Telstra and COVID-19: what you need to know
Posted on April 2, 2020
12 min read
The evolving situation around COVID-19 (Coronavirus) means we want to keep you updated as quickly as possible on impacts to our business, and new policies for our people and customers.
That’s why we’ll be posting new updates relating to COVID-19 here when they’re available.
Last Updated: 2 April, 2020
Making self-service easy with the new My Telstra app
To help you interact with us online more easily, we’re ramping up our digital capabilities as a priority – so you can get the help you need to get connected and stay connected. We’ve just launched our new My Telstra app which is designed to be a one-stop shop for all your Telstra needs. We have also created a number of self-service videos to help you with your basic service needs.
If you can #StayHome, you should
Friday, 27 March 2020
As we continue to work-from-home and practice good social distancing, we want to encourage others to join us in flattening the curve of COVID-19. That’s why you’ll see us change our network name on your mobile phone during this uncertain time to – Telstra #StayHome.
From today, when you look in the top corner of your Apple iOS device connected to the Telstra mobile network, you’ll see our new name: Telstra #StayHome. That’s because the best thing we can all do as individuals is stay at home to stop the spread of the virus.
Staying home is the best thing anyone who isn’t providing an essential service can do. Data from the University of Sydney demonstrates that the spread of COVID-19 can be slowed if people cut the vast majority of in-person interactions. That’s why we’ll be helping to share that crucial message, by reminding you to #StayHome on your phone with our new network name.
This new network name will appear on Apple iOS devices only for now and may require a network change (e.g. moving from 3G to 4G) or a change in location to trigger it.
To help support consumers and small businesses as we navigate this difficult time, we’ve introduced a range of initiatives including extra data for mobile and fixed broadband customers, and billing relief for those who need it.
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Supporting small businesses through COVID-19
Thursday, 26 March 2020
Many small businesses across Australia are feeling the impacts of COVID-19. Australian small businesses are agile, we’ve always admired that about them, and we’ll see many of them adapt. But it’s important that the rest of Australia also gets behind them to support them through this challenging time. We’re showing our support by helping them adjust in a number of ways.
Issues with some voice calls connecting due to congestion
Tuesday, 24 March 2020
As more people work from home and schools close, we are seeing demand on our network increase daily and this will continue.
Overall mobile call volumes on certain routes and geographies are up by more than 50 per cent. Specific numbers to Government call centres are experiencing three times the call volumes compared to last week, and over 20 times the normal call volume.
As a result, we’re seeing congestion impacting a small proportion (3-4 per cent) of call on our mobile network, with most of the congestion being driven by the high number of calls to Government 13 and 1800 numbers. There is no impact on data as yet.
Working with Optus, we are also trying to fast-track upgrades to our interconnection capabilities which is contributing to this congestion and we are continuing to push for a resolution urgently with them.
Yesterday we made significant improvements to capacity and call routing on our network, which has allowed us to manage the significantly higher call volumes.
Delays getting in touch with us, and the best ways to get help
Sunday, 22 March 2020
Due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on our teams and partners in Australia and around the globe, we are prioritising our customer service activities toward maintaining critical services and keeping vulnerable customers connected. You will experience delays getting through to our customer service team and getting some issues fixed.
We understand how frustrating this is. We’re doing everything we can to find alternative solutions to improve things, but these are highly unusual circumstances, and this will take time.
Our call centres in Australia remain open, however with fewer people answering calls there are significant wait times. We are prioritising Medical Priority Assist, service faults and high-risk cases, so if your enquiry is not one of these, we ask that you please reconsider calling us at this time.
If your call is not urgent, please try one of the many self-service tools available on telstra.com.au, the Telstra 24×7 and My Telstra apps, or find answers in our Crowd Support community. We’ve created video guides to show how to use our apps to complete many common tasks like checking for an outage, troubleshooting issues with your service or managing your bills.
Placed an order with us recently?
Saturday, 21 March 2020
The vast majority of our Telstra Stores are still open. You’re welcome to come in and talk with one of our team in person. Though, we ask that you only visit the store if you’re feeling well and do not meet any of the COVID-19 self-isolation criteria advised by the Australian Government.
With the support of nbn co and the ACCC, we have decided to temporarily pause the mandatory disconnections of customers from fixed networks under the nbn rollout. This will ensure customers that have not yet moved to the nbn can remain connected at a time when staying in touch is more important than ever.
As new restrictions come into place in Australia and around the world it is likely there will be more changes to the way we work. We’ll continue to keep you up to date as we learn more and put alternative solutions in place where we can.
Thank you for your ongoing patience in what is a challenging time for us all.
Changes to some of our stores
Saturday, 21 March 2020
We have already taken a number of steps to help keep our customers connected through what is a challenging time for all of us. We’re adding to that by making some precautionary changes to how we run our Telstra Stores to ensure we can continue serving you through this period.
We’re putting job reductions on hold, bringing forward 5G investment and more to help the economy
Friday, 20 March 2020
In these extraordinary times, it is in the national interest for every company and individual to play a part in ensuring Australia comes through as strongly as possible. With that in mind, we are announcing a range of additional initiatives we can undertake now to help support the broader economy.
A message from Andy Penn, CEO
Thursday, 19 March 2020
Get immediate help and support from the Telstra apps
Wednesday, 18 March 2020
Due to the impact of COVID-19 on our customer service team, we’re prioritising calls from customers in most urgent need of help including Medical Priority Assist and high risk enquires.
We want to keep you supported and connected as best we can during this time.
Our Telstra 24×7 and My Telstra apps can help you look after your account. You can manage payments, monitor your usage, check for outages, track orders or troubleshoot issues with your broadband or mobile.
To make a purchase, visit telstra.com.au.
We may not be able to take your call
Thursday, 19 March 2020
Due to increased containment measures announced by the Philippines Government, Telstra’s contact centre workforce has been reduced. This means there are longer wait times for customers contacting us via phone or online messaging.
There is no impact to Triple Zero (000) emergency calls.
Our call centres across Australia and India continue to operate and take enquiries. We are prioritising Medical Priority Assist enquiries, as well as high risk cases. If your enquiry is not urgent and does not fall into one of these categories, please either contact us at another time, or you can self-service on Telstra.com.au or the Telstra 24×7 or My Telstra apps. We are providing further information on our website to assist you to manage other enquiries.
Our Telstra stores remain open for business, so you’re welcome to come in and speak to one of our team members. We take the safety of our people and customers very seriously and have robust hygiene standards in place in stores. We ask that our customers only visit the store if they’re feeling well and do not meet any COVID-19 self-isolation criteria advised by the Australian government, such as having recently returned from overseas or been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
We are working to increase our contact centre capacity in a number of ways including ramping up our working from home capabilities, increasing overtime and extra shifts for our Australian-based staff, and diverting sales calls to our stores. We know how frustrating this can be and that is why we are working to improve the situation, hoping to get to as many of you as possible. Thanks for your patience as we work through this.
Supporting our customers during COVID-19
Monday, 16 March 2020
As people around Australia increasingly begin working and studying from home or self-isolating as part of the national response to COVID-19 demand for connectivity is rising rapidly. To play our part, Telstra is giving our consumer and small business customers additional data as well as offering unlimited home phone calls to pensioners. We want to help our customers, who find themselves having to work from home, stay connected.
How to improve your work-from-home experience
Sunday, 15 March 2020
As we move our office-based teams to a work-from-home model, we’re all thinking about how to be most productive in a new environment. We’ve been working flexibly at Telstra for a while, and have rounded up five great tips from our team that might make your experience easier.
Taking the right precautions for COVID-19
Friday, 13 March 2020
With global events now unfolding very quickly, we’ve made the decision to move to full work from home arrangements for Australian-based office staff effective next week. These arrangements will remain in place until the end of March at a minimum.
Our steps to reduce transmission of COVID-19
Thursday, 12 March 2020
Our number one priority is the wellbeing of our people and customers. That’s why we’re taking sensible steps to ensure that the risk of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) exposure is limited. From today, we’ll look to limit exposure and transmission of the virus in our stores. We’re posting notices at our doors asking customers to reconsider the need to enter if they are a potential carrier of COVID-19.
We’ll be asking that those who have been, or suspect to have been exposed to someone with or suspected to have COVID-19 to refrain from entering, and if urgent, to call us on 13 22 00 or engage with our online team at telstra.com.au instead.
Similarly, we’re also asking that customers who have travelled to or transited through a Category 1 country – such as mainland China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mongolia and Korea – to also reconsider the need to enter and instead engage with our phone or online support teams.
We’ve also implemented new procedures for our Field Service Technicians to ensure they’re adequately protected.
Our Technicians will now call a customer or end-user on approach and ask a series of mandatory questions before attending the premises.
Technicians will ask if the customer is unwell and if they suspect they’ve been exposed to someone who has or suspects to have COVID-19. Technicians will also ask if the customer or end-user is currently in quarantine due to having had contact with someone suspected of or diagnosed with COVID-19.
If a customer answers yes to any of these questions, our technicians will try to fix the issue from outside and if they are unable to complete the job it will be rebooked for 14-days later (after the quarantine period is over). We will work with customers to provide interim devices or alternative solutions so people remain connected.
These new notices and procedures will reduce the risk of transmission to a member of our team or to another customer.
While these measures are precautionary, we want to ensure we’re doing everything possible to protect our people by following Australian Government guidelines on reducing transmission of COVID-19.
Supporting our people during COVID-19
Wednesday, 11 March 2020
We’re making sure we look out for our people throughout the evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. This includes new measures to minimise the risk of transmission, and additional support to reduce the potential financial burden for our people who may become impacted. So today we’re introducing a policy that will give our permanent, fixed-term and casual team members access to additional paid leave should they need to take time off work.
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