While Telstra shareholders would have been pleased with yesterday’s announcement of better than expected financial results, its customers may be about to hear less popular news – that land line prices are going up again.
Telstra beat market expectations for its third quarter, reporting sales revenue of $5.01 billion, up 1 per cent.
The telco attributed its revenue improvement to its growth in mobiles, internet and directory services. Those areas had offset a reduction in its Hong Kong business interest, Hong Kong CSL, which the telco attributed to foreign exchange translation.
But some of the growth in mobile phone telephony had come at the expense of its fixed line business, Telstra claimed.
While its mobile phone business grew 5.7 per cent for the quarter ended 31 March, bringing in $50 million, Telstra said its fixed line business had flatlined for the quarter, bringing in $1.69 billion.
Several media outlets, including the Australian, have tipped that Telstra will attempt to shore up its fixed line revenues by announcing fixed line rental increases from July 1.
While the telco hasn’t made any official announcement along those lines, a Telstra spokesperson said the company would give customers notice of any such action.
“Telstra is committed to advanced warning of one month, but often gives more than that,” the spokesperson said. “Telstra established this time frame and the ACCC now holds us to it.”
Current subscribers to Telstra's HomeLine Plus service pay $26.50 line rental per month. The cheapest available line rental is under the HomeLine Budget plan, which costs $17.50 per month and locks the customer into using Telstra for both local and long distance calls.
Any increase to Telstra’s fixed line pricing scheme would have to be assessed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
An ACCC spokesperson said that any price increase would also need to be approved by a low income committee.