Telstra has increased charges on residential and business phone line rental after reporting a 2002 calendar after-tax profit of $1.184 billion.
The price increase is offset by cheaper local calls. However, the cuts are minimal and only on Telstra’s most ‘popular’ local call services.
Telstra said the rental increase was consistent with the Commonwealth Government’s price control requirements, administered by the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission).
Residential monthly line rental will increase by $1.60 per line (except on HomeLine Budget which has local call costs of 30 cents) and business monthly line rental by $1 per line for standard plans.
The ACCC requirements permit Telstra to increase line rental gradually over a number of years to fully recover the cost of providing customers with access to its network, a process begun by Telstra three years ago. The requirements dictate that call prices fall each year.
Telstra Consumer and Marketing Chief, Ms Holly Kramer, said Telstra was sensitive to the effects of any price increases on customers so it had kept increases to a minimum, particularly for pensioners and charities.
“The price changes contain some rises and some falls but we [Telstra] have again protected our one million plus pensioner customers and charities with increased concessions to reduce the effects of any increases,” she said.
Local call rates will decrease minimally on what Telstra describes as ‘popular’ plans. HomeLine Complete’s local call price reduces from 22 cents to 20 cents per call and HomeLine Plus’ local call price reduces from 18.5 cents to 17.5 cents per call.
The Telstra Neighbourhood Call, however, that was 15 cents per call will be removed completely.
Call connection fees for residential long distance and fixed line to mobile calls will be increased by 3 cents to 33 cents per call.
Ms Kramer said Telstra had obtained the consent of the ACCC to these residential line rental increases as required by the Communication Minister’s price control determination.
The Federal Communications Minister, Senator Richard Alston, was satisfied that Telstra was complying with the provisions approved by the ACCC.