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Telstra to launch in-home tech support service

Wednesday, 1 September 2010 | By Oliver Milman

Telstra is to launch a new ‘premium’ support service for home computer users, in a move that could provide extra support for home-based entrepreneurs.

 

As reported by the Financial Review and The Australian newspapers this morning, Telstra Plus Premium Support will help consumers with the installation of software and hardware, tackle viruses and plug PCs and laptops into a home network.

 

Customers will pay around $459 for a phone-based support system, while a $269 charge will be levied for those who want a Telstra representative to visit their house and install and upgrade equipment, set up wireless networks and configure systems, including game consoles.

 

Telstra will hire around 100 members of staff to provide the support service, which is being rolled out to boost its patchy customer service reputation. The telco said that the service will cover 70% of the country.

 

While the announcement promises to provide another option to home-based businesses that require support, it heightens the competition faced by entrepreneurial companies that have started up in the tech support sector.

 

However, tech support firms Geeks2U and eNerds both said that they weren’t threatened by Telstra’s move.

 

Geeks2U founder and chief executive David Hancock said: "I think we've led the industry in this type of customer service. We'll continue to focus on that, and really, I don't think you can go too far if you just retain that focus on the customer experience and keep them satisfied, that's what this type of business is all about."

 

"The only reason we've been able to grow as well as we have is because of those customers coming back again and again, and of course, referrals are a great source of new business because it doesn't cost us anything."

 

eNerds founder and chief executive Jamie Warner says it will be difficult for Telstra to break into a market where customers are largely happy to stay with their current providers if they offer a high level of service.

 

"If they are happy, and you are doing a good job, and they have everything they need, then they won't change, and that is the challenge Telstra has in entering the market. Of course they have an existing client pool, but there are so many different telecommunications providers out there."