Telstra payphones become free-to-use nationwide

Telstra hopes that by making payphones free to use, they can continue being the crucial lifeline to vulnerable Australians nationwide.

Image credit: Telstra

Calls made on Telstra public payphones will soon be free Australia-wide, under a new initiative announced today by the telecommunications company.

Currently, there are 15,000 Telstra payphones located across the country, often found on street corners, in rural towns and outside airports and supermarkets. Now instead of scrambling for loose change to make a call, you’ll be able to ring nationwide free of charge. Calls to international numbers will still incur a fee.

The ubiquitous presence of the bright pink and orange Telstra payphones has long been ingrained in Australia’s landscape. However, as mobile phones became universal the use of public payphones dwindled.

While some Australians may consider telephone boxes a relic of the past, they are still a vital line of communication for vulnerable Australians, whether they be fleeing a natural disaster, escaping domestic violence or experiencing homelessness.    

“I’ve seen myself how much payphones are part of the fabric of Australia and how important they are in good times, and bad,” said Telstra CEO Andrew Penn in a statement this morning.

“I’ve seen queues of people waiting in line, coins at the ready, to use a payphone to call home and tell their family and friends they’re safe after a bushfire, a cyclone or some other natural disaster has taken the mobile network down.”

Last year, 11 million calls were made on public payphones in Australia, with over 230,000 of them being to vital support services and triple zero. Penn hopes that by making payphones free to use, they can continue being the crucial lifeline that they are.

“We want to contribute to a better, more caring and more inclusive Australia, an Australia where people can reach out for help if and when they need to, or just connect if they feel like it,” said Penn.

“I’m delighted it’s now free for everyone to make calls anywhere in Australia.”

To find your nearest payphone, visit the Telstra website.

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