“Hi, it’s me.” For Australians living in isolation and doing it tough this Christmas, making that phone call may be the first step they take to reconnect with friends and loved ones.
But in a world of smart phones and the nbn™, being connected is something a lot of us take for granted. It’s easy to forget that there are many Australians who don’t have the technology or financial means to access a phone line, or a way to connect with their loved ones at Christmas.
For some of these community members, not being able to come together with family, friends and loved ones at Christmas time only heightens feelings of loneliness, personal hardship and isolation.
To help those separated by distance or circumstance to get in touch with one another this festive season, we are again opening up our national payphone network and providing free local, national and standard mobile calls from Telstra payphones around Australia from December 24-26. We will also be offering free Telstra Air® Wi-Fi access from selected public hotspots.
We’re really pleased to be working alongside our long term partner, The Salvation Army, to help spread the word about our offer. Their mission is to bring hope to those facing personal hardships, such as homelessness, all year, every year, and especially at Christmas.
“With many vulnerable people suffering from feelings of social isolation, a free phone call removes financial barriers and gives everyone – regardless of their personal circumstance – the chance to make a positive emotional connection,” said Major Brendan Nottle, The Salvation Army.
As a company with connection at its heart, we want to play a genuine role in connecting people at Christmas and all year round through the technology and experiences we provide. Our ability to open up our network gives all Australians the opportunity to pick up the phone and call their friends, families and loved ones at a time of year when social connection is really important.
Last year, 170,000 calls were made from our payphone network across the same period, with our data revealing NSW residents and visitors to be the biggest payphone users overall.
Over the three days, nearly 31,000 unique connections were made via our free Telstra Air Wi-Fi access, at sites across the country. Swanston Street and Bourke Street sites in Melbourne’s CBD received the greatest number of users. Collective data usage across all Telstra Air Wi-Fi hotspots also reached 5.6 TB over the course of the campaign, with sites in Southport, Currumbin and Surfers Paradise in Queensland the top locations.
Nothing beats the sound of hearing a loved one’s voice, especially at a time like Christmas when a focus on families coming together is really heightened. It’s an important opportunity for those in the community who might be feeling isolated at this time, and we hope that even more Australians take up the opportunity to connect with their loved ones this year.
Australians will be able to call anyone in Australia across Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day free of charge from any of the 16,000 Telstra branded payphones around the country.
Things you need to know:
Free calls around Australia to local, national and standard mobiles from Telstra payphones from 24-26 December 2018. Free calls exclude international calls and premium services (19x), Mobile Satellite, and 1234, 12456 directory services. Excludes Telstra rented payphones. Free Wi-Fi data at select Telstra Air payphones and Telstra Stores, in Australia only. Telstra Air available for Wi-Fi enabled devices only.