Consumer group clocks up a victory


Telstra has bowed to consumer pressure and will maintain the national toll-free number to contact the “speaking clock” for people wanting to find out the time.

The telecommunications provider announced last month it would cease the service because very few people were using it and those who did were overwhelmingly older Australians whose time was almost up anyway.

At the time Telstra said the widespread use of mobile devices with built-in clocks meant demand was low and the cost of the service could not be justified.

But today Telstra announced the service would continue with the decision believed to be driven by a nationwide campaign by self-appointed telecommunications consumer pressure group Community Users Noting Telstra Services.

burgess mChair of the group, Ted Gripe, (pictured) told The Bug his members were “over the moon” with Telstra’s decision.

“We represent predominantly elderly phone users who often need to know the time to take medicines or get down to the dining room but not many of them have mobile phones or other devices,” Mr Gripe said.

“We thank Telstra for responding to their older consumers who often get forgotten in the modern digital age.”

A Telstra spokesperson said a brand new version of the talking clock would start service next week.

barnsie studio“We are pleased to announce that Telstra has secured the services of singer Jimmy Barnes who has spent the past fortnight in a Sydney studio (pictured) recording all 8640 announcements needed to tell callers the exact time every 10 seconds,” the spokesperson said.

“Telstra believes the revamped service will give our elderly 1194 users a whole new experience.”