When the federal government announced it was selling Telstra we were told it was good for competition and meant a better deal for consumers.

Even with the government’s recent sale of another chunk of its share in the telco, that “better deal” still hovers unfulfilled in the distance, especially for the company’s mobile customers.

From 1 November, the price of an international text message increased by a whopping 43%, from 35c to 50c — a fact of which customers were advised by, you guessed it, text message.  Almost exactly a year ago, Telstra announced a 10c increase on the service, raising it from 25c to 35c, meaning the cost of sending an international text has risen 100% in 12 months.

A better deal for customers? Well, better deals are out there. Crikey rang Telstra’s competitors to find out how much they charge for the same service.

Provider Cost





3 Mobile






Virgin Mobile




The table shows that Telstra is 20% more expensive than their nearest competitor, and is on average 62% more expensive than the market.

Crikey rang Telstra to establish the reason for the difference. “Only a relatively small number of our customers send text messages to people overseas,” a Telstra spokesman said. “Telstra is putting in place more agreements with overseas carriers to provide greater assurance to our customers that their text will reach the intended recipient. In many cases this results in an additional cost to Telstra which is reflected in the price.”

But it’s not only text users who are being stung. This article in today’s Australian details other services that will now cost Telstra customers more.

There is at least one group who won’t be complaining: shareholders.