Telecom charge for old school bills
Telecom broadband and mobile customers will have to pay an extra charge of $1.50 a month from May if they want to continue to receive paper bills through the mail.
The company said people could avoid the charge if they agreed to receive their bills via email.
Telecom had decided not to impose the fee on people who only bought a landline with the company, spokeswoman Lucy Fullarton said. That recognised those customers might not have got to the point where they found electronic billing easy, she said.
Advertising the change, Telecom said paper bills were "old school", inefficient and environmentally unfriendly.
Fullarton said it was difficult to estimate the exact cost of sending out paper bills, given that included operating costs as well as postage, but the charge was "reflective" of its costs and Telecom was not seeking to profit from the charge.
"We don't want people to pay it. We'd rather people switched to electronic bills."
About a quarter of Telecom customers already elected to receive their bills online, she said.
Rival Vodafone also charges some of its fixed-line phone and internet customers $1.50 to receive paper bills.
Vodafone spokesman Brad Pogson said all but 2.4 per cent of customers for whom the charge applied had by now elected to receive their bills electronically.
The charge has not been applied to former customers of TelstraClear, which Vodafone acquired in 2011, and there were no plans "at the moment" to change that, Pogson said.
Vodafone also imposed the charge on its mobile customers in 2008, but it back-tracked and stopped charging them the following year.
Then spokesman Paul Brislen, now chief executive of the Telecommunications Users Association, acknowledged the paper-bill fee was "hated" by its mobile customers.