Friends having coffee
Loneliness |

Reducing loneliness around Christmas time

By Major Brendan Nottle December 23, 2021

For a lot of people, Christmas is a wonderful time of year where we get to connect, share delicious food and spend quality time with the ones we love and care about most. However, for many others it can feel like the loneliest time of year. In fact, according to Telstra’s research, 3 in 4 Australians have admitted to feeling lonely over the holiday period*.

Everywhere you look, there are exciting gifts to buy, loving families enjoying time with each other and ideas to create the perfect Christmas Day feast. It can be really exciting, but for someone who doesn’t have a close relationship with family or the resources to give someone a gift, it can be an awful reminder of what you don’t have and what is being missed out on.

Those reminders can feel incredibly isolating.

Kindness is the antidote to loneliness

We all have our own stories, problems and daily challenges – challenges that are often hidden below the surface from anyone to see. At the core of making people feel more connected, remembering this and showing kindness can go a long way to making someone feel valued and less isolated. Something that was profoundly reinforced for me very recently.

We’ve got a program here in Melbourne, where we go out and see if we can help anyone overnight. It was two o’clock on a Saturday morning, we were driving down Elizabeth Street in Melbourne, and there was a body on the train tracks. We pulled over; it was a young woman in her early 20s and she was lying on the train track, saying “just leave me alone.”

So my colleague rang triple O, and was trying to arrange an ambulance. I ended up sitting on the train tracks with this young woman. And she just kept saying “no one cares, I’ve got no one, I’m just very lonely.”

A garbage truck driver who was driving past then stopped and came over to look at what was happening. He then crouched down and spoke really gently to the young woman and he just said: ‘People care. You just don’t know that they do. And these guys here just want to help you so any assistance they offer you, you just need to accept it. You’re going to get through this you’re going to be okay.’ He got back in the truck and drove off and then this young woman calmed down and we were able to get her off the train tracks and to some help.

Everyone can show kindness to others, you don’t need to be trained, educated or experienced. It can be as simple as showing a smile, stopping for a moment to talk or helping someone you come across in need. Life can be busy but showing a few minutes of kindness to someone can mean much more than you realise.

What you can do if you’re feeling isolated

In the same way that helping others can make them feel less isolated, it can actually make you feel more connected by doing so too.

That feeling can be quite profound. If you’re feeling lonely, it’s important to be looking for opportunities where you might be able to reach out to support somebody else. We have a philosophy at the Salvation Army that says “the best way to help yourself is to help others”.

We run many programs across each state in Australia around Christmas time and help from volunteers is always needed.

It can also be much simpler than that – you’ll find that even something as simple as buying someone a cup of coffee can make you feel more connected.

On Christmas Day, if you’re worried you might not have anyone to spend time with, we also have our annual Christmas Day lunches. You’ll meet new people, eat some delicious food and be able to experience a wonderful time together.

We can all play a part in helping people feel more connected over the holiday period – keep a look out for people within your community or network that might be struggling during this time and reach out. It may only take a minute of their time but it can make a huge difference.

For more tips on dealing with loneliness for yourself or others, visit our loneliness hub.

If you need help, mental health support services are available through:

  • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800

*Telstra research conducted by YouGov in November – December 2021

Telstra News |

Call Santa free this Christmas from Telstra payphones

By Michael Ackland December 6, 2021

Connecting with each other at Christmas is always important, especially after a year where many have spent time isolated from friends and family.

With social distancing still in place in most of the country and it being a bit harder to find Santa at the shops than normal, we’re offering free calls to Santa from our payphones across Australia. We want to make sure everyone gets the chance to whisper their gift list into the big guy’s ear this Christmas.

You’ll be able to reach Santa from any Telstra payphone by simply dialling #HO HO HO (#46 46 46) from today right up until he starts packing the sleigh on Christmas Eve.

We know it’s been a tougher year than most, particularly for our kids, and we hope that creating a special experience with Santa might help bring some extra joy and make people feel a bit more connected to the things they love this year.

How to call Santa

We’ve made it super easy for anyone to get in touch with the big man in red this year:

  1. Head to any Telstra payphone until December 24
  2. Dial #HO HO HO (#46 46 46)
  3. That’s it! Just make sure you know what’s on top of your gift list because Santa will be eager to know.

As an added extra, by checking in with Santa through one of Telstra’s payphones you can help teach kids how to locate and use one if they need to in the future.

There are over 15,000 payphones across the country, which are free for all calls to standard numbers in Australia – so if it’s a great resource for kids, especially during emergencies.

In keeping with the Christmas spirit, for calls made to Santa, Telstra will donate $1* to the Salvation Army to help Australians stay connected and sheltered this Christmas.

How to find a Telstra payphone


We encourage everyone to make sure they’re following up-to-date health advice when interacting with public surfaces.

*Telstra will donate $1 per call from #HOHOHO (#464646) to the Salvation Army, up to a pre-determined amount.

Girls with prepaid phones at Christmas
Devices | Entertainment | Tech and Innovation |

Take the hassle out of gifting with Telstra’s Gift Shop

By Luke Hopewell December 19, 2019

With so many places to pick prezzies from this year, who’s to say you’ll gift your family and friends what they really want? If it’s gift ideas you’re after, we’re here to help. The Telstra Gift Shop is open and ready to take the hassle out of your Christmas shopping.

As we offer an extensive range of tech including headphones, speakers, smartwatches and drones (just to name a few), we’re curating them into perfect gift collections for your friends and loved ones.

And we’re not about to stop helping you find great gifts once the trees and tinsel have been taken down, either. The Telstra Gift Shop is our new year-round online gift destination. We keep it up to date regularly with the latest gear, so you’ll never be out of ideas again! Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? We’ll have you covered!

Here’s a small selection of what’s on offer at the Telstra Gift Shop.

High tech gifts

iPhone 11 Pro

Pro cameras, pro display, pro performance: the new iPhone 11 Pro is an essential upgrade. With an obsession over details, three cameras that feel like one and the highest quality video in a smartphone, it’s the best iPhone yet.

With Active Noise Cancellation for immersive sound, Transparency mode for hearing what’s happening around you, and a customisable fit for all-day comfort, AirPods Pro is magic like you’ve never heard.

Oppo Reno 5G smashes speed test at Australian launch

If you’ve got a real tech-head on your hands, you should be looking for the newest and coolest gifts. The Telstra Gift Store has a great range of gadgets available, including the nifty and beautiful OPPO Reno 5G with a pop-up selfie camera and fast 5G connectivity.

Gifts for the whole family

Telstra TV box console

Netflix, Stan, Kayo, live TV – get it all in one box. Enjoy the best streaming apps, the latest movies, live sports, catchup TV and more. Plus search across apps with a single voice remote.

Telstra Locator

Good gifts run in our family, and now they can in yours too. For the best family gift ideas, our Telstra Gift Shop elves recommend the handy Telstra Locator to help find the things that are important to you when you need them.

Gifts for kids

Santa wouldn’t forget the little ones! If you’re looking for gifts for kids, why not check out a DJI Mavic Mini to get them flying, or even something from our brand new gaming lineup like Xbox All Access?

Gifts for music lovers

Get inspired with Solo Pro wireless headphones. To deliver sound how you want it, Solo Pro features two listening modes: Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) and Transparency. Beats’ Pure ANC gives you the space to create with fully immersive sound, while Transparency helps you stay aware of your surroundings. Every detail of Solo Pro has been carefully considered, right down to the intuitive way the headphones turn on and off via folding. The ergonomic design delivers exceptional comfort for extended wear and sleek style. And with up to 22 hours of battery life, you can keep the music going no matter where your day takes you.

If rhythm is what they crave, music gifts are the perfect choice for Christmas. Why not try something like the Samsung Galaxy Buds, or the stylish and portable Harman Kardon Onyx 6.

Health & fitness gifts

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

If you’ve got a gym junkie on your hands, you’re spoiled for choice at our Gift Shop. Fitness gadgets are all the rage. You could get the stylish new Galaxy Watch Active 2, or even the new Apple Watch Series 5.

No matter who you’re shopping for, the Telstra Gift Shop has your Christmas shopping needs sorted!

Free calls and data over Christmas for those in need
Network | Telstra News |

More free calls and data over Christmas for those in need

By Jackie Coates December 18, 2019

Christmas is a time for connections. Too often, we take the phone in our pocket, the laptop on our desk or tablet in our bag for granted as a means to reach out to those we love. We’re driven to connect every Australian to the ones they love, especially those in need. This year, we’re not only bringing back our free payphone calls over Christmas, but we’re expanding it for anyone who needs it.

Once again, we’re opening up our payphone network to provide free local, national and standard mobile calls from Telstra payphones around the country. On top of the free calls, we’re also making selected Telstra Air Wi-Fi access points free to anyone during this time.

Free calls and data over Christmas for those in need
Jana Kotatko, Telstra, and Major Brendan Nottle, The Salvation Army

In previous years, we had opened our payphones from December 24-26, but this year we’re extending the time Aussies can take advantage of the free calls. We’ll be opening our payphone network up from December 24 – 1 January 2020 inclusive.

Last year, over 120,000 calls were placed during the period. Meanwhile, over 23,000 users connected to our Telstra Air hotspots over the period, with 3.55 terabytes transferred in total. We’re proud to expand the window this year to ensure more people can connect than ever before.

We’re driven to ensure that those who are separated from their families by circumstance, or even those who want to reconnect for the first time in a long time are given every opportunity on our network. Christmas is a time where feelings of isolation and loneliness can be at their peak, so we want to bring families closer together with a simple phone call, text or video call.

Image: Herald Sun

“We know it’s some of the most vulnerable members of our community who’ll benefit most and we hope they can take this opportunity to reach out and reconnect with their loved ones over Christmas,” said Major Brendan Nottle, The Salvation Army.

“A simple phone call could make all the difference this Christmas and help reconnect Australians doing it tough with their loved ones or long-lost family or friends.”

We’ll be spreading the word about this offer far and wide in the lead-up to Christmas so we can be sure those in need know that a friendly voice is just one free call away.

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.

Things you need to know:

Free calls around Australia to local, national and standard mobiles from Telstra payphones from 24 December 2019 – 1 January 2020 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.

Images: Herald Sun

Home Alone (Telstra TV Box Office, Foxtel Now) - Telstra TV
Entertainment |

Our 12 faves of Christmas streaming on Telstra TV

By Ryan Dunn December 13, 2019

The Christmas countdown has officially begun! With only twelve days left until Christmas, we share our twelve festive favourites to stream this holiday season on Telstra TV.

1. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (Telstra TV Box Office, Foxtel Now)

Perfect for the whole family is the fiendishly funny story of everyone’s favourite Christmas curmudgeon – DR. SEUSS’ THE GRINCH, streaming fresh from the cinema on Telstra TV Box Office and Foxtel Now. While the Whos of Whoville prepare to celebrate the best Christmas yet, grumpy old Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) just wants to be left in peace. Along with his trusty dog Max, he decides to put an end to the festivities once and for all – with a plot to impersonate Santa and ruin Christmas.

2. Holiday in the Wild (Netflix)

Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a heartwarming romcom – and this year Netflix is delivering the goods and then some with HOLIDAY IN THE WILD, available to stream now. Just when she’s coming to terms with her son leaving for college, Kate (played by Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis) is blindsided by her husband suddenly leaving her. Heading off on their “second honeymoon” to Africa by herself, she meets a handsome pilot (Rob Lowe). When the pair rescue an infant elephant, Kate decides to spend Christmas at the elephant sanctuary where together they nurse the young orphan back to health.

3. Christmas episodes of your favourite sitcoms (Stan)

Stan have taken the work out of finding every Christmas episode of your favourite TV sitcoms in their hand-picked Christmas collection. In the lead up to this Christmas, laugh along with some festively funny episodes of television’s most-loved comedy gems including Friends, Will & Grace, Family Guy, Parks and Recreation, The Golden Girls, The Nanny, Absolutely Fabulous, Frasier, The Office and more – streaming right now, only on Stan.

4. Domain Test Series: Australia v New Zealand (Kayo, Foxtel Now)

For many sports fans, Christmas means Cricket – and with Kayo and Fox Cricket’s all-day coverage, you can catch the DOMAIN TEST SERIES live and catch up on key moments you might have missed or want to revisit. The First Test is streaming this weekend – and after your Christmas Day backyard bash with the neighbours, stream the Boxing Day Test on 26 December against our other neighbours, New Zealand. Start your 14 day free trial of Kayo today*.

*14 day free trial on Basic and Premium plans for new Kayo customers only. Standard subscription rate will apply after trial period.

5. Woolworths Carols in the Domain (7plus)

Get your song books out and your vocal cords warmed up for the 37th Annual CAROLS IN THE DOMAIN, streaming live on 7plus from 8.00pm (AEDT) on Saturday 21 December. Hosted by Sunrise presenters David Koch and Natalie Barr, Australia’s largest Christmas concert will beam all your favourite Christmas songs from Sydney’s Domain directly into your living room – performed by some of Australia’s biggest stars and fan favourites including The Wiggles, Lucy Durack, Adam Brand, Paulini, Shannon Noll, Vanessa Amorosi and The Salvation Army Choir. And let’s not forget, a very special visit from Santa Claus himself!

6. Christmas Playlists (Spotify)

And if it’s Christmas music you’re in the mood for, there’s no better destination than Spotify on Telstra TV. Spotify’s curated playlists offer countless hours of streaming music to get you into the Christmas spirit, no matter what the occasion. Wrapping presents on your living room floor? Check out Christmas Is Coming. A pre-Chrissy catch-up with mates? Crank up the Christmas Party. And the perfect soundtrack to Christmas Day lunch with the family? There’s nothing better than Christmas Favourites. Plus try your first 3 months of Spotify Premium for free*. To get started, download the Spotify app today from the App Store on your Telstra TV.

* Spotify® Premium 3 Month Free Trial Offer: Monthly subscription fee applies after. Terms and conditions apply. Only open to users who haven’t already tried Premium.

7. Buttons: A Christmas Tale (Telstra TV Box Office)

Hollywood legends Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke star in this new release family film with plenty of old-school charm – BUTTONS: A CHRISTMAS TALE, available now on Telstra TV Box Office. Set in the early 1900s, this heartwarming musical is narrated by Kate Winslet and Robert Redford and centres on Emily (played by Noelle Parker), an orphan who is visited by her guardian angel Rose (Lansbury) when she falls ill on Christmas Eve. To help her through the difficult time, Rose tells her the story of Annabelle (Alivia Clark) – another orphan who overcame an unbearable situation when she was forced to work in a textile mill sewing buttons.

8. The Knight Before Christmas (Netflix)

New to Netflix this holiday season is the time-traveling romantic comedy, THE KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Vanessa Hudgens stars as Brooke, an unlucky-in-love science teacher who has given up on dating until she meets Sir Cole (Josh Whitehouse), a chivalrous knight from the middle-ages who has been magically transported into the present day. Helping him make sense of the strange new world around him, Brooke and the medieval gent grow close. And as he works towards finding his way back home, Cole begins to wonder if he wouldn’t rather stay in the present.

9. Home Alone (Telstra TV Box Office, Foxtel Now)

No Christmas watch-list would be complete without the perennial favourite, HOME ALONE – available to stream on Telstra TV Box Office and Foxtel Now. Macaulay Culkin plays eight year old Kevin McCallister, left behind to fend for himself when his entire extended family leave in a hurry for their Christmas vacation. Initially enjoying the freedom of having the whole house to himself, he’s interrupted when two blundering burglars (played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) turn up to rob the place. Showing incredible ingenuity, Kevin sets a series of elaborate booby-traps – sabotaging their efforts to hilarious effect.

10. Love Actually (Telstra TV Box Office, Amazon Prime Video, Stan)

Another crowd-pleaser consistently topping the most-watched lists every Christmas is the ode to holiday romance, LOVE ACTUALLY – available now on Telstra TV Box Office, Amazon Prime Video and Stan. With an incredible ensemble cast including Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney and Bill Nighy, this ambitious anthology film packs ten separate relationship stories into one exceedingly watchable package. From new loves and young love, to unrequited love, love triangles and workplace affairs, Love Actually explores the highs and lows of romance experienced by a diverse group of Londoners in the lead up to Christmas.

11. Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show (Amazon Prime Video)

Join country superstar singer/songwriter Kacey Musgraves in her adorably funny holiday variety show, THE KACEY MUSGRAVES CHRISTMAS SHOW, streaming now on Amazon Prime Video. With special guests including Camila Cabello, Kendall Jenner, James Corden, Lana Del Rey, Fred Armisen, Zooey Deschanel and Australia’s Troye Sivan, Kacey performs duets of her own songs and Christmas classics with her celebrity guests – sprinkled with comedy sketches and banter throughout to bring on the festive cheer.

12. It’s a Wonderful Life (Stan)

Regarded by Rotten Tomatoes as the number one Christmas film of all time is IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, available to stream now on Stan. Set in the small town of Bedford Falls, the film follows George Bailey (played by James Stewart), a bank worker who is struggling financially and considering ending it all when a hapless angel named Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers) comes down to earth to show him what life might have been like for those around him if he had never been born. Reflecting on the positive impact of his life’s many selfless acts, George realises that he certainly has had a “wonderful life”.

Find out more about the new Telstra TV* and discover more of what you love.

Exclusive to Telstra broadband customers. Requires a compatible TV with HDMI port. A minimum internet speed of 3.5mbps is recommended. Antenna required to access free to air channels in your area. Subscription and data charges apply. Search not available across all apps.