Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have responded to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) comments about making mobile calls to 13/1300 numbers free, saying they have plans that include unlimited calls to 13/1300 numbers.
On 1 July, ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin praised the move to making mobile calls to 1800 numbers free of charge from January 2015, but said that she "remains concerned" about the affordability of mobile calls to 13/1300 numbers, especially for Australians on low incomes.
"The cost of calls to 13/1300 numbers can chew through pre-paid mobile plans, which are often favoured by lower income consumers," she said in a statement. "13/1300 calls can vary widely, from 3 cents per minute up to $1.39 per minute."
In response, a Telstra spokesman told Computerworld Australia that a number of important 13/1300 services including Lifeline (13 1114), Hopeline (1300 364 673), Men's Line (1300 789 978), Family Drug Support (1300 368 186) and State Emergency Service (13 2500) are free to call from Telstra mobiles.
"We can confirm that we will be making mobile calls to 1800 numbers free of charge. We plan to have this in place by the end of the year and will keep our customers informed of our progress," the spokesman said.
A Optus spokeswoman said that its My Plan Plus post-paid mobile plans and some prepaid plans offer unlimited calls to 13/1300 and 1800 numbers.
A Vodafone Australia spokeswoman said that its Red plans have featured unlimited calls to 13 and 1800 numbers since April 2014.
"This means there is no additional charge for these calls, no matter how many the customer makes," the spokeswoman said.
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