Note: This article originally stated that Telstra’s plan price had been cut by $60. This was incorrect. The price cut applied to Telstra’s $99 bundled plan — not the $139 plan. Hence, the cut is only $20 — not $60.
news The nation’s largest telco Telstra has temporarily cut $20 a month from one of its most popular HFC cable broadband offers, in a move which brings the monthly cost of its 200GB broadband bundle down from $99 per month to $78.
The telco normally charges $99 a month for the service, which comes with 200GB of data (and no on- and off-peak restrictions) on the HFC cable connection, as well as line rental on the customer’s telephone line and Telstra’s HomeLine Ultimate telephone package.
However, in a blog post on the telco’s Exchange blog this morning, the company’s director of consumer wireline, John Chambers, revealed the price would come down to $78 a month over 24 months for new customers based in Sydney or Melbourne who signed up to the bundle until 15 December. “To sweeten the deal, our Telstra Plus support team are available on the phone for up to six free calls in the first 30 days from the activation of your bundle. These are some of our best local techs, to help you smooth the changeover to Telstra and help with your in-home networking needs. That’s normally $29.95 for a month, so it’s a nice extra to make life a bit easier.”
Customers will also receive a free upgrade to the full 100Mbps speeds available in some Telstra cable areas — which the company badges as its ‘Ultimate Cable’ offering, compared with the normal ‘Elite Cable’, which offers speeds up to 30Mbps.
The price cuts bring Telstra’s cable offer down to a similar level as existing ISP’s ADSL2+ plans at several of Telstra’s largest competitors. iiNet, for example, offers an ADSL2+ plan with 100GB of on-peak and 100GB of off-peak data, plus a bundled telephone line, for $79.90 per month. Other competitors such as TPG and Dodo, however, still offer cheaper plans.
“More and more, our home experience is linked to quality broadband being on and working as you expect it to,” wrote Chambers. “This leads me to something that has confounded me for the last few years of my working life, which is why more customers don’t choose to be with us on our BigPond Cable broadband product.”
“Don’t get me wrong, those who know it, love it. It is particularly popular with gamers and those who need the best performing broadband they can lay their hands on. But I really want to get the word out there, and get more people on to the amazing experience that is BigPond Cable broadband.”
To be honest, I’m not quite sure what Telstra is playing at here. It doesn’t seem like it will be making much profit on the customers it does attract across to its cable network with this offer, with such steep discounts. And of course it will eventually need to migrate those customers onto the National Broadband Network infrastructure in any case.
It feels like the big T wants to make more use of its HFC cable network for some reason. It makes a deal of sense — given that both Telstra and Optus haven’t marketed their HFC cable offerings strongly for some time. There’s life in the infrastructure yet, especially with the speed upgrades, and Telstra would be wise to push its advantages here, considering most ISPs in Australia are restricted to the copper network.
However, I can’t see that many customers switching off ADSL and signing up for HFC cable. Once you’re on cable, it’s great, but it’s a bit of a pain getting on — and even more of a pain migrating back to an ADSL provider if you do decide eventually to leave Telstra in the dust.
What’s Telstra playing at here? Ideas?