Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Telstra offers free WiFi from pay phones across Australia

Pay phones and phone boxes don’t quite have the use they once did, but Telstra is making them usable once again by giving them free WiFi to all.

If you’ve ever wondered exactly what a phone box does these days given everyone and their dog seems to have a mobile phone, wonder no more, because those phone boxes will serve another purpose: WiFi.

It’s something Telstra is kicking on this week, as it looks set to upgrade its network of payphones to support free WiFi, and not just for Telstra customers. While Telstra customers might have connected to a phone box in the past for using Telstra Air, anyone will be able to connect shortly for Free Telstra WiFi, as the telco turns on free wireless internet connections for anyone and everyone who wants to connect.

The move is similar to when Telstra switched on free domestic calls from its payphone network, and gives another reason to keep its phone boxes useful in Australia.

Around 3000 phone boxes will see free WiFi switched on to start with, but the remaining network totalling nearly 12,000 payphones will see free WiFi added in the years to come, providing some semblance of free internet access to anyone within reach.

Reach is important, though, because you’ll need to be within around 25 metres to a Telstra payphone to get the free WiFi, with representatives for the company noting to Pickr that each payphone will offer different speeds based on the type of internet connection they’re using, but they expect the connection speed should be “more than adequate for normal web use, browsing, checking emails, etc”.

Telstra Group Executive for Consumer and Small Business Michael Ackland said providing free Wi-Fi from Telstra payphones was the next step in building a connected future for all Australians, after making national payphone calls free last year.

“While a lot of us take connectivity for granted these days, many isolated or vulnerable people, although they may have access to a mobile device, don’t always have the data to be able to connect,” said Michael Auckland, Telstra Group Executive for Consumer and Small Business.

“Free Wi-Fi has the potential to make a massive difference in their ability to stay connected to family and friends and access essential services,” he said.

“And while it’s especially important for our community’s most vulnerable, our Free Wi-Fi is available for everyone – whether you’re a Telstra customer or not. So if you’re out and about, have run out of data and need to connect with mum on the family chat, you can get online and get in contact.”

Telstra’s free WiFi is switched on this week for many Telstra payphones across the country, but if you don’t see a sign or available WiFi network near yours, just wait. It’s coming, eventually.

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