From August 25th 2022, a quarter of Telstra’s 12,000 payphones Australia-wide will offer free Wi-Fi access to anyone, with work already underway to enable free Wi-Fi for the other 9,000-ish payphones over the next few years.
The easiest way to log into free Telstra Wi-Fi is to find a “Free Telstra Wi-Fi” branded payphone and connect to the “Free Telstra Wi-Fi” network in your device settings.
Telstra says this is the next step in ensuring all Australians are able to stay connected and follows their decision last year to all standard calls to landlines and mobiles within Australia made from public payphones free.
Almost 19 million free calls have been made from Telstra payphones in the past year, with over 250,000 calls made to critical services like Triple Zero (000) and Lifeline. Centrelink was the most dialled service from payphones in the past year.
Those calls show more than a 70% rise in call volume from payphones when compared to the previous year when calls made from them were charged.
Payphones have played a vital role in many communities across the country, particularly those impacted by disasters such as the recent floods in Northern NSW and Queensland, and summer bushfires.
These areas are where Telstra is prioritising upgrading their payphones to be more power resilient and enabling Wi-Fi.
As part of their T25 strategy, Telstra says they are committed to supporting digital inclusion and keeping customers in vulnerable circumstances connected. Making payphone calls and Wi-Fi free and accessible to everyone is part of that.