Telstra extends Telstra Air free offer to March 2017

Alex Kidman 3 August 2016

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Telstra customers can continue to enjoy free access to the telco’s nationwide Wi-Fi network until at least 27 March 2017.

When Telstra launched Telstra Air, its nationwide Wi-Fi network best known for those bright pink tops on phone booths, it did so by making the network free for everybody. Gratis usage was yours as part of a test period, but the telco was insistent that it would eventually charge for access to the service if you were a mobile customer. Telstra Broadband customers could gain access to the service by allowing their own bandwidth to form part of the wider Telstra Air network via a specific Telstra gateway modem-router product.

However, despite restricting its use to Telstra customers only once that initial test period was over, it has repeatedly instead decided to make the service free for mobile customers as a straight acquisition strategy instead. First it was going to be free for a six-month period up to 30 June 2016.

Then it extended that slightly, announcing it would be free to access for eligible customers until 30 September 2016.

Now, even though that deadline hasn’t yet expired, it has extended the free Telstra Air offer for eligible Telstra mobile and broadband services through into next year, with an expiry date of 27 March 2017. If past history is any guide, that date could well be extended yet again, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Which services are "eligible" Telstra services for the free Telstra Air deal?

Telstra’s definition of eligible services is quite wide, encompassing all its mobile phone plans, whether it’s a prepaid or contract service. In order to maintain access to Telstra Air you do have to keep up payments on your service, but that could mean simply using a low-cost prepaid plan for that purpose.

If you’re a Telstra broadband customer the picture is slightly different. You can get access to Telstra Air, but only by enabling the Telstra Air functionality on a compatible Telstra branded home gateway product. This will share a portion of your home broadband out as a separate Telstra Air network for others to use, so it’s worth assessing your existing connection quality to see if you’re happy with a potentially slightly slower service.

The flipside of this is that Telstra broadband customers who sign up for Telstra Air also qualify to use global Fon-branded hotspots across the globe at no extra cost. This could represent a significant saving on global roaming fees when you travel.

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