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Telstra hikes landline prices

Business realities forced Telstra to increase prices for some fixed-line customers, Australia's top telco has said.

Starting 1 October, Telstra will increase access fees on half of its HomeLine plans, but it won't change access prices on bundles, it said. The prices of three HomeLine plans--Complete, Plus and Advance--will increase 2 cents per call, Telstra said.

Calls to 13/1300/1345 numbers from fixed lines will increase 5 cents to 35 cents for all Telstra customers, Telstra said. The price for 13 numbers is included in most mobile plans, and Telstra said calls to Telstra customer service will remain free.

"We know there's never a good time to make changes to prices but, like all companies, we need to periodically review our prices to ensure they reflect the cost of running our business," Telstra said in a blog post explaining the changes.

A Telstra spokeswoman declined to specify which business costs had increased. "We're not providing that level of detail given the commercial nature of this information."

Telstra said that it had kept some of the prices the same for nine years. That means "they've fallen by more than 19 per cent in real terms (when adjusted for CPI)," it said.

Telstra is also increasing the monthly access charge for not-for-profit and charity customers of its business fixed line plans. Telstra is killing its 0018 Easy Half Hour international calling service, which it said was not used by many people.

In addition, Telstra is changing the way it charges member, phone and casual mobile plans. The carrier will now charge per minute. "For example, a national voice call currently calculated at 50c per 30-second block, will now be charged at $1.00 per one-minute block, plus the applicable call connection fee," Telstra said.

Telstra said it won't change prices for low-income customers or pensioners.

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