TelstraClear's pay-per-minute home phone plan the death of 'free' local calling? I hope so
Breaking with sacred Kiwi tradition, TelstraClear has introduced a new plan where you don't pay a set monthly fee for a home phone line.
Rather, calls are charged at 10 cents per minute minute.
That's under a new plan called Naked Broadband+ - marketing-speak for a variation on naked broadband which is not naked at all (the term means a broadband line with no traditional phone line). Under this plan, you keep your phone line.
(The plan appears to only be available in areas where Telstraclear has unbundled - that is, moved its own gear into Telecom exchanges. The Commerce Commission recently regulated Chorus' wholesale unbundled pricing downward. A rep for TelstraClear told Keallhauled the ComCom's more-aggressive-than-anticipated price regulation was not a factor in launching Broadband+.)
"Paying" for local calls was verboten under Telecom's old Kiwishare provisions (swept away when Chorus demerged).
But of course, paying a $50 a month line rental feels very much like paying - and more so if you make most of your calls on a mobile.
As Ernie Newman once put it: "I don't want to pay $50 a month to subsidise your teenage daughters making hours of calls."
Personally, I've already switched to a naked broadband plan, and now make all my home calls either on a mobile (usually) or via Skype or Google Talk.
One commentator asked if "Broadband+" was a slippery slope toward the end of "free" local calling. I hope so.
The fibre roll-out means internet calling will become the standard - and indeed only - option over the next few years as the traditional home line goes the way of the dodo.
Meantime, it's great to see more flexibility.