CHOICE membership

Telstra to axe 8000 to improve customer service?



One must admit that conclusion would not be obvious watching either of our major parties :frowning: [quote=“david4, post:20, topic:15628”]
everyone with any expertise advised against it. Howard went ahead anyway.

What is expertise when a party leader can get the answer they want from somewhere, anywhere, to justify what they do? It has been demonstrated that when the Liberals create an emergency they are able to pincer the ALP into joining the hand wringing rather than exposing the facts of the matters. Both sides primarily serve ‘the money’ when in government, and in our case ‘the money’ is quite concentrated so they would serve us at their peril unless they had far better PR nous than they have demonstrated in recent times.[quote=“david4, post:20, topic:15628”]
Now, we have an opportunity to acquire the assets that Telstra plans to split off into “InfraCo” and combine them with whatever becomes of the NBN

Such a ‘negotiation’ could be exciting.

‘We have met the enemy and he is us.’ - Pogo

We keep electing them despite their track record(s).


BLANSTON Brlng back the P.M.G.


What do we wish for here?

A 100% Australian solution to our needs would suggest our internet should only ever connect to other places in Australia, that our cars and TV’s are 100% Aussie made from Aussie raw materials, and Aussie Google only answers questions about Australia.

We could look to Cuba for Guidance on how this works?

It’s also true ‘Telstra International Phillipines Inc’ is part of Telstra’s strategy. I see this as cost reducing, and it’s investing over seas ( wow! ).

Yes, I do need to accept that my improper pronunciation of English must be difficult for the service support staff. I promise to try better every time.

In return I get to use Amazon, own a cheapish Korean flatscreen, and have a PC that uses a computer chip that post dates Australian semiconductor manufacturing shutting down 3 decades ago.

There is a much broader discussion needed as @TheBBG has pointed out in his responses. There also is more we can do.

I’ve recently written to my local Federal MP and the opposition shadow Minister for Communications with concerns I have over relating to the NBN and my circumstances.

For all that might be wrong with Telstra in my humble and poorly informed view - it’s the way nationally we provide these services that needs to be fixed.

Fortunately our National Highway network has not been privatised in a similar way, yet!


The tactics are eerily reminiscent of Buchanan. I’ve yet to decide whether the way we’re heading is best characterised as Totalitarian Capitalism or Inverted Totalitarianism. Either way, the most substantial risks to Australia’s society and democracy at present are posed by excesses of Capitalism.

Or at least Telecom (before it was corporatised).

It depends on which “we” you mean:

  • If it’s “we”, the corporate suit, then what “we” wish for is maximum quarterly profit. That generally means cutting corners and providing the poorest service that “we” can get away with.
  • If it’s “we” the consumer , then what “we” wish for is maximum service at minimum price (which tends to play into the hands of the suit).

My own wish is documented here. Basically, the return to public ownership of our telecommunications infrastructure. That’s where the private sector has proven a dismal failure. Not that it’s done so well at the retail end of the market.


I moved to Southport QLD in 1971 and applied for a phone. My house was just a few km from the ocean in an established area. 2 years was the estimate. Estimates are sometimes worst case formalities but I left Southport a year later still without a phone. It was so good. (/slight sarcasm)


The products we all consume are a compromise between price, quality, function/service. Competition is good for the consumer. It enables a wider selection and variety of price points. Telstra is just another service provider.

A monopoly is likely to put the consumer second in value or in service or both? It is also likely to offer limited choices and does not need to respond to consumer demands.

Yes, as you have so well put elsewhere there is much wrong with today’s outcomes. There are other ways we might have progressed. Perhaps your observations are more about the future of the NBN and less about the Telstra of today?

There may be a significant argument to revisit the soon to be (next term of Federal Parliament) privitisation of the NBN. It could be split to bring the national interconnected network to every exchange and tower to one national entity. A similar strategy to the national highway network. Direct costs to the nation. The alternative - Imagine the reaction if the national highway network was to be sold to a single private owner. Imagine every highway a toll road returning 8% on the purchase price after interest on the new owners purchase cost and daily maintenance. I would hope not? We appear to be on this path for the NBN!

Currently the privitisation of the NBN is not on the public radar of our politicians. It may be the poisoned chalice to be avoided by both sides leading into any election. I have omitted further comment on the future of the NBN and its services. The whole of any discussion on the future of the NBN and NBN Co is a topic deserving of separation from how well Telstra can deliver the consumer experience with 8,000 fewer employees.

It is far from desirable to see 8,000 jobs go from any industry. However the car industry, the mining down turn, The restructuring of the steel production industry (eg BHP) and who knows how many other businesses have seen far worse.

The die for Telstra has already been cast. As a share holder:
Telstra as I read it is doing no more than any other private enterprise needing to repositioning itself for the future. Telstra could not reasonably resume any role in managing a national network while simultaneously competing in the retail sphere. For it’s share holders including all those funds now in super it may be a very bleak outlook if Telstra sits on it’s hands and fades into receivership.

Look to the fate of TAA and Ansett and just how much better our current airline industry is. This has not been without pain. I have no desire to paying two weeks pay to fly Brisbane - Sydney return. And despite what rural centres say - the cost of flying to these now compared to 50 years ago is less costly in real terms. I have no desire to spend all day on a milk run to Mt Isa in a rattling DC3 or screaming F27.

I could feel responsible in that some how just like the butterfly flapping it’s wings on the other side of the globe, my decision to move from Telstra dial up to a Telstra CDMA data card started something bigger! If only I had kept that telex machine all would still be well.

I share no guilt here as I too remember the past.
Was that the Telstra that brought us analogue mobile phones? And then shut it down.
Was that the Telstra that brought us CDMA? And then shut it down.
Was that the Telstra that pretended there was no 3G and brought us NextG? And then told us to buy a Telstra branded NextG phone.
What next for 3G now that 4G is here and 5G around the corner?

True, it is hard to blame the PMG for such confusion. They seemed to transition well from bicycles and telegrams to the Honda Postie bike and Bedford van. Perhaps a stretch too far back. Bureaucratic inertia was not such an issue when stamps were 2d.

The transition to Telstra simply gave the same system an unlimited license to spend. Hence:
Telstra committed to CDMA then left us all hanging. So out went my CDMA PCMIA card and in went the NextG/3G PCMIA card and oh no, now I needed a USB dongle for Next G. Yes I had great service. Unlimited data for 20hrs a month at up to 21 Mb/s. Except it only ever worked at the old CDMA speeds or even less downloading email. All because if you were not in Sydney the local tower had to connect over copper or limited microwave links all with dial up speeds back to the email server at the other side of Australia.

The past appears no more sensible than the present.

I still rejoice as I can now get 4G and speed test at 20-40Mb/s in less than an ideal location. I can even get Telstra to download my email at 100 times the speed of dial up nearly any where I go for a fraction of what I paid 10 years prior.

The Telstra of old gave neither service nor low cost. That is unless you could see the harbour bridge from your office window? Perhaps even as far as Point Piper and Manly, but never as far as where I lived until Optus and Vodafone took up the cause.

As some one with a financial interest through Super in Telstra should I ask for it to be given back a monopoly? To charge as it needs to pay a high dividend while delivering an incomplete and expensive solution? Or should Telstra take a different path, sell off it’s retail network and buy the NBN? To charge as it needs to pay back it’s borrowings plus 8% after interest and taxes and operating costs?


Is it? Always?

OK, so:

  • how many roads connect with your driveway, that you can choose from?
  • how many electricity supply lines connect to your house, that you can choose from?
  • how many water supply lines connect to your house, that you can choose from?
  • how many sewer lines connect to your house, that you can choose from?

Is it possible that some things are natural monopolies? Is it possible that telecommunications infrastructure is among them?

If we’re stuck with a monopoly anyway (as in natural monopoly), are we better off with a private sector monopoly or one that we, the consumer/taxpayer, control? Bearing in mind that the ultimate source of every dollar spent on the infrastructure is we, the consumer/taxpayer, do we get optimum value our investment if each extra dollar is spent on expanding the network? Is it more valuable to cover the same bits of country over and over?

A cogent example at present is TPG. They intend building a mobile network that will cover 80% of the population. Will that coverage be in markets that are not currently served? Will it be in markets that are already served to excess? Which markets are most profitable? Will TPG build their network, without expecting payment? Who will ultimately pay?

As I’ve said:[quote=“david4, post:20, topic:15628”]
The private sector needs to cherry-pick the most lucrative markets. The nation needs the infrastructure to serve the whole. The two are incompatible.
The private sector and infrastructure are a recipe for disaster - which is why Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure is such a mess. Which is why we needed the NBN, which is little more than a project to repair some of the harm done by privatisation.

Yet again: the private sector and any form of monopoly is a recipe for disaster. I too have a financial interest in Telstra. I bought T1 shares (and pity anyone who bought T2).

So no, Telstra should not be granted any monopoly. Nor should any other private sector entity.

It can be argued that the cost of the network is far less than its value. Providing services on the network at no charge might well optimise its value. Of course, for the private sector, that’s out of the question.

A single network should optimise coverage. At present, we have multiple overlapping networks in the most lucrative markets, while other markets are served inadequately, if at all. A single network, to which all retailers have equal access, would maximise competition.

To quote from the link above:

When John Howard completed the privatisation of Telstra, while leaving the network under Telstra’s ownership, he created a monster. The optimum for effective retail-sector competition is not to have the majority of the infrastructure owned by the dominant retailer. That beast must be neutered.

The broader issue is conflict of interest arising from association of a retailer of services with a wholesaler of such services and/or an owner of relevant infrastructure. One obvious remedy is legislation against such associations.

The effect of separating wholesalers and infrastructure owners from their retail arms would be to open up the retail sector. Deprived of in-house retailers, wholesalers and infrastructure providers would have little option but to provide product to any retailer. Sadly, history has shown that it would probably be necessary to legislate that this be done on fair & equitable terms. It would also open avenues for resuming public ownership of infrastructure assets.

That would be a good start.


So where does that leave Telstra and it’s customers?


Saw Mr Penn’s interview on 7.30 Report, he just kept saying the spiel that was in the initial release. How can they say sacking 8000 jobs will give better service, in my experience the less people employed the longer you wait. I’ve heard off people waiting 3 week for Telstra to flip a switch at the exchange when they move to new providers. this will only get worse.
Then there’s the fact if something goes wrong with your service your waiting days for a Telstra technician to see what is wrong and if your with another provider similar experience and I’ve had that one.
The sacking helpfully will be from the top down not the other direction because it that happens Telstra may as well shut its doors because service too customers immediately should be their ultimate aim and not 'wait a few weeks and we’ll come to you.


Telstra must be a complex beast. My dealings with the hydra for more than 40years both privately and thru work suggests so. Can we reliably judge the decison in this instance?

As consumers we see only the outcomes and little of how an organisation functions internally. Unless you are an insider to Telstra it is unlikely any of us can offer true insight to how the reductions in staff will assist achieving the aim.

What we may be missing in the public debate is the balance of Telstra’s plan for change and restructure. Even if we could see this in full very few of us are likely to have the organisational knowledge of Telstra, experience in restructure or technical understanding to offer informed comment.

Hence, the common fears of most of us concerning the loss to Telstra of 8,000 experienced staff. The expectation that service can only get worse as a consequence.

Only time will provide more clarity. I hope it goes well for all of us.


As a Telstra customer continually frustrated by lack of service and being shoved from department to department for any issue, it reminds me of the rules discovered in 40 years as a manager in a very large industrial organisation. If you have 20% more people than you need to do a job, total output falls 10%. if you have 50% more people than what you need to do a job , output falls 25% , and if you have 100% more people than you need to do a job, output drops to less than a third. In Telstra’s case from my experience as a frustrated customer, there are silos and silos of departments and people all trying their best to carve out their place, and frustrating all the other departments that could do the same job, who are equally trying to hold their own turf. One highlight in trying to get a warranty claim through was to have half the staff of a Telstra store cheering while I had their own phone on speaker while I read the riot act on Australian consumer lay to the “warranties department” somewhere else. I commend the CEO for taking action. Telstra is a massive bloated bureaucracy hated by their remaining customers with no future at all if this is not sorted out.


Assuming the “that” in question is legislated structural separation, it leaves Telstra split into retail and wholesale/infrastructure bodies. That’s pretty much what the “InfraComentioned in the ABC report would do.

Major differences are:

  • InfraCo will hold only fixed-line assets. Full structural separation involves all network assets;
  • Telstra is establishing InfraCo on its own initiative. The obvious intent is to sell it off to evade responsibility for the legacy network and;
  • there’s no requirement for InfraCo to allow equitable access to other retailers.

Given full structural separation and enforced equitable network access for anyone who wants to sell telecommunications services, it potentially leaves customers with a far greater choice of retailers. I fancy the competition would quickly kill off Telstra retail. Some customers will go for price, others will favour service.

On another point, assuming separation is achieved through the de-merger process mentioned in the post linked above, it would leave shareholders with shares in both the retail and wholesale/infrastructure entities, proportional to their Telstra holdings. Experience shows that, at least initially, de-mergers commonly lead to the sum total market value of the new entities being substantially higher than the value of the single entity before the split. The initial impact should be a rise in shareholder value.


They are all selling things off and these private companies are only in it for running it like a business not a service.Everywhere you see with all of our infrastructure roads we drive on are poorly made now because they use recycled materials i might be going of the track what i am talking about here but private companies either way are only running it as a business trying to save money. Just like the phone companies how they are all cost cutting.


Love the spin:

working to empower our people and serve our customers.


So they’re closing 78 centres and opening 28 - to improve service? By that logic, Telstra will be delivering perfect service when they employ nobody at all.


I think you mean politicians, not ‘government’. Politicians decided that a national telecommunications network should be sold off, politicians decided to keep it a monopoly, politicians decided that FTTP was ‘too expensive’. They ignored government experts every step of the way, and so we ended up with the current morass.

Unfortunately our politicians over the last 30 years have fallen for the Chicago school of economics, which claims that we all act rationally and in our own self-interest at all times. It also encouraged ‘small government’ and claimed that regulation got in the way of market forces to the detriment of consumers.

In reality this neo-classical ideology has been thoroughly discredited, but we still see it raise its head with tax cuts for the wealthy (supply side economics) and ‘government is the problem’.

I have no problem with capitalism that is properly regulated. At the moment our government is doing everything possible to deregulate markets, resulting in monopolies and cartels that make a few richer and the majority poorer.

Competition is not always the answer; a ‘free’ market is even less of an answer, as Charles Dickens attested.

Finally, I have mentioned elsewhere in these fora that InfraCo sounds like a way for Telstra to get out of business areas it doesn’t want. The company has decided that it doesn’t want to compete against NBN Co, and so is getting rid of its fixed line assets. Watch InfraCo get stripped of anything valuable over the next few years, and then go belly-up.


No, I meant government. ‘A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a state.’ Those are our pollies. Public servants and their agency heads execute policy as best they can as you indicated, but they do not govern.

Hence the party or coalition that wins an election is ‘the government’. Semantics can be played and governments that listen to their public service generally do a better job for the country than those that freelance like the current mob. Excepting for use of language we are not in any disagreement.