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.

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Safe and secure communications for anyone experiencing domestic and family violence

By Lyndall Stoyles November 25, 2021

Nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime*. In times of crises, the numbers rise, including over the past 18 months with the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns. Most of this violence against women occurs in the home.

Today is the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Domestic and family violence (D&FV) can be physical, financial, emotional or psychological. Victim-survivors of domestic and family violencecan feel trapped inside their own home. And in today’s connected world, many abusers are misusing technology to make it even harder for people to escape or get help.

Disconnecting is not the answer. Because people need to stay connected.

At Telstra, we’re committed to providing access to safe and secure communications for anyone experiencing D&FV.

We’ve set up several initiatives to help, as well as worked with the Telco Together Foundation to create a united framework that will help all telco service providers better support victim-survivors of D&FV.

What we’re doing to help address domestic and family violence

D&FV can happen to anyone and staying connected is especially important if you’re living in a volatile environment. If you or someone you know is experiencing or has left a D&FV situation and needs access to safe communication, we can help.

We know that perpetrators of abuse can track personal devices and communication made from them. Our free payphones are a safe and secure channel for victims of domestic and family violence to seek help and support – simply call 1800 RESPECT from any Telstra payphone nationally.

For Telstra customers, our customer support team is trained to identify affected customers and can refer you to our SAFE team for further help. The SAFE team is specially trained to help victim-survivors stay safely connected to their Telstra services and can be reached between 8am – 6pm weekdays on 1800 452 566.

Since 2014, we’ve also been close partners with WESNET, the peak body for specialist women’s domestic and family violence services. We’ve donated over 34,000 smartphones with $30 of pre-paid credit to WESNET to give to victim-survivors impacted by D&FV as well as providing our dedicated SAFE customer support team to help victim-survivors safely activate the service.

WESNET provides the phones through its network of specially trained frontline agencies across the country through our joint Safe Connections program.

Where to get help

Call 000 if you are in immediate danger.

Call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) – The National Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Counselling Service offers confidential online and telephone counselling, information and referral services.

Call the Telstra SAFE team (1800 452 566) – our specially trained consultants help victim-survivors stay safely connected to their Telstra services.

Ask Izzy – Ask Izzy is a website that connects people in need with housing, a meal, money help, family violence support, counselling and much more. It is free and anonymous, and if you’re on the Telstra mobile network, you can access Ask Izzy on your phone even if you don’t have credit or access to Wi-Fi.

Use this map to find your nearest payphone:

For more information on how we can all help, go to domestic and family violence assistance on

*World Health Organization, on behalf of the United Nations Inter-Agency Working Group on Violence Against Women Estimation and Data (2021). Violence against women prevalence estimates, 2018. Global, regional and national prevalence estimates for intimate partner violence against women and global and regional prevalence estimates for non-partner sexual violence against women.

Telstra News |

Why we’re making payphones free for calls around Australia

By Andrew Penn August 3, 2021

I wanted to share the news that local and national calls to standard fixed line numbers and calls to standard Australian mobiles on Telstra’s public payphones are now free.

This means any Australian can now use all of our 15,000 payphones on street corners and in the tiny towns, truck stops and airports in every corner of the country to make calls for free.

It’s an important moment, and I wanted to explain why we’ve done it.

Payphones have been part of Australia’s landscape since they were first used in the 1880’s and at one point – just before the arrival of mobiles – there were more than double the number that we have today.

Since mobiles became nearly universal, a lot of Australians might not give them much thought. Until there’s a natural disaster. Until you’re in vulnerable circumstances, homeless or fleeing domestic violence.

That’s why I decided it’s time to make payphones free. Because even in the age of the smartphone they play such a critical role in our community, particularly in times of need, and particularly for those in need.

I’ve seen myself how much payphones are part of the fabric of Australia and how important they are in good times, and bad. I’ve seen queues of people waiting in line, coins at the ready, to use a payphone to call home and tell their family and friends they’re safe after a bushfire, a cyclone or some other natural disaster has taken the mobile network down.

I know payphones are also a lifeline for thousands of vulnerable Australians – the homeless, the isolated, those escaping domestic violence – and often provide their only link to critical support services and those that care about them.

Last year alone Australians made 11 million calls on payphones, including more than 230,000 calls to vital services like Triple Zero, so there’s no doubt payphones are already often the lifeline that’s there when it’s needed most.

Telstra’s purpose is to build a connected future so everyone can thrive. To deliver on this ambition we want to contribute to a better, more caring and more inclusive Australia, an Australia where people can reach out for help if and when they need to, or just connect if they feel like it.

The payphone network that we’ve been maintaining since the 1880s is a key part of that, and I’m delighted it’s now free for everyone to make calls anywhere in Australia.

Telstra News |

Payphones and Telstra Air are free again this Christmas and New Year

By Jackie Coates December 21, 2020

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.

Telstra News |

Improving our payphone pricing and technology

By Pete Manwaring June 3, 2019

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

You may have already heard that we’re embarking on a modernisation project for around 1,800 payphones across the nation. Across our entire payphone network, we’re changing the way we charge for these services, as well as how they can be used.

From today, we are significantly improving the value of payphone calls. We have replaced distance-based pricing for national calls with a simple flat call rate of $0.50 untimed to standard fixed lines in Australia. Calls to Australian mobiles go from $0.50 per 35 seconds to $0.50 for 10 minutes – that’s 17 times the additional value to customers. And for the same cost of a call to an Australian mobile, we now have calls to 11 international destinations for $0.50 per 10 minutes, and reduced pricing and longer calls to a further 60 countries.

On top of these pricing changes, for the first time nationwide, our publicly accessible payphones will be able to receive incoming telephone calls. This will be of particular benefit to those communities where mobile phone usage isn’t as popular, allowing them to remain connected without a cost to them.

These are the most significant changes to payphone call costs in 13 years, giving users greater value for money and more ways to connect using our network.

Telstra provides over 15,500 public payphones across the country. Payphones across the country provide a vital civic utility, with 13 million calls made last year, 200,000 of which were emergency calls to ‘000’. Despite the growth of mobile phone usage, payphones remain a critical piece of social and community infrastructure, serving some of our most vulnerable citizens in their times of need.

Payphones also remain a popular way for Australians to connect with friends and family overseas, so pricing changes will be divided into four tariff bands: $0.50 per 10 minutes to 11 destinations, $0.50 for 2 minutes to 22 destinations, $0.50 for 1 minute to 40 destinations, and $0.50 for 15 seconds for the rest.

We’re also committed to ensuring that payphones help to support the most vulnerable in our community. In December 2018 Telstra, in partnership with Salvation Army, made local, national and standard mobile phone calls from our payphones free on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day to help connect people with their loved ones over the holiday season.

Over time, some of our new payphones will provide a number of additional services, designed to support Australia’s public communication needs for the next 20-30 years. Future payphones could contain a range of features including digital screens, Wi-Fi, 5G enabled technology, mobile device charging, as well as providing a space for communicating everything from emergency alerts to a range of content services such as public transport information to city maps, weather, tourist advice, information on nearby cultural attractions and the ability to promote the work of charitable organisations.

We want to connect people with the best technology and services possible, improving our public communications offering and the simplification of the pricing structure is just one way we are seeking to meet this goal.