Telstra has announced that it will begin shaping — that is, intentionally slowing — mobile data connections once customers have exceeded their data allowance.
The Australian mobile industry is marked by pathetically small data allowances and outrageous charges when usage exceeds those allowances. While that might sound good for telco coffers, it’s a rough ride for consumers and it leads to more bad debts than actual revenue: people go over-the-top with their YouTube viewing without realizing the costs associated, and end up with a bill they just can’t afford to pay.
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In an effort to reduce both customer outrage and the company’s reliance on debt collectors, Telstra will discontinue excess usage charges and bring the connection speed down to 48 kilobits per second, from a maximum of 20 megabits per second on the Telstra NextG network.
That’s a speed in the general vicinity of dial-up Internet, and slower than the standard shaped speed for broadband connections to homes. But unlike most broadband companies, Telstra will permit its users to pay a fee to have the shaping removed for the remainder of the month.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has voiced its approval of Telstra’s decision, and the company says we’ll see these changes implemented by the end of the year.