Telstra: Unlimited plans not “the right path to go down”

Alex Kidman 23 February 2016

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Telstra doesn’t see unlimited plans as a particularly viable business model, even when it comes to voice inclusions.

Over the past couple of years there’s been a marked shift in Australia towards mobile plans that include unlimited national calls and texts, to the point where it’s often easier to list the telcos that don’t offer those kinds of deals than those that do. Optus shifted all of its plans to offering unlimited calls and texts for Australian numbers in mid-2015, and Vodafone made a similar shift in August.

Amongst the big players, Telstra is remarkable in that, outside the top tiers of its post and pre-paid plans, it still offers call value bundles (with offers like "$500 worth of credit") rather than unlimited calls on its plans.

In a discussion with Australian journalists at Mobile World Congress, Telstra CEO Andrew Penn was asked about unlimited calling provisions. Despite the Optus and Vodafone shifts, he doesn’t see unlimited anything as a particular path that Telstra’s likely to go down any time soon.

"We don’t bundle unlimited calls, but then we don’t bundle unlimited data either. Unlimited is not a path that we think is the right path to go down." he said to finder.com.au.

Penn’s positioning for Telstra in the Australian marketplace rests strongly on the investments that Telstra makes into its network, and the resultant expected quality of that network.

"I think the whole concept of unlimited, in usage, ultimately, we invest an enormous amount of money in the network, and one of the reasons that we do that is to provide a great network experience." he said.

Ultimately it comes down to an issue of expenses and costs.

"Maybe if you declare the use of a network unlimited, you’re sort of sending the message that there’s no sort of incremental or marginal cost for the volume of usage, which there is."

"Our value proposition, our point of differentiation, which isn’t the same as everybody’s, is to have the best network in Australia. We believe that has been important, and will only increase in its importance going forward. To do that though, we invest an enormous amount of money. So it’s important that we reflect that in how we bundle our plans. Making that unlimited suggests something different."

So what can you do if Telstra is your preferred or best carrier based on your tastes and location? Here are Telstra’s current contract offerings with unlimited national call provisions. You can click through the prepaid and monthly offerings to see Telstra’s current tiers with unlimited calling provisions as well, as well as adjust other parameters to suit your needs.

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