Your complete guide to Telstra

Posted by Canstar Blue August 23rd 2016

Telstra is a giant of the Australian telecommunications landscape, having long held a position at the forefront of the market, providing an array of products and services across different segments for both residential and business customers, from home phones to mobile to internet.

Telstra traces its origins back to over 100 years ago, to Australia’s federation in 1901, at which time the Postmaster-General’s Department was established by the Commonwealth government, managing all domestic telephone, telegraph and postal services.

Fast forwarding more than 70 years later, telecommunications was separated from postal functions via passage of the Telecommunications Act 1975, seeing the establishment of the Australian Postal Commission and the Australian Telecommunications Commission, trading as Telecom Australia.

Telecom was renamed Telstra Corporation Limited in April 1993, beginning to trade as Telstra for international business, and its trade name subsequently changed to Telstra for domestic business in 1995, with Telstra privatised in the years to come, beginning in 1997.

What services does Telstra offer?

“Telstra is Australia’s leading telecommunications and information services company, offering a full range of communications services and competing in all telecommunications markets,” Telstra states of its suite of offerings.

“In Australia we provide 16.9 million mobile services, 7.2 million fixed voice services and 3.3 million retail fixed broadband services.”

Indeed, in recent years, amid the rapid evolution of the telecommunications market, Telstra has in turn expanded its portfolio of services, catering to evolving demand, with Telstra now offering a range of services broadly categorised across internet (home and mobile), mobile and home phones.

The emphasis now is on all-encompassing connectivity, and Telstra is positioning itself as a go-to provider. “The telecommunications industry is experiencing enormous growth; network traffic is growing faster than any other period of time and digital technology is changing our world,” Telstra states. “Telstra is at the heart of this change – and we’re helping make it happen by connecting everything to everyone.”

Home phone and internet

Telstra’s offerings for residential customers span its basic home phone plans to bundles, to NBN and broadband internet, with its home bundles combining many of its respective services in the one package, providing customers the one point of contact for a range of telecommunications services.

Included in Telstra bundles are home calls and internet (with data allowances and call inclusions varying dependent on the bundle), and access to Telstra Air (Telstra’s nationwide Wi-Fi network), with options for Foxtel, along with Telstra TV (Telstra’s video streaming device, providing access to a number of subscription video-on-demand services).

Meanwhile, Telstra offers both NBN and broadband plans designed to accommodate light through to heavy data users. Amid the rollout of the NBN, consumers are able to check via Telstra’s website as to whether they are eligible for an NBN plan in their area.

“As an NBN service provider, we assist your transition to the NBN network, and arrange your NBN appointment,” Telstra states of its NBN service. “With our range of bundles you can also add an entertainment package to help bring your home to life.”

Telstra’s bundles, NBN and broadband plans are available on month-to-month to 24-month contracts.

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Mobile plans and network

Meanwhile, in the mobile sphere, Telstra’s plans range from BYO (bring-your-own) mobile plans, to mobiles on a plan (pairing the latest smartphones with mobile plans), to SIM-only month-to-month plans, to mobile broadband plans, with consumers having a variety of post-paid and prepaid options to choose from, covering various call, text and data allowances.

Across Telstra’s various phone plans, consumers can also add different call, text and data packs, dependent on their plan and their needs.

As with its home plans, Telstra also offers entertainment options on its mobile plans, from music to sports, along with Telstra Air, with Telstra mobiles coming with a suite of various features and services.

“Your Telstra mobile comes with a range of features and services designed to make your life easier,” Telstra states. “Whether you want to have fun, stay social or manage your calls and messaging, we have a great value service to suit your needs.”

Of its mobile network, Telstra states that it is Australia’s largest and fastest. “Whether you’re looking for the latest mobile on a plan or prepaid, USB or Wi-Fi device, there’s only one mobile network to choose in Australia: the Telstra mobile network – the network without equal,” Telstra states.

Telstra states that its network covers more than 2.4 million square kilometres, while it is expanding its 4G network.

Of its 4G network, Telstra states: “Telstra 4G gives you faster streaming and less buffering in more places, delivering a better video experience, with typical download speeds of 2 Mbps – 50 Mbps (available to 4G devices) across an area that has the largest 4G coverage of any mobile network in Australia.”

Meanwhile, Telstra’s 4GX service is the next step up, providing a faster 4G service, with Telstra stating that it can deliver speeds up to two times as fast as its regular 4G on a compatible mobile device.

Telstra states that 4GX is being progressively rolled out, with it currently available in all capital city CBDs and selected suburban and regional areas.

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Account management services

Across its respective home and mobile services, Telstra provides a number of account management tools, which are available via its My Account service and Telstra 24×7 app.

Among the tools provided by My Account, and dependent on the user’s service, users can check estimated call and data usage, pay bills and save payment method details, manage prepaid and set up email billing.

“Depending on what type of services you have, My Account has something for you,” Telstra states of the service.

“Whether you have a prepaid service or an eligible postpaid mobile or home phone, internet or bundle, My Account lets you manage all your services online. And if you want to do many of these things on your mobile or tablet, download the Telstra 24×7 app once you’ve registered for My Account.”

My Account also provides eligible users access to the Telstra Thanks loyalty program, providing customers a range of offers, from movies to music to sports, with customers also able to collect flybuys points on different services and products.

The Telstra 24×7 app, like My Account, allows users to manage their account and services, providing the ability to do so from mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, with its dashboard designed to make it easy to manage services.

Customer service and bill payment options

Consumers in search of help can access a range of information via the Telstra website, categorised under various topics in its support section, while Telstra’s online CrowdSupport community provides a forum for users to pose questions and search for information.

Consumers are also able to contact Telstra by email via the Telstra website and directly by phone, with the 24×7 Chat function available via the website and the 24×7 app, with Telstra also using social media services Facebook and Twitter to communicate with consumers.

Telstra customers have the option of paying their bills via the Telstra website by credit card, bank account and PayPal, and additionally have the option of paying via BPay or direct debit, in person at an Australia Post office and by phone.

Telstra additionally operates a network of stores throughout the country (with consumers able to search for stores online), at which customers can pay their bills using cash, cheque, debit card or credit card.

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