Phone bills and charges
Access for Everyone—Telstra’s package for low-income consumers
Telstra’s Access for Everyone was developed for anyone on a low income, including holders of the Pensioner Concession Card and other cards.
This package is a requirement of Telstra’s licensing conditions. It was endorsed by low-income consumer advocacy groups through the Low-income Measures Assessment Committee (LIMAC). Representatives on the Committee include the Australian Council of Social Services, the Smith Family, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, the Salvation Army, Jobs Australia, Homelessness Australia, Anglicare Australia and the Council on the Ageing. The package is updated by Telstar and reviewed by LIMAC on a regular basis.
Unexpectedly high bills
Unexpectedly high bills, also known as 'bill shock', come with using more services, including data and calls, than are included in a phone plan. Simple ways to avoid bill shock include:
- Know your allowances or “quota” for voice and data services.
- Be aware of the data consumption associated with web browsing, social networking, gaming, music downloads.
- Use your service provider's online usage meter to monitor downloads.
- Factor in the extra charges when limits are exceeded.
- Understand the advertising terms of capped, free and unlimited.
- Consider using pre-paid plans.
International mobile roaming
International mobile roaming lets people use a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet, when travelling overseas without having to buy a local service. These services can be expensive. Mobile phone carriers must:
- send SMS warnings of high mobile roaming charges to people when they arrive at their overseas destination
- send SMS notifications with pricing information for using roaming services
- provide timely and accurate advice to customers about how to stop international roaming
- provide spend-management tools, including usage notifications
Find out more:
- ACMA International mobile roaming fact sheet
- Telecommunications International Mobile Roaming Industry Standard 2013
- Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
- Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association
Trans-Tasman mobile roaming
Trans-Tasman mobile roaming services let Australians to use their mobile device in New Zealand, and vice versa. These services have been expensive, but costs are coming down.
The draft Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (International Mobile Roaming) Bill proposes to let the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the ACCC) work with the New Zealand Commerce Commission (the NZCC) on international mobile roaming services to:
- monitor the wholesale and retail prices and margins for these services
- publish an annual report on retail prices and margins as well as industry compliance with price-control arrangements
- impose price-control arrangements, e.g a price cap, on services between the two countries, where appropriate and subject to public review.