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Telstra slugs rural customers, says rival

AAP logoAAP 9/12/2016 Lilly Vitorovich

Telstra's regional customers are paying significantly more for phone and internet than people living in the major cities, according to a new report commissioned by rival Vodafone.

The report found Telstra mobile pre-paid customers in regional Australia pay $10 a month more than other telcos charge, and more than $4 a month for post-paid services.

The regional price premium is more than twice of that paid by a customer living in Sydney, according to the report, compiled by the Centre for International Economics.

Telstra customers paid $3.2 billion more than the average prices charged for the same services by other telecom carriers each year, the report said.

Vodafone chief strategy officer Dan Lloyd said the report reinforces the need for urgent reform of telecommunications policy and regulations.

"For the first time, we know the true cost of lack of telecommunications competition in regional Australia, and it's nothing short of staggering and grossly unfair," Mr Lloyd said.

Telstra rejected the findings of the report.

"It is extraordinary that Vodafone would commission a report into the pricing policies of another provider and shows a level of hysteria in its attempt to get a free ride on our network," spokesman Tony Warren said.

"Especially when all it does is highlight that our customers are benefiting from our investments in regional Australia and that Vodafone continues to ignore them.

"Customers are unable to get Vodafone services in the bush for one simple reason - because Vodafone have ignored regional Australia for years and continue to do so."

Telstra said all of its customers pay the same amount for its services no matter where they live.

"Our customers are willing to pay us a little more for the better coverage, higher speeds and overall better experience, it is a sign we are doing something right and they value it," Dr Warren said.

Telstra's mobile dominance in regional Australia is expected to come under attack from rivals including Vodafone if the competition watchdog regulates national roaming services.

In September, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched its third inquiry into roaming, with a draft decision set for release early next year.

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