Any suggestions on whose the best & cheapest telephone company?
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  1. #1
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    Any suggestions on whose the best & cheapest telephone company?

    I'm in the middle of a big blue with Telstra.
    I won't go into it apart from saying they screwed up big time & then sent me a threatening letter the likes of which you'd have to see to believe.
    As I have responded by threatening one of their head honchos personally with a compensation claim which I have started moving on today, I will keep the rest of this little corporate debacle under wraps for obvious reasons.
    However, after looking over the other phone companies around, I get the impression I'm wandering through a bloody minefield filled with con men deal
    Most make "Honest Johns Wholesale Cars" type of operators look like choir boys with all the hidden traps. eek!
    Has anyone got any phone company they can thoroughly recommend based on experience over a bit of time?
    I'm looking at 2 landlines, 2 mobiles plus possibly other account transfers if the deal is right.
    They have to operate Southern to Central Queensland Coastal area. I had a couple previously suggested but when I rang, although personal service was assured, I ended up conversing with an answering machine that forgot to return my call.
    Answering machines are a bit like that though mallet snail

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  2. #2
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    The place where I'm working three weeks a month in Brisbane is on AAPT... they mentioned something about 9c for calls the other day, and I can tell you if it's more than that, their bill must be into the millions.

    I found Primus good for all round pricing when I was doing the pre-dial thing. What I did to separate business and personal calls on the one phone was use Telstra only for personal calls.

    Then I'd pre-dial for Optus for some calls and Primus for others. I think it was local calls and some specific STD (maybe up to 200kms or something) on Primus, the other STD on Optus.

    The thing is with these things that you have to look at all the options and work out what suits you best.

    As for mobiles, I have five of them specifically for the freecalls. I have freecalls to Optus, Telstra and Vodafone mobiles, and freecalls to landlines included in the plans I have, as well as the included calls that come with the plan.

    Vodafone have a $3 for 10 mins deal for overseas calls to a limited number of countries, which is pretty good, Optus have an International rate that is the same as a landline cost for those calls.

    With both Optus and Vodafone you can get plans that give you an 'anytime of the day' freecall to one or more (depending on the plan) other Optus or Vodafone mobile number. Good if you're constantly in touch with someone in business.

    You just have to sort out what suits you.

  3. #3
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
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    Personally, I think Optus has the a very good telephony package - simple and attractive. AAPT has a very attractive package if you're not within the reach of the Optus cabled network. Telstra has several residential packages which are a bit confusing - and well, I don't think you need them to preach to you!

    Optus' prices when using the Telstra network are.

    15c local calls -$29.90 line rental (it'd be $25 if you were on the network). Bundle this with internet and you'll get up to 100 free local calls monthly.

    22c local calls - $24.90 line rental (you'd get 20c local calls for $20/mth if you were on the network). Up to 50 free local calls if bundled with internet. I've noticed that AAPT have 18.5c calls with a $24.90 monthly line rental, but there are differences with the long distance part of the deal.

    Long Distance calls are pretty simple - max $2 for any national call up to an hour, any time, any day (1hr Freetime). $1.50 for a call to a mobile till 20mins.

    Unfortunately, Alan, being outside BNE, SYD or MEL, you don't have access to the best packages - in areas where there isn't the Optus cable network, they just resell Telstra's lines (as do everyone apart from Optus In areas without Optus cabling, AAPT has a pretty good deal.

    Off the top of my head, Optus doesn't have any discounts for bundling residential telephony with mobiles. But they do offer discounts for this with TV & cable/dial up internet in cabled areas, and in non cabled areas, you can bundle phone with dial up internet to get some free local calls.

    For long distance calls - they've got fairly good simple rates (simple is the key - ie. available when you want it, not between strange hours). If you want cheap international calls, you can never go past the phone cards that the international students sell. Very cheap, and the quality is absolutely normal.

    The more I look into the various deals offered by the telcos, the more I wonder about why people stick with Telstra. If you shop around, you can really save some money.

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  4. #4
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    Pug307:
    The more I look into the various deals offered by the telcos, the more I wonder about why people stick with Telstra. If you shop around, you can really save some money.
    Justin,
    It's simple really - the hassle.
    Our combined business phone/mobile/business ADSL bill is between $900 and $1100/mth with Telstra - the biggest variable in our bill is how many calls we take on our 1300 number that come from interstate.

    I had an Optus salesperson trying to convince me they could save us big bucks... I asked them to calculate what our bill would have been if I faxed them a copy of ours. From memory the difference was around $30 to $40 - equal to a case of beer as I put it to them.

    Was it worth the hassle of signing lots of forms etc for a saving of less than 1/2 a percent? Nup.

    You are right about those international phone cards though - I've seen them down to 2 cents a minute to the UK/USA/Canada etc! Wow!

    Derek.

  5. #5
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Where and how does one get the International call cards?

  6. #6
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    Ray Bell:
    Where and how does one get the International call cards?
    Ray,

    There are always shops around train stations selling them - usually corner stores/newsagents run by asian proprietors.

    Companies that operate the cards include AppleComm, ChiTel.. can't think of any others off the top of my head. Just have a look there are always signs in the windows of shops that sell them. You buy them in say $10, $20 and $50 amounts.

    You usually have to make a local call to get access to them, and from then on it's their cheap rate.

    Derek.

  7. #7
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    Great website for phone carrier info:

    <a href="http://www.phonechoice.com.au" target="_blank">http://www.phonechoice.com.au</a>

    Derek

  8. #8
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    Derek,

    The problems we are having is with all the hidden traps that Telstra have; they ask you if you want your account on-line, then make it almost impossible to access it. Then when you ask for the amount, nobody can tell you. Then when they do, obviously nobody records the info so even after you've paid they start wanting to issue a summons for non payment a couple of weeks later and then they inform you that they are going to start charging $3.30 a month just to issue a paper bill. They make you all these fancy offers but don't mention that the previous agreement you made a couple of weeks earlier gets deleted as soon as you take up an offer on something entirely different. Read the fine print on the back of the account if you can find it & every month they have increased charges on something. deal
    Then when they return a call to an e-mail, snail they don't want to put anything in writing, they want to do it all over the phone & when I try to phone back to the number & extension I am given, I find I'm talking to an office on the other side of the country in WA!!
    I've had 'em, they're a bunch of incompetant, dishonest ******s.
    moon mallet

    Alan S a_drink
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  9. #9
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    Alan,

    I understand what you mean... I've had a similar problem before when Telstra first started it's 'Single Bill' system where everything you use with them is placed on one bill each month.

    I'm a little against using Optus (why support the Singaporean Government if you don't have to is my line of thought).

    My suggestion would be AAPT - I have used them for business lines in the past and been very happy.

    I wouldn't worry too much about where the person you speak to is sitting... You'll find most big companies are like that now. If I ring Telstra I tend to ask where they are if we're on the phone for a while. They must have a large call centre in Hobart cos I've spoken to a few people down there!

    On the same note we get people on the phone at work who are surprised we're in Sydney - in some of our advertising we don't advertise a location, only a 1300 phone number and web address. Of course you get the "oh my son was in Sydney last weekend" type conversations starting up then!

    Derek.

  10. #10
    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    I left AAPT when they started introducing charges for not spending a certain amount on STD and IDD per month. I was with Optus for a long time with no problems. It was just reselling Telstra, but prefer dealing with them to Telstra.

    My new place runs on Telstra and Internode as my ISP. We're barely home, so it doesn't impact us with who we use.
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  11. #11
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
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    DeKa:

    I'm a little against using Optus (why support the Singaporean Government if you don't have to is my line of thought).

    My suggestion would be AAPT - I have used them for business lines in the past and been very happy.
    AAPT is actually 100% owned by Telecom New Zealand Vodafone - 100% Pommy owned. Optus 100% owned by Singtel - but they all employ fellow Aussies.

    These days it's hard not to get away from foreign owned companies. Look at Qantas, it was actually much less Australian owned than Ansett for many years.

    Then the Kiwis got Ansett. Talk about a goldfish wanting to eat a whale for breakfast - what a bloody mistake, I guess there must be a lot of truth in this:

    Isn't the Kiwi meant to be a flightless bird
    <small>[ 28 March 2003, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: Pug307 ]</small>

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  12. #12
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    DeKa:
    Ray,

    There are always shops around train stations selling them - usually corner stores/newsagents run by asian proprietors.
    No wonder I've never seen them... never go to any of those places. Unless I'm in a screaming hurry trying to make up the time I'm losing on the road sticking to stupid speed limits!

  13. #13
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    DeKa:
    Great website for phone carrier info:

    <a href="http://www.phonechoice.com.au" target="_blank">http://www.phonechoice.com.au</a>

    Derek
    Derek,

    Thanks for that info, it gives a good comparison and a few alternatives I was unaware of before.
    whistle whistle
    Alan S
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  14. #14
    Fellow Frogger!
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    How is it that Telstra is still in business? Does anybody have time for them?
    After comparing rates on the phonecoice site, try "Southern Cross". They are based in Tasmania and IMHO give the best rates provided you are not after specials on week-ends/after 10pm., etc.
    One of their best features is the fact that when you ring them a real person replies and you don't have to suffer someone's assurance that you call is important to them and that it is time for you to learn more about classical music, so sit down and listen to Beethovens fifth.
    Southern Cross is also tops for mobiles, but they only handle CDMA.
    Give them a call on 1800 788 555. (nothing in it for me)

  15. #15
    Fellow Frogger! 505604's Avatar
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    I left AAPT when they started introducing charges for not spending a certain amount on STD and IDD per month.
    I've been with AAPT for a few years now and have never heard of that!

    In fact, I'm really happy with AAPT and have just finished using a weekend where the most I paid for long distance calls anywhere in OZ or NZ was $5.00 for the whole weekend (not including calls to mobiles). That was no matter how many calls I made, or how long I talked.

    It would have been even better value except that all phones in our area were out due to a thunderstorm at about lunchtime on Saturday and Telstra didn't come and fix the exchange until 6.30pm on Sunday.

    Andrew
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  16. #16
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    There's an opportunity...

    Thank Telstra for saving you money!

  17. #17
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    The last time I tried to log in a complaint to Telstra on their website I could
    not even log in through their complaint area, so in
    desperation I went to another customer service email point
    and asked that my complaint be logged as a complaint
    with the relevant department....of course heard nothing
    and the cunning so and so's have their emails set up so
    you don't even have a logged copy on you computer.

    A month later I was called to ask why I had left for
    Optus on two of my lines, and after giving them both
    barrels they claim to have fixed it (the basis for my complaint
    there and then on the computer... I'll still wait and see!!)

    I have little faith in Telstra after years of singing their
    praises, CUSTOMER SERVICE has gone by the board in the
    name of ????? What!!!

    Ken

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