Telstra jacks up line rental charges

Telecommunications giant Telstra has jacked up prices for many of its services and is attempting to appease customers by matching the rises with cuts to some STD rates.

From August, monthly line rental will increase by $2 per line on standard plans and $3 per line for premium plans. Also on the rise are call connection fees, monthly account fees for Communic8 pre-paid products, national rates for ISDN services, and some increases in select phone services such as MessageBank, Calling Number Display, Call Connect and Directory Assistance. The telco has also expanded its peak mobile phone call period from 7am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, for most plans.

At the same time, Telstra has lowered the prices for capped STD calls and off-peak calls to mobile phones from fixed lines.

To justify the price increases, Telstra Retail's director of communication and strategy, Michael Herskope, cited that communications prices have not risen in tune with CPI, the measure of inflation. Similarly Herskope pointed to the many billions of dollars in capital spending Telstra has coughed up to boost services in recent years.

Major changes to pricing include:

- Monthly line rentals to increase by $2 and $3 per line.

- STD capped call rates to drop by almost 50c per call on most plans.

- Call connection rates on most plans to rise by 5c to 30c.

- Retrieval charges for mobile MessageBank services to rise 3c to 14c.

- Peak mobile call period to be extended to 7am-8pm, Monday to Saturday, for most plans.

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