Telstra opens up payphones for free Christmas calls

Alex Kidman 19 December 2016

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From Christmas Eve to 28 December, call whoever you like for nothing at all.

By and large we don't use payphones much any more. Indeed, the number of payphones across Australia has decreased markedly as we’ve adopted mobile phones in ever-increasing numbers. Still, with over 16,000 payphones across Australia there’s still probably one near you right now, even if the days when you used to queue for one because they were the only telecommunication option once you left home are long behind you.

Or are they? Telstra has announced that it will switch the "pay" part of "payphone" off from 12:01am Christmas Eve all the way through to 28 December for standard national landline and mobile calls. That means free calls for any user at any time, excluding premium call services and calls from any rented Telstra payphone. Satellite numbers are also not treated as standard mobile numbers.

Telstra’s positioning for the offer is that it’s in line with the increased use of payphones that it usually sees around December.

Telstra’s executive director home and business products Stuart Bird said in a statement: "Christmas is all about connecting with friends and family. While most of us are lucky enough to do this in person or have access to technology that helps bring us together, we know there are others who may find themselves separated from loved ones without a way to get in touch. Our payphone network spans across the entire country, from capital cities to remote areas like the Gibson Desert and Thursday Island. We see an increase in calls on payphones each December, so by opening up our payphone network, we hope all Australians will be able to reach out to loved ones this holiday season."

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