Telstra customers should be allowed to break their fixed contracts if affected by the recent spate of network outages, consumer watchdog CHOICE has claimed.
An analysis of 280 products from some of Australia’s most popular telecommunications providers has revealed that some Telstra customers were paying up to 92 per cent more for their home broadband internet and up to 35 per cent more for their mobile plans.
CHOICE spokesperson Tom Godfrey said that although the telco was “charging a premium price”, with seven major outages in the past six months – including a June 30 cut that affected 75,000 customers around Australia – it was not providing a premium service.
“There’s only so much free data Telstra can offer before they have to admit their network is failing on a fairly regular basis and that promised premium network is a thing of the past,” Mr Godfrey told ABC News. “Telstra should do the right thing and let those seeking to get out of a fixed term contract do so.
“Telstra claims its real point of difference isn’t data limits or cost but its network. Log those outages, record your loss and then if Telstra doesn’t agree to let you out, take the fight to the TIO [Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman] because they’re clearly charging you a premium price and you’re not getting a premium service.”
CHOICE said it compared Telstra’s products and services to equivalent or better offerings from its competitors. However, Telstra has called the analysis “flawed”, because the research didn’t consider the company’s full range of plans.
“In its analysis CHOICE misses many of our most popular and comparable plans and fails to consider things customers tell us are most important, such as the breadth, speeds and availability of our network and the extras we include,” said Telstra spokesperson Stuart Bird.
The 92 per cent figure came from comparing Telstra’s $115 ‘large broadband’ product, which includes 1000GB of data, to TPG’s $60 ‘basic bundle’ with unlimited data.
Are you a Telstra customer? Are you happy with your service? Would you call it a ‘premium’ service? After these repeated outages, do you feel inclined to break your contract?