Telstra's 60-second billing play

Metaratings
09 Mar 2011
00:00
Article

For some strange reason, I was under the impression that most CSPs generally aspired to one-second billing and this was pretty much the world standard.

Apparently, I have been totally misled, according to reports out of Australia.

The Age newspaper today ran a story that Telstra is moving to one minute billing blocks later this month, after implementing 30 second blocks two years ago, for all long-distance and mobile calls.

Last July Optus moved from billing fixed calls in one second blocks to 30 second blocks, saying the move was to make price comparing easier against Telstra plans.

Telstra says this will bring it into line with industry standards and Chief executive, David Thodey, recently said the extra revenue from the move would be ”modest.”

Not so, say analysts who were quick to calculate Telstra will reap tens of millions more revenue from the change.

I know we are talking about Australia here, but do the two major operators honestly believe that their customers will not notice the changes and that the regulator will not question the potentially anti-competitive nature of radically changing billing procedures in order to make it easier for customers to compare plans?

The telecommunications industry ombudsman in Australia is already the busiest in the world with recently released statistics show that complaints remain at very high, almost record levels. No doubt when, and if, customers begin noticing their bills increasing his workload will increase even further.

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