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Telstra is to introduce a new billing regime – rounding charges off to the nearest minute from March.This means customers will be charged 80 cents across the board – whether they are talking for five or fifty five seconds, according to the Herald Sun. 

The charges will affect both home phones and mobiles and is the second move the country’s largest phone carrier has made towards billing per minute and it will apply to all mobile, STD and international calls.     

“We will now bill timed calls in one-minute blocks of time, which means the charge for the call is automatically rounded up to the nearest minute,” a Telstra spokesman said. 

In 2009, the company changed to billing per 30-seconds instead of per second.   

However, consumer watchdog Choice say consumers will lose out under the new billing regime and “is just another way to make you pay more,” said Choice’s Christopher Zinn.    

“For those with fixed lines we expect, on average, those who notice a difference will see roughly a 2 per cent increase to their monthly bill,” the Telco told the Herald.     

The change will make it easier to compare costs across different networks, say the telco.  

Rivals Optus and Vodafone have operated on a change per-minute model for several years.  

“The change is to provide alignment across our home phone and mobile charging on cap plans, to standardise pricing and make it easier to compare call costs,” the Telstra representative said.   

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