Changing Telstra Bundles. Welcome to my nightmare

Apologies if this is covered elsewhere.
We no longer use our landline and wanted to change our phone plan accordingly.
To do this and keep other services ie internet and Foxtel, it is cheaper to go to a different plan that still includes a landline but not use it, than to buy the things we do use separately. Our mobiles are independent of these plans.

So, having agreed to this new plan which is down to $99 per month from $165, we were quite happy until Foxtel turned up to install a satellite dish. Satellite dish? No one mentioned this. We don’t want one. Currently our internet comes through our TBox and is unaffected by weather etc as a satellite would be.

After talking to the technician we decide to stay with our old plan and I phone Telstra to organise this.

Well despite the fact that this is only a matter of days ago that we changed, we can’t change back because the TBox is old technology, obsolete and no longer offered. This is despite the fact that the TBox is sitting in front of me right now and I have been watching tv through it all night although apparently we are on our “new” plan.

So right now, we haven’t got a clue as to what we should do apart from organise to have the satellite dish put up and suck it up. WIth NBN supposedly coming here in 2 years, (we are in the city and it is all around us) what the future holds and what our needs will be is very unclear. It seems some people will have cable and some won’t.
Has anyone else encountered this and figured out the best way to get internet and basic Foxtel? Happy to live without Foxtel but we need a lot of internet.

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Sounds too familiar! We accepted one of their (Telstra) over the phone offers to end up with Foxtel and a supposedly cost saving bundle. After seeing the hard contract (actually, we got three different versions), we decided to exercise our cooling off rights. I strongly suggest you do anything in writing via registered mail, as otherwise, it won’t be acted on (in our bitter experience) and later they will claim it appeared way late (untrue in our case). Like you, we were told we couldn’t go back to our old contract (go figure?). You might also want to look over your new contract, as it is likely aimed at signing you onto a 2+ year contract to ensure you don’t jump ship when the NBN finally does arrive. Anyway, the solution, which is still painful, is to go to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman site and formally complain. Chronicle everything. You will then have to deal with a Telstra person by phone, and their ability to re-instate your old system may not work perfectly (surprise!) - check the first couple of invoices very very carefully, as in our case all sorts of new and unwanted “services/charges” showed up. Keep the direct phone number of the contact person, or request (you have the right) to communicate via email, as this gives you a written correspondence trail. We found the latter better. Again, I have kept notes and saved all files to validate our experience. It took us a full 4 months to “un-do” what was our legal right, and should have been virtually instant. Obviously, every single problem in this process benefited Telstra and not us. Odd that. There really should be a formal Inquiry into this level of incompetence and predatory marketing, but I have so far been unable to motivate this. And yes, the reason we were able to land on this effectively is that we had several friends who had already passed through this purgatory and offered advice. B+

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Thanks, B. Good advice but not looking forward to acting on it. Already I have spent so much time on the phone!
The contract has just arrived in the mail today and I have yet to look at it.

I agree with you about a formal enquiry. Why should individuals have to go on such a steep learning curve just to alter things or in our case, to stop paying for a landline we no longer use?

Yes, sounds like we might have to get the Ombudsman involved.I was unfortunate enough to require their services once before for a Virgin mobile phone that was a lemon. Once they became involved, months of wrangling was immediately solved!

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Hi @uptightoutasight,

Getting the right internet bundle can be confusing. Personally speaking, I always get a touch of ‘information overload’ when cruising these ‘bundled offers’, especially if I haven’t looked in a while. With so many “bonuses” flying around, it all starts to feel a bit too much like Las Vegas to me.

It’s up to each individual to consider their personal circumstances when choosing a plan bundle offer, so please consider the following as general advice only. However, hopefully I can offer a few pointers that can help reduce the gamble, assuming you are not locked in to a contract.

Firstly, I’d encourage you to take a brief look at the following two articles from CHOICE, our ISP satisfaction survey (about 18 months old at the time of writing this post) and this article on Telstra plans compared. While some of the plans have changed, it should still help to give you an idea of the type of deals (and savings) available on the market. You can also compare broadband bundles live on Whistleout (be aware of sponsored posts and the like though).

From visiting those sites, hopefully you have noticed a few high or unlimited data internet plans from reputable providers that could potentially save you some dollars. Then, even if you purchase the Foxtel basic package on its own, you should still end up with a cheaper overall deal. Since the Foxtel satellite dish issue also has you a bit miffed, I’d encourage you to check out this list of streaming services compared. Many of these streaming services only require downloading an app. Just a note, you could also download the Foxtel Go app and use this on your Smart TV, or via a laptop or gaming console and refuse the satellite dish as a possible solution.

Regarding your T-Box, it looks like support is still going to some degree, but eventually they will stop working altogether. Just like with cars, the T-Box has been replaced with a newer model. Hope this helps unmuddy the waters a little, let us know how you get along with it all.

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We also don’t use our landline. When we had ADSL it was understandable that we needed the phone connection in order to access the Internet, but now we have fibre to the premises NBN broadband, the phone is reliant on the Internet connection and no longer the other way around. In order to get a phone signal, our phone has to be plugged into the Telstra supplied modem or there simply isn’t a dial tone. At the end of last year, we moved house and Telstra actually cut our landline phone off a month too early, yet we could still access the Internet, which shows that the landline is no longer a requirement in order to get the Internet once you have an NBN connection. So I called Telstra to see if we could get an Internet only plan and just ditch the phone completely. We use mobile phones which are much more reliable than any NBN reliant phone because they still work in a power cut. If you lose power to your NBN Modem and/or your NBN inside the house box you can kiss your landline goodbye until the power comes back on. The person I spoke to in sales at Telstra told me that they don’t do Internet only plans, even though it’s capable for NBN connected households. We still got charged for the full landline and Internet service for the month that we had no landline phone connection. We contacted Telstra about this when the phone first died and they said nothing could be done about reducing our bill until the bill actually arrived. When the bill arrived we called again and the woman in charge of our case asked if the phone was working again now we had moved into our new house. The answer was yes, so she promptly closed the case and hung up on me. We ended up having to pay the full amount for the month when we had no landline. Tried recontacting Telstra about it again, but they don’t seem to be interested in following up by actually replying to my emails and phone calls. We’d love an Internet only plan. If only Telstra had one that we could switch to though. Forcing people to have a landline when it’s no longer a pre-requisite for Internet access is simply a cash grab by Telstra’s greedy bean counters.

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Thanks, Brendan. This is helpful.

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N, I was speaking to someone who used to work for Telstra and although I can’t recall exact details, the number of calls handled is more important to the company than solving your issue from the employees point of view. Another messed up set of priorities. This is probably why your caseworker hung up.

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Guys, the answer here in really simple. Dump Telstra. They are FAR from the only game it town and you can get internet only services on nbn very easily, at much lower cost, and with good customer service if you look at players like internode or iinet.

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Unfortunately here in Tassie, Telstra seem to be the only ones who have anything close to locally based tech support and we got stuck with them when we initially had the NBN connected at our old house due to NBN Co ballsing a few things up and the other Telco’s telling us they couldn’t do anything about it as they were all based on the mainland. Telstra actually got the problems solved, but now we’re stuck in a 2 year contract for a bit. Telstra also has the monopoly when it comes to bandwidth via the Bass Strait and other providers have to lease it from them. Telstra therefore gets better NBN speeds and delivers a better service, even if it is a sub standard service via hardware that needs restarting at random intervals.

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I have the opposite problem. I want to keep my landline when I change over to the NBN. This seems a problem so I am holding on to my ADSL as long as possible. As we don’t have a mobile phone service that works inside and
have to go outside and wave the phone around in the paddock to maybe get service we need the landline to stay connected when the power goes off which it does regularly. Maybe there’s a way around this but I get so tired of ringing Telstra and getting yet another version of what is available and the cost. I find changing plans etc overwhelming.

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There is an option to have a battery backed up NBN installation, but I’m not sure of the price difference for installation and for plan costs if there is a difference. They usually only install it if you have a back to base alarm system or a medical condition that requires a constant phone connection. I once asked what it would cost to convert our NBN box to a battery backed up option and Telstra said it would involve rewiring the fibre connections to the house from the street because of something about the infrastructure needing to be different to how it was originally wired. So we’d be at least a week with no service at all while we waited for team two to turn up to reconnect us after team one had disconnected us. Not quite sure what it all meant, but it would also involve a fee of about $95 I think it was to reinstall everything, and then I’d have to forfeit my existing NBN plan and change to a new one, which would incur a new connection fee, even though I was already connected. Yup, it’s overly complicated, or so it seems to be when phone staff try and explain it all to you.

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Hang in there @penlexa2002. It can feel overwhelming, but when the time comes to switch over, don’t settle for a bad deal that will cost you in the long run either. As mentioned by @NubglummerySnr, there is a back-up battery pack to cover power outages.

Have a look at Whistleout to get an idea of some of the plans available on the market (there were 50 ADSL2 plans when I checked). For example, these bundles from TPG have the option of ‘unlimited calls’ for $50 - $70 per month, and here are some similar options from iiNet. If you find a plan that you like, feel free to start a post here in the Community to get further feedback and advice. Good luck!

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Hi penlexa2002, your landline will cease to exist after the switchover to NBN; you won’t have the option to keep it. Our informative article on the NBN rollout is here

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The copper wire network stays in place once the NBN is rolled out for a further 18 months before it gets disconnected, which it also mentions in the article you just gave a link to. :slight_smile:
Once the NBN is available though, any new Internet or phone connections will be forced to use the NBN infrastructure. When we moved house a couple of years ago, we were coming from a copper network region and moving to an area marked as NBN ready, even though it wasn’t actually connected to our new house because NBN Co didn’t have permission from Telstra to use the poles in our driveway to connect the optic fibre cables to. It took a good 6 weeks before we had a working Internet or phone connection because even though there were copper wires still in place and we could get a phone signal at the new house, we weren’t allowed to simply transfer our old ADSL plan to the new house while we waited for NBN Co to sort themselves out.

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Hi penlexa2002. We have had NBN in Armidale NSW for over 3 years so we have seen the issues that everyone is experiencing during the rollout. We have been with TPG at our old house and now in our new house and our internet is not connected with our landline.
The reason for this is that the NBN termination box has 2 RJ11 UNI-V ports for voice and 4 RJ45 UNI-D ports for data. Some ISP’s use the respective ports for their specific use while others only use the data port and provide a VOIP phone service through the internet service, so checking with the respective ISP should hopefully clarify that. This latter setup will cause issues if the internet goes down as it takes your phone service with it but it is a way in which ISP’s use to provide cheaper plans.
TPG in our experience use one of the UNI-V ports for our phone and one of the UNI-D ports for our internet and in the event that the internet goes down the phone still works. If power goes down, the NBN battery backup keeps both services running and our Uniden Cordless, (Choice recommended), with its battery backup stays up also.
The service has proven reliable with us so far we can’t advise on TPG’s customer service as we haven’t had the need to use it yet.
Maybe get onto TPG’s website and have a look at their bundled plans because we are not high end users so their $49.99 plan works for us both for internet and phone usage which includes free local and national calls.

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Telstra are a mystery to themselves. I rang complaining about slow down loads and a young lady said " I can help you " Good I say then in the post arrived 3 sim cards ,1 new modem and then started all our problems getting bills for things we did not have or want . Endless calls and even demanding to speak to supervisors who assured us everything would be sorted and refunds, sent sim cards back to Telstra etc etc etc and STILL!!! we are receiving bills of $400 when it should be half that and NO refunds. I am thinking of going to Optus to see what can do or my local Federal MP.

There are very few plans listed on Whistleout and you have to dig rather hard to find cheap basic plans that are ok for some people.

Also, there are many providers offering unlimited plans that do not provide enough bandwidth for the nightly peak. thus evening Netflix viewing can be troublesome.

Checkout Whirlpool, but don’t necessarily take the first piece of advice, but do some reading and follow up with your own research on providers websites.

If you are in a lostworld, it may be worth paying a local computer guy for half an hour of advice (make sure he is not selling on commission).

iiNet and TPG (and Internode) are the same company with different store fronts.

Regarding Battery backup for NBN, these are not available for FttNode (or Fixed Wireless), but you could install a UPS yourself.

Unless you are in a fixed wireless area, where the plan is to leave the exchange switched on.

I have been going through a nightmare since October with Telstra/NBN. Our area has the “co-existence” thing which means copper to the house (for another 18-24 months!). Every time there’s a storm, we lose internet and therefor the landline. I have a medical priority against my account, but NBN doesn’t recognise that so if waiting on NBN assistance, the wait could be days/weeks. I have kept a written record of everything since last October. I’m having absolutely no success with requesting credits for non-service - complaints case managers who simply don’t call back. Eventually, after checking http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/customer-service-guarantee-for-phone-users-faqs and reading what I was entitled to, I’ve lodged a complaint with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and waiting for their response. Telstra should not be allowed to continue getting away with not honouring their respective contracts to provide service.

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Why not try Southern Phone. At least their call centre is in Australia and they employ Australians. Here in Tassie all service is supplied via Telstra’s equipment, or via Optus of available and you insist.