From Christmas Eve until December 28 Telstra payphones will offer free local, national and mobile calls for those looking for a way to reach out and get in touch with loves ones this Christmas.

At first glance you might think wow, cool, I can call mum for free.  But no, this isn’t about the average joe making a free call.  Most Australians have access to a mobile or landline, the people who don’t are most likely to be those who haven’t reached out to family or friends in some time.


This might include the homeless, or less fortunate in society and this announcement from Telstra allows anyone to reconnect, even if it’s just to say “I’m ok”.

Stuart Bird, Telstra Executive Director Home and Business Products said “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,” Mr Bird said.

Cathy Humphrey, CEO, Sacred Heart Mission encouraged people who haven’t contacted their loved ones in a while to take advantage of the free calls at Telstra Payphones “Christmas can be an extremely tough time for many Australians who are either going through a difficult time themselves or are missing someone they love.

“There are many reasons people might lose contact with friends and family. With financial barriers removed, we’re encouraging anyone who is apart from their loved ones this Christmas to give them a call.”

The initiative from Telstra was welcomed by several organisations who support the less fortunate in our community on a daily basis:29406540331_81eab61980_b

  • “We’re expecting to support more than 100,000 people this Christmas by providing meals, beds and gifts right around Australia. For many of these people, Christmas is a lonely time as they don’t have contact with family, friends and other loved ones for various reasons. So we welcome Telstra’s announcement and generosity, which makes it one step easier for people to re-connect this Christmas,” – Salvation Army spokesperson Major Paul Hateley.
  • “The St Vincent de Paul Society helps people in need over the Christmas period with food vouchers, hampers and other assistance including Telstra vouchers. Connecting with others is always important – but for people who are feeling isolated at Christmas, it can be an especially lonely time. The Society welcomes news of free calls from payphones from 24-28 December, to give people who are struggling financially, the means to contact others across Australia,” – Dr John Falzon, National CEO, St Vincent de Paul Society.
  • “Every year we support thousands of families, single parents and adults experiencing hardship through a range of services including food relief and emergency accommodation. Christmas can be a really challenging time for many of the people we support at Wesley. Being able to connect with friends and family at this time of year is often just as important as accessing accommodation, food and financial support. We welcome this initiative from Telstra to help more people get in touch with loved ones this Christmas, regardless of their circumstances,” – Raelene Thompson Chief Operating Officer Wesley Mission.

And if you think Payphones are dead, aside from them forming part of Telstra’s “Air” WiFi network – here’s a little “Did you know” : Some of Australia’s most-used payphones are located in:

  • Mr Druitt (NSW),
  • Melbourne Airport (VIC),
  • Royal Brisbane Hospital (Qld),
  • Tennant Creek (NT) and
  • King Leopold Ranges (WA).

The fine print:

  • Restricted to local calls, national calls to standard fixed lines and calls to standard Australian mobiles on Telstra-branded payphones.
  • National calls to standard fixed line numbers excludes some usage such as calls to premium numbers (eg 19xx numbers), 1234 and 12456 numbers.
  • Satellite numbers are not standard mobiles.
  • Excludes Telstra rented payphones