Telstra boss Andy Penn has announced that local and national calls to standard landline numbers and calls to standard Australian mobile phones on Telstra public payphones are now free. Calls to international numbers will continue to be charged.
This is a good community spirit move from Telstra. It loses them about $ 5.5 million in annual revenue, but that’s a drop in the bucket for them compared to their $ 23 billion annual revenue.
The change means that any Australian can now use a Telstra 15,000 public phone on street corners and in small towns, truck stops and airports in every corner of the country to make free calls.
Public telephones have been part of the Australian landscape since they were first used in the 1880s and at one point, just before the advent of mobiles, there were more than double the number we have today.
With mobiles becoming almost universal, many Australians may not pay much attention to them. Until there is a natural disaster. Until you are in vulnerable circumstances, homeless or fleeing domestic violence.
That’s why Telstra says they decided it’s time to make public phones free. Because even in the age of smartphones, smartphones play a critical role in our community, especially in times of need, and especially for those who need them.
“I have come to realize how much public telephones are part of the fabric of Australia and how important they are through thick and thin. I’ve seen queues of people waiting in line, coins ready to use a pay phone to call home and tell their family and friends that they are safe after a wildfire, cyclone, or some other natural disaster has destroyed the mobile network . . “
“I know that public telephones are also a lifeline for thousands of vulnerable Australians – the homeless, the isolated, those fleeing domestic violence – and often provide their only link to critical support services and those in need. they care about them ”.
In the past year alone, Australians made 11 million calls on public phones, including more than 230,000 calls to vital services like Triple Zero, so there’s no question that public phones are often already the lifeline that’s there. when it is most needed.