Choosing a new service: what you should know | ACMA

Choosing a new service: what you should know

Are you choosing a new telco provider or service? We’re here to help! Our tips and video can help you choose the right plan and make the switch to a new provider.

Watch our video for tips to get yourself a better telco deal.

Tips to getting a better deal

  1. Figure out what you really need:
    • What’s your budget?
    • What calls do you make most—local, mobile, interstate or international?
    • How much data do you need—do you download or upload a lot of files?
    • Consider the type of connection you need—including the speed of the connection.
    • Do you need a mobile AND a landline?
  2. Get a copy of the Critical Information Summary (CIS):
    • The CIS sets out key information about the service—the offer, the terms and conditions, pricing information and what is, and isn’t, included in the plan.
    • Ask the telco for the CIS or find it online.
  3. Shop around every two years and do your homework!
    • Your needs may have changed—what was right for you two years ago might not be now.
    • Prices or inclusions may have changed.

Are you the authorised customer?

Before making the change, you need to confirm that you’re the authorised customer. This is the person whose name is on the account and has authorisation to make changes to service agreements. You may need to confirm your authorisation in written or electronic form, or over the phone.

Look at the service agreements

Your service agreement or contract states what you and your telco are agreeing to. It defines what each party is responsible for and can lock you into arrangements for a fixed term. So before agreeing to anything, make sure you understand the terms and conditions involved so you can make an informed decision. When you’re considering making a switch:

First look at your current service agreement and consider the following: 

  • contract expiration date (you may be month-to-month)
  • early termination fees
  • access charges
  • disconnection charges and any other possible fees
  • other services attached to your landline service (e.g. ADSL)

Then it’s onto a potentially new service agreement. But before you make any decisions, make sure you consider the following:

  • terms and conditions of both contracts
  • call costs—look at included value or credits and what the costs will be if you exceed the included value
  • connection charges
  • monthly or line rental fees
  • performance of network (especially if you’ll be using an internet service over the connection)
  • frequency of bill
  • transferring your number (known as ‘porting’)

If you make long distance or international calls, be aware that you may be able to pre-select a different service provider for these services.

For more information on comparing offers, see our critical information summary page.

Giving consent to transfer your service

Your telco can’t transfer your service without your express consent. When you’re satisfied that the new service will meet your needs, and you’re ready to consent to the transfer of your service, your new telco needs to make sure you’re clear on the following:  

  • exactly who you are signing up with and how you can contact them
  • that you are entering into a new customer contract, and what the terms and conditions of that contract will be
  • details of the service/s being transferred
  • when the transfer will occur—including any delays due to a cooling-off period or line inspection that may need to take place
  • whether there are likely to be any service interruptions during the transfer
  • the possibility of penalties or cancellation fees to be paid to your current telco provider
  • equipment compatibility and requirements (for example whether you’re required to purchase a modem from the telco or can use your own)

Your new telco also has to tell you when the transfer is complete—this should usually be the same day the transfer happens, but could be a little longer if your provider needs information from a third party. You should never have to wait more than five working days for notice that the transfer is complete.

Keeping your number

To keep your landline number, you must go through a transfer process, otherwise known as ‘porting’.

Make sure you don’t cancel or disconnect your existing phone service as if you do, you won’t be able to port your existing number.

The following fees may apply when porting your number from one Telco to another:

  • outstanding calls (existing telco)
  • early termination (existing telco)
  • porting (either charged by existing or new telco)

Your existing telco cannot refuse or delay your request to move your number to a new provider because of any outstanding debt.

For more information, see our pages: Keeping your phone numberKeeping your mobile phone number and Telephone numbers and number portability – your rights.

Switching to the NBN

If you live in an area that is ready to connect to the National Broadband Network (NBN), you may be able to transfer to the NBN with your current Telco provider.

Your telco should be able to help you understand the processes involved, such as entering into a new contract for the NBN service. Alternatively, you can also consider other telcos to provide you with an NBN service. Find out more about the NBN.

Last updated: 06 December 2018