ACCC questions new Telstra mobile plans

The ACCC is looking into Telstra's new mobile pricing plan and says that there are potentially both contractual and consumer protection issues surrounding the plan's early termination fees.

Telstra announced its new plan last month and while it benefits customers who sign up for 12 months, it also penalises those who try to break their contracts – with an early termination fee of $150.

The ACCC's GM telecoms, Michael Cosgrave, says that the early temination fee in itself isn't a problem if it's simply a means for the telco to cover the cost of an entire contract, but the issue is whether the carrier is recovering more than its costs. The fees would in that case act as penalties.

Telstra is not the only carrier that the ACCC is looking at in relation to fees; it's examining the issue in a wider context, Mr Cosgrave says, adding that the ACCC hopes to wrap up its investigation “relatively soon”, given that parts of Telstra's new pricing plan are already in the marketplace.