Update: As of August 2021, we’ve made payphone calls free all around Australia. Find out more here.

Distance is an intrinsic part of this year’s Christmas season, but that separation doesn’t mean you can’t connect with your loved ones. That’s why we’re giving everyone a chance to connect with friends and family by making our payphones and selected Telstra Air Wi-Fi hotspots free of charge over the Christmas to New Year period.

Our payphone network will be free and available to anyone who needs to use it between December 24, 2020 and January 1, 2021. That way, those who need it can make free local, national and standard mobile calls, SMS to anywhere around Australia.

Hearing the voice of a loved one this time of year is so special, but seeing your loved ones is even better, so we’re also making selected Telstra Air Wi-Fi access points at our payphones and stores free to use during this time also if video calling is more your thing.

It might surprise you, but there are still over 15,000 payphones around Australia, with over 11 million calls made each year – 200,000 of which were to national ‘000’ services. For many, especially vulnerable people like the homeless or those escaping an unsafe family situation, their presence is vital lifeline.

In the past few years, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people place calls to their families and loved ones during the Christmas and New Year season, with thousands of gigabytes of data also used through Telstra Air.

Last year’s initiative saw almost half a million calls placed for free on our payphone network during the Christmas period. That represents almost 1.2 million minutes of calls between family, friends and loved ones.

We know this year has been hard because of lockdown and closed borders, and at Christmas, feelings of isolation and loneliness can peak. It’s important that we help in any way we can so that people can have a vital feeling of connection and hope at this time of year. We recommend anyone struggling with their mental health to use our payphones to call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

Of course be mindful of COVID-19 during this time, and If you’re using a payphone or a Telstra Air Wi-Fi access point, please respect social distancing, and to practice hygiene measures like handwashing before and after use.

If you’re out and about during the Christmas to New Year period and you spot one of our payphones – even if you don’t need a free call – then make sure to get in touch with your loved ones when you can. We hope you have a great break and some well-deserved relaxation after a tough year.

Things you need to know

Free calls around Australia to local, national and standard mobiles from Telstra payphones from 24 December 2020 – 1 January 2021 inclusive. 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.