Telstra – The evolution of a product a brand and a service
29 August 2016
Mark Ronald Harding
I started my working life on the first day of February 1983, working for Telecom Australia the government owned Telephone Company as an Apprentice Telecommunications Technician. During the next 30 years Telecom Australia has become Telstra, was became a private company and moved from a telephone provider with rotary telephones to an information, internet and video company. Telstra is a product, a brand and a service operating as a minor player on the global stage while being the dominant provider in Australia.
With the rapid change in the telecommunications industry Telstra is set up to face the challenges that will come as technology changes and usage moves to more video and data usage into the future.
Telstra is Australia’s largest telecommunications and information services company, offering a full range of communications services and competing in all telecommunications markets.
Telstra provides the network infrastructure to allow services to:
17.2 million mobile services,
7.0 million fixed voice services and
3.4 million retail fixed broadband services.
It also has an international presence in 22 countries
Main switch room, Central Telephone Exchange, Wills Street 1908 – Telstra.com
Telstra’s origins date back to 1901, and Australian Federation, when the Postmaster-General’s Department (PMG) was established by the Commonwealth Government to manage all domestic telephone, telegraph and postal services. For generations the PMG, Telecom, and now Telstra has been synonymous with the provision of telecommunications services, and products. You were obligated to use their telephones and services, with no options on cost or products. With the opening up of the Australian network to competition with the sale of AUSAT and a second license, this became OPTUS who is the second largest provider in Australia.
Telstra provides a full suite of services across Australia and has the largest Mobile network coverage of any network.
Telstra has had 7 major network outages in the first 6 months of 2016, this has damaged the Telstra brand, In an article on ABC news a spokesman from Choice, Tom Godfrey said an analysis of 280 telecommunications plans revealed some Telstra customers were paying up to 92 per cent more than other consumers for their home broadband internet and up to 35 per cent more for their mobile plan.
The telecommunications ombudsman indicated that in the first quarter there were a total of 31,297 complaints during the quarter, an increase of 5.6 per cent during the same period in 2015.
The premium service brand has been damaged and some will question whether Telstra can maintain the premium rates when the network is not as sturdy as it is claiming to be.
As seen below the network coverage is best with Telstra but due to Telstra’s premium status the expectations are higher and the satisfaction is lower. Also Virgin uses the Optus network but due to better branding has a higher satisfaction result.
Currently the Australian government is rolling out a national fibre network to improve the access for every Australian to have the opportunity to access fast internet and other telecommunications services. This will mean that Telstra’s copper network will become redundant (or at least owned by NBN) and all the competition will not be required to provide a national infrastructure, this will allow for new players both local and international to be able to quickly and easily enter the market. America’s AT&T is currently retraining is 280,000 staff for the new products and services that will be available in 2020(ATT). Telstra does not have the size or capability to match the products being rolled out so will have to be agile in its branding but must have a very reliable service to offer customers.
The next 4 years will see more changes in the telecommunication industry than has ben seen in the last 32, and will continue to accelerate in speed and need for consistent service levels and agile operators to take advantage of any opportunities, whether Telstra will be left behind, time will tell… Watch this space……
- ABC News. (2016). Telstra customers could break fixed contracts due to outages, Choice warns http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-11/telstra-customers-could-break-fixed-contracts-due-to-outages/7584918 [Accesssed 21 Aug. 2016]
- ATT, (2016) 2020 Pivoting our future (ATT) internal document
- Carter, L. (2016). Telstra outage continues as internet service complaints rise across Australia. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-24/telstra-outage-continues-as-internet-service-complaints-rise/7441440 [Accesssed 20 Aug. 2016]
- What phone plans, (2016). Best Mobile Phone Coverage in Australia http://whatphone.com.au/guides/mobile-phone-coverage/ [Accesssed 20 Aug. 2016]