 40c per call.
To offset this for pensioners and other eligible customers, all of the above call types will be added to the $3.50 call discount on Home Phone Budget plans.
The stated reason for the planned increase, a decision Telstra assures us was not taken lightly, is due to ongoing investment in their network. The implication is that this somehow ties into the $5 billion mobile network investment announced by new Telstra CEO Andy Penn earlier this month, and in a sense it probably does.
More so, however, it probably reflects the fact that fixed line telephony is contracting industry, as consumers across all sectors move increasingly towards mobile communications. Fewer customers are having to pay for the upkeep of the fixed line networks, which no doubt prompts more of them to abandon their fixed lines entirely.
Telstra will be writing to affected customers at the end of July. As more of the pricing – especially that relating to business customers – comes to light, Dog and Bone will keep you informed.