Why are phone calls so bad under NBN?

Ever since NBN rolled in, I’ve noticed that call quality can vary wildly. Both at work (big money IT, everything is VOIP) and at home (major network, good bars) one call can be crystal clear while the next is fuzzy, crackling, popping garbage where you literally can’t understand what is being said.

Sometimes the call quality is okay but a lag between when you say something and when the other guy hears it (and vice versa) will creep in, getting worse over time, until you’re suddenly talking over each other because your conversation is no longer in alignment.

I am vaguely aware that more and more calls are VOIP these days, even if you’re calling from a mobile, and that slow connection or ‘packet loss’ can result in poor quality connection - but I feel like it surely can’t be legal to charge for a service that is so unpredictably terrible. Right?

Is there anything we can do?

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Your situation doesn’t sound good. My solution was to ditch home phone (which would be VOIP) and use mobile only (using WIFI Calling. Care—most prepaids don’t allow this yet)). Not only is it cheaper but calls are clear despite my immediate area being a bad mobile signal area (Melbourne outer east). Even better: no spam calls, which my home phone-using neighbour is plagued with.

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It could be noise on your line from faulty connections, this is more possible if using FTTN as the copper runs can be deteriorated or from moisture in connections.

VOIP is data packets, typically not translated to noise on lines like the old POTS system suffered. Noise is interference outside of the data.

If you’re using wireless phones this could also be interference in your house affecting the quality of the signal from such things as electrical motors, microwaves, metal including wiring in the home.

If the noise is noticeable when particular calls are made (say to a friend you always call) the issue may be at their end.

It is worth asking your Retail Service Provider to do some line checks for you, if it is a fault in your line they hopefully will pick it up and can have it rectified.


Quoting : “Care—most prepaids don’t allow this yet”

This has changed very rapidly in recent months.

Telstra prepaid, Aldi prepaid, Catch Connect prepaid and Kogan Prepaid definitely DO allow WiFi calling.
They operate on Telstra network, Telstra network, Optus network and Vodafone network respectively.



Thanks for the update. I read last year VoLTE and WIFI calling were coming for prepaids but didn’t realise it was already here. Good news. All the same, I’ll stick with Boost.

Me too, home phone ditched as soon as unlimited calls became available. Resurrected VoIP service with SipTalk until VoWiFi and VoLTE became available on Woolies Mobile. It did not make sense to be paying for a VoIP service when mobile is perfectly adequate, these days.

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amaysim (owned by Optus) just joined the VoLTE/VoWiFi group. My plan is a grandfathered no longer offered postpaid PAYG.


Is that the $10/365 one? with dead cheap calls and texts? I also have that as my backup

No. It is 100% PAYG postpaid. It has zero inclusions. . My average month is under $1 to keep it alive. Last 3 mos was $0.38 total.

So $12 p/a plus usage. Mine is prepaid $10, and usage comes out of that. I like yours better. My balance can deplete just sitting on the bedside table (apps accessing the net… even though its set to use wifi only, it does not obey me.)

No, just usage. No base fee. I could keep the service for $0.48 a year all up (eg 1 call per 3 months) if that help clarify it. Having it as a backup when there has been zero Telstra coverage has been been invaluable.

It should be self-evident why they no longer offer that plan.

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