Telstra Reply to My Wireless Plan Requests

Posted on Thursday, September 9th, 2010 at 2:55 pm

This afternoon I was pleasantly surprised to finally get a formal reply from Telstra in relation to my requests for better value and higher quota wireless plans.  While the reply does not provide any new plans or added quota it is at least a step in the right direction by at least getting a quite detailed reply.  I felt it was only fair to add the reply to my web site so others could read it and so there is a reply to my other posts.  I have also received permission to reproduce this response directly from Telstra.

– START –

Thank you for taking the time to email BigPond® regarding your numerous issues with our wireless broadband plans. My name is Justin and I’m sorry that we had not replied to your last email in the stated time of 48 hours, as we’ve been experiencing an unexpected spike in our email traffic.

I would like to thank you for your patience, and rest assured we are working hard to reduce our current backlog. In regard to your stated points regarding the availability of our internet services, and in particular the fairness of the included value of our wireless broadband plans when measured against your needs, I will attempt to address them numerically, as you have originally stated them.

1. In regard to when we will see increases in wireless broadband usage allowances to make wireless usage fairer, my answer, regrettably, is that it is impossible to say. As someone who previously worked in the cancellations & customer loyalty area of BigPond previous to my current position, I can certainly confirm that this is a question asked by many customers, and is something we continually fed back to higher management when they asked us questions surrounding the reasons behind customer dissatisfaction and disconnection. Given ADSL and Cable usage allowances have been increased significantly throughout this year, I would certainly hope that further wireless plan changes occur before the year is out, but at present have no information as to what usage may increase to, or when these
changes may occur.

2. and 3. As a company, we aim not to ignore any of our customers, and your feedback truly is valuable. As I mentioned in my previous paragraph, though in isolation customers can often feel like their questions and requests are, though addressed at the basic ‘coal face’ of front line customer service, being ignored on a grander scale, when added to the chorus of many other wireless customers making comments about the very same issue, it becomes an issue that takes on a high level of importance to BigPond. I know for a fact that the cancellations team that I was part of previously was created for this very reason – to get direct and specific feedback from customers as they disconnected from us or wished to lodge an issue with us as to why this was occurring. This feedback was then provided to those individuals within the Telstra Consumer department who have the power to put forth proposals to executive management to get things changed. I can guarantee the issue you are principally mentioning has been heard by those who can put forth proposals, and what happens from here is now in the hands of high-level management.

In response to 4. and 5., I would like to state unequivocally that you are not viewed by BigPond as being less valued customers or discriminated against for being wireless broadband customers rather than ADSL or Cable customers. Unfortunately, given the location of your residence and the infrastructure available there at present, as you mention, we are only able to provide wireless, and as it is a much newer network, the usage allowances have started at a lower level than ADSL or Cable are currently at. I would make mention of the fact, however, that when I started at Telstra six years ago, the highest ADSL or Cable plan available was 12 GB as well. I am aware of how the internet has moved on since then in regards to social media, YouTube, Skype, online gaming, music and movie downloads and the like, but regrettably wireless has been a little slower to move on usage allowances than most users whose only option is wireless broadband would like. I can certainly respect your frustration with this, as I would likely react exactly the same way given the same situation confronting me. Know that we do value you as customers regardless of your method of access, however, and that as I mentioned previously, there are initiatives underway within Telstra to increase the value of our wireless broadband plans to bring them closer to the value of our other broadband offerings.

6. and 7. We would of course rather that you were our customers and stayed as such, but I acknowledge that it must be hard to continue to be a loyal customer when you feel your frustrations are not being heard or addressed. I can only offer as a response what I have written to you today, and the assurance that the issue is being looked at within the company as we speak. We appreciate that you have remained with us despite the usage allowance issues, and hope that before the year is out, that we are able to offer you a much better alternative to your current plan.

8. and 9. If you have received correspondence back from the Office of the CEO after sending letters through to them regarding the issue, despite some of them being what you refer to as ‘copy and paste’ responses, this may be the extent of the response you will receive via those particular means, regrettably. If you are dissatisfied with the response (or in some cases, lack of response) to your letters, the only alternative I can recommend would be to make a formal complaint via calling 13 22 00 and stating ‘complaints’ to the interactive voice recording, as it will then put your enquiry through to our complaints area, where you will be assigned a case manager who will pursue things to the absolute best of their ability.

In response to 10. , I can only refer back to what I have written earlier, particularly what I mentioned in regards to your fourth and fifth questions. As wireless is a much newer technology that is still expanding, and in certain geographical locations the only infrastructure that is available, the usage limits on it have been smaller as the network grows and adapts to the number of users connecting to it. Now that it has been around for four years, I would expect larger leaps in usage allowances to occur soon and more frequently in the future, but we, like any other telecommunications company, certainly do not set out with the intent of preventing wireless customers from enjoying the full extent of the internet. I apologise on Telstra’s behalf if you feel that this has been the case so far, and respect why you would feel that way.

I appreciate that my response may not be the ideal response you were looking to receive – but believe me when I say that if I could do anything directly to change your plan to something more accommodating, I would unquestionably do so. I would rather see a satisfied customer than a dissatisfied one. Hopefully with the National Broadband Network rolling out over the next few years, with priority now being placed on rural areas receiving it first, more pressure and competition will mean more meaningful change to the wireless broadband arena.

The only true recommendation I can make to you is that if you or another member of your family have an ABN, you would be eligible for what we call a Telstra Mobile Broadband service, which uses the same mobile network as BigPond Wireless Broadband but slightly different internet devices, and has a 20 GB wireless plan available for $159 per month. The ABN is a requirement as these plans have only ever been available to business customers, but could be a possible solution if you or someone you know has one. It would be a new 24 month contract, with a minimum total cost of $3816 over 24 months, but could certainly alleviate the usage stress a little. Let me know if you have an ABN and would like to know more, as I can go about getting this organised for you if this piqued your interest.

In conclusion, I hope this response has been of some assistance, and I am happy to provide further clarification on anything needed. I truly do appreciate the loyalty and patience you have shown us as a company, and hope that we can reward that loyalty accordingly in the near future.

Thank you for contacting BigPond.

Kind Regards,

Justin Blatchford
The BigPond Team
www.bigpond.com

– END –

Again while it does not provide a result of getting better value plans and higher quotas, at least my requests have been noted, have been commented on and I have a reply, finally.

Also we finally got a reply from Rebekah O’Flaherty on the Telstra Exchange web site as well, which is very much the same as the above just in a lot less words, but again at least we ‘finally’ got a response.

So where to now.  Well I have replied to Rebekah on Telstra Exchange to consider at least providing wireless users with a better shaping speed of 256kbps like ADSL and Cable will have later this month until we see some better value plans with more quota being provided.

Will I stop making so many posts at Telstra Exchange and Whirlpool, yes, but I will still make a few, I would not want you to think I have given up 🙂

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One Response to “Telstra Reply to My Wireless Plan Requests”

  1. Mark Ereira Says:

    Why has it taken so long to reply back, in a meaningful way, it is very frustrating and demeaning having to deal with junior staff, that seem like fob ramps, replying back with telstra site links, it may also interest you to know that most of us are well informed, and that such limited responses cause a lot of angst, that could have been prevented, and I furtherI make the point, that had Telstra taken its fingers out a lot sooner, and had the business accuman of promt responses to very genuine concerns, we would all benifit.

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