In the wake of this new hardware, Telstra CEO Andy Penn revealed in an blog post the company will be offering, at a minimum, 5G for free during its first year of connectivity. However, after this point some customers will be charged to access it. Gizmodo Australia reached out to Telstra for further clarity.
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The complimentary 5G period will begin when Telstra launches its long-anticipated new mobile plans in June. It will be free for any customers in a 5G connected area and with a compatible device for a minimum of twelve months.
Once the trial period ends, customers on the top two yet-to-be-announced plans will get 5G connectivity included at no extra cost. Telstra has not indicated how it will define the top two plans. Comparatively, customers on all other plans will have to pay an extra $15 a month to access Telstra’s 5G network.
This move is entwined with the new streamlined plans that the telco will be launching in June as part of its T22 strategy.
Much like the Foxtel system, customers will have the option to add the services they want to their plan. Telstra is spinning this as a way to offer its customers freedom and flexibility.
Telstra has also stated that 5G access won’t be the only connectivity experience that customers will be able to choose. It also mentions the possibility of low latency gaming and millimetre wave 5G.
“Our customers will decide on the core connectivity plan they want and then have the flexibility to choose what they want to add to their service. This could include a new handset, wireless earphones or video streaming service,” Penn said.
“We also think customers choosing different connectivity experiences will become a big part of how mobility services are sold in the future. Customers will choose the data inclusions they want as a base plan, and then have the option to tailor a connectivity ‘add on’ to suit different uses.
“Our overriding principle is for our customers to have the freedom and flexibility to choose the experiences they value and not pay for experiences they don’t.”
While providing customers with a choice under the new plan structure is certainly a valid perspective to take, it could also be argued that charging customers to access the 5G network is also a way for the telco to help recoup some of the $8 billion it invested in it.
This is particularly interesting as customers weren’t charged extra to be connected to Telstra’s 4G network when it was rolled out.
We’ll have a clearer picture of just how much customers will be paying for these new plans when they’re announced next month.