Telstra inks deal to offer retail services over NBN

27 Feb 2012

Australian fixed line incumbent Telstra will finally start selling retail fixed voice and broadband services over the National Broadband Network (NBN) after reaching a deal with the public-private company overseeing the construction and management of the network, NBN Co. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the agreement between Telstra and NBN Co comes as the former awaits approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for its revised structural separation undertaking (SSU), which, as previously reported by CommsUpdate, was resubmitted last week. Once the SSU is given the go-ahead Telstra and NBN Co will be able to finalise a deal valued at around AUD11 billion (USD11.78 billion) under which the incumbent will migrate all of its existing customers to the in-development NBN.

Telstra is the last of the country’s larger operators to have started retailing services over the NBN, with Optus, iiNet and Primus all having inked interim wholesale agreements earlier this year. On the back of the development, Telstra has announced its pricing for NBN services, including plans to keep customers paying for copper-based telephone connections for as long as possible; Telstra will require customers to continue renting a copper telephone line if they want a fixed voice service. Telstra’s executive director of customer service, Peter Jamieson, argued that the incumbent’s pricing is designed to mirror the broadband and voice bundles currently available over the copper network, noting: ‘We have taken the decision that it is much clearer for customers if the same pricing applies across the technologies … Copper services will still be available in NBN areas for some time to come. Telstra will activate voice services on [the] NBN once copper is decommissioned.’

The new tariffs will be available from tomorrow to customers already connected to the in-deployment fibre network, while those still on copper connections will also be able to sign up for the new packages. The cheapest option will see customers offered a fixed voice line plus broadband access at up to 25Mbps with a monthly 5GB usage cap for AUD80 per month. Telstra, meanwhile, has revealed that it will not sell any services at the entry-level speed of 12Mbps.