Telstra dumps per-second charging for trunk calls

11 Mar 2009

Telstra has dumped per second charging for national and long-distance calls in favor of billing every 30 seconds.

The Australian incumbent has written to its millions of fixed-line customers informing them of the new charges.

The move defies current industry practice, which is to replace 30-second billing with precise per-second charging.

Telecom analyst Paul Budde told the Sydney Morning Herald that because of voicemail of answering machines. 20-30% of all calls last for under 30 seconds.

He believes the shift to longer charging segments to be an attempt to boost stagnating fixed-line revenue.

Atug managing director Rosemary Sinclair told it was "a move in the wrong direction."

"It's an attempt to protect the margins in their fixed network business, and I don't think it's going to do any good for them," she said. Younger Australians already have mobile phones"&brkbar; and older Australians will either switch to mobiles or decrease their usage, she added.

Telstra said the move would bring its fixed-line billing system in line with the 30-second charging it uses for fixed-to-mobile calls.

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