New Year's resolutions for Aussie telcos

09 January 2017

When a new year rolls around, we all try to make ourselves better, or at least think about trying. But we shouldn't be the only ones trying to be our best, we should also demand better from others, including our telcos. Here are a few small ways we think teclos could make everyone's 2017 a little bit better.

Kill the 28 day billing "month"

The vast majority of prepaid phone plans now come with 28 day expiry. It's an unfortunate trend that means prepaid customers need to recharge 13 times a year rather than 12, which also makes it a little trickier to compare the value of prepaid to postpaid plans.

30 days used to be standard, so let's make it standard again. The maths isn't perfect if you bring back the 30 day recharge either, but at least you're only recharging 12.1 times per year, as opposed to 13.

Stop trying to be media companies

Telcos are increasingly trying to differentiate by being more than just a pipe that gets us to the internet, but some are taking it too far. Media has been a logical pursuit for telcos, but it's not cool when content is locked to a network. If you want to buy the rights to a series, a sport, or a movie, don't make it subscriber exclusive. Do you want piracy? Because that's how you get piracy.

Say you've got the rights to some sort of popular sport. Charge one monthly fee to customers who don't subscribe to your network, and charge a slightly lower fee to customers who do. Problem solved.

Stop with the auto-data top ups

In a way, auto-data top ups are great. You can keep using your sweet, sweet mobile data without any interruption for just $10 more. But what If you don't want it? Joe got billed $10 for an extra gigabyte about 5 minutes before his billing cycle rolled over. Needless to say, he didn't get to use that data.

Sure, a flat $10 fee is far better than the excess data charges of old, but maybe a better approach would be to take inspiration from the United States market, where your data speeds just slow to a crawl after you've gone through your allowance. You'd still be able to keep using messaging apps and receiving email, but not much else, and if you want more, you can choose to pay the $10 for the extra gig.

Innovate harder

More data for less is great, but we'd love to see more unique offers -- like Vodafone's $5 per day roaming. These sorts of propositions set networks apart in a much more meaningful way than a slight variation in data per dollar, and actually give people a reason to switch.

Stop filling my mailbox with "get NBN" flyers

Please. I already have NBN. You've been sending me the flyers for months. I'm pretty sure we have a tree worth of NBN flyers between everyone at WhistleOut Australia.

Provide more accurate broadband speed estimates to customers

Telcos know how much bandwidth they're paying for, they know how far your house is from the exchange or the node

There's no reason not to provide an estimate of the speeds you can expect, rather than vague statements like "up to 50Mbps"

And on a similar note, don't overpromise speeds you can't deliver. Some providers have started offering high speed, unlimited data, low cost plans, which have unsurprisingly resulted in complaints from customers not getting advertised speeds.

Fireworks image from ShutterStock.


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