You can’t help but congratulate Telstra for some of their recent changes.  Over a few years their prices have come down, customer service improved and various other changes all aimed at rescuing their well tarnished image as a Telco.

All of those changes haven’t had immediate impact, they will take some time before people start to really get back to Telstra.

However, today another major announcement which will have positive ramifications for all smartphone users.

By the end of 2011 – there will be no more excess data usage for Telstra postpaid phones within Australia (overseas roaming not included)

That’s right – NO excess data.  Using the ISP model, the mobile phone data speeds will be slowed down or ‘shaped’.

In addition, the SMS alert system will be upgraded to ensure data warnings are sent in almost real time.

This really is simple stuff, and as Telstra say in their announcement (Below), it’s part of a wider program to improve customer Satisfaction.

Make no mistake, Telstra have heard loud and clear what customers think – if anything they are keen to avoid a ‘VodaFail’ style backlash against their billing systems and customer service.

I can’t imagine why any customer would have a problem with this change.  If you are slowed, you can buy a top up for your plan to ensure you have your data back should you need it.

Are you a Telstra Customer? What do you think?

Full Telstra announcement below:

Telstra moves to reduce mobile phone bill shock

25 May 2011 – Telstra consumer mobile customers soon will be able to use their phone’s data service without the risk of an unexpectedly high bill, commonly known as “bill shock”.

They will be among the first in the world to have their data speeds slowed when they exceed their mobile data allowance and not be charged for excess domestic data usage. The changes are in development and will be launched by year’s end.

Telstra Chief Financial Officer John Stanhope, who will announce the plan in a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia today, said Australians were embracing datahungry smartphones in record numbers and Telstra recognised it could better protect its customers from surprise bills.

“Our customers deserve to be able to enjoy the full capabilities of their Telstra post-paid mobiles without fear of a large, unexpected bill. By slowing data speeds once a customer has exceeded their data allowance, and not charging for the extra data, customers stay connected without fear of a hit to the hip pocket,” Mr Stanhope said.

Customers who have used their data allowance will be able to top-up directly from their handsets to resume full-speed data services such as web browsing. Telstra’s existing data alerts system – which provides data usage alerts via SMS at 80 and 100 percent of the allowance – will also be upgraded so SMS alert messages are sent to customers in near real-time.

“The new service will make life much easier for our customers by providing them with greater certainty and control over their data usage and their bills. Data throttling complements recent increases to the included data allowances available through Telstra’s Freedom Connect Plans,” Mr Stanhope said.

Mr Stanhope also announced Telstra would improve information available to customers using mobile data services while overseas.

“Increasingly our customers are taking their smartphones with them on overseas trips as a convenient way to access travel information, email and maps. To help them stay on top of their data usage, Telstra is introducing regular SMS alerts that provide advice on the volume and costs associated with data they are consuming.”

Mr Stanhope said this new service was part of a wider program to improve customer satisfaction.

This program has included:

  • New point of sale ‘My Offer’ summaries which explain on a single page what is included and excluded in a mobile plan, along with applicable fees and charges.
  • PDF-format bills that can be sent directly and securely to a customer’s nominated email address, allowing them to receive their bill sooner.
  • 24/7 call centres for consumer and small business sales and enquiries so customers can now connect with Telstra at a time that suits them.
  • Telstra technician customer visits on the weekend
  • A dedicated team to help residential customers move house.
  • Free calls to Telstra’s main customer support and sales lines.
  • More competitive bundles and pricing plans.