For those who are new to Australia, there are three big players – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. These three act as the parent network carrier for a number of other virtual telecom services such as Virgin, Boost, etc. as per below.
Every one of us uses a smart device nowadays whether it be an Android, Apple or a Windows based phone but we need to make sure we use the full potential and capability of the device by using a network which will support different functionalities of the phone.
In Australia, below are the types of network and their frequencies provided by three major network carriers
Looking from above, they all look quite similar to a naïve consumer. The hardest question which comes to the mind – “Which telecom carrier should I contract with?”
Telstra has always been proud of their network coverage, covering up to 99.3% of the Australian population in 2.3 square million kilometres. On the contrary Optus covers about 98.5% of the Australia population in 1 square million kilometres. Vodafone covers approx. 96% of the Australian population.
Different customers have different needs based on their budget such as data usage per month, local and international calls made per month. The consumer market for telecom industry is huge – ranging from full time secondary student to a retiree. All the network carriers provide range of options and coverage
For a student – whether secondary or tertiary, budget or cost per month is the primary defining factor. The students would like maximum data at lowest possible cost, they would ideally like some free international calls and some local calls to contact family and friends. This market is a really sweet spot for Vodafone and then Optus.
For a full time employee and a business owner, the primary factor would be best network with the best network coverage with minimal disruption to the services and low cost per month. Telstra is the market leader in this sector with Optus being the second option, with not a major difference.
For a retiree, low cost per month and best network coverage is a priority. Probably a prepaid plan or a ‘sim only’ plan with any of the virtual network operators like Boost Mobile (using Telstra network) or Virgin Mobile (using Optus network) services is a better option.
Below is a chart from December 2015 for comparing the network services provided by Telstra, Optus, Virgin (running on Optus frequency) and Vodafone. It is quite fair to say Vodafone has the lowest customer satisfaction due to the disruptions with their network over the past couple of years.
It seems very strange for Telstra being a market leader with only 82% customers satisfied with the services. This could be due to a number of reasons
- Value for money – their plans are dearer as compared to Optus & Vodafone
- Customer Service – with their service call centres located overseas, it does make it hard for Australian consumers to have faith and trust in the customer executives. From personal experience, one executive detailed an offer incorrectly.
- In Store & 24×7 Chat Services – you could be waiting for a long time before you are served. The Telstra team apologises but as a wise man said once “Time is more valuable than money”.
No doubt Telstra is Australia’s biggest and fastest telecommunication provider to the Australian population. But over last couple of months, there had been couple of major outages – first one led to 16.7 million users without any telephone voice or data services, and second one led to 8 million users without telephony services and home phone line service in certain areas. The Telstra outages led Vodafone and Optus to run promotions to switch the services for the customers with one month free service.
To compensate the outage on 18th March 2016, Telstra offered customers with unlimited data to be used on Sunday 3rd April 2016 but this was another embarrassment due to low speeds as millions of customers tried to take benefit of this offer. Telstra has been trying to compete in this competitive market and listening to the needs and budget of their customers. They have already lowered down their monthly prices and trying to win the trust of their customers back. Telstra has also started a personal customer care executive scheme for each customer when they call, which is yet to be put to test by the consumers. These are some necessary steps which will help Telstra in improving their customer service and satisfaction over the near future.
What I believe is Telstra is still the leader but they do need to take necessary actions to make sure they stay the leader.
Feel free to share your thoughts – as a student, full time employee, a business owner or a retiree.
WhatPhone. (2016). Best Mobile Phone Coverage in Australia | Network Reviews. [online] Available at: http://whatphone.com.au/guides/mobile-phone-coverage/?utm_expid=90794222-12._esyTV7FRNeAcWf0reLuSA.0&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com.au%2F [Accessed 4 Apr. 2016].
Idd.com.au. (2016). Australian Mobile Providers – Carriers & MVNOs | IDD. [online] Available at: http://www.idd.com.au/mobile-providers.php [Accessed 4 Apr. 2016].
TheAustralian. (2016). Telstra wins court action against Optus over misleading advertising. [online] Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/telstra-wins-court-action-against-optus-over-misleading-advertising/story-e6frg8zx-1226830771529 [Accessed 4 Apr. 2016].
Anon, (2016). [online] Available at: https://www.telstra.com.au/coverage-networks/our-network [Accessed 4 Apr. 2016].