After Telstra announces that it will be available for free on Tuesday, Australians will no longer have to carry coins to use payphones.
Telstra’s 15,000 payphones can now make standard domestic and SMS calls for free, but users still have to pay for international calls.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said payphones are a symbolic part of Australian history and have played an important role in the last 18 months of emergencies.
“Many Australians may not think much about them until a natural disaster occurs, as mobile phones have become almost universal. Until they escape vulnerable situations, homelessness, or domestic violence.” Penn said In the statement. “That’s why I thought it was time to make payphones free.”
Last year, Australians made 11 million calls over payphones, with more than 230,000 calling for emergency services such as 000.
Telstra expects to lose $ 5 million in revenue from this decision, but Penn said it wasn’t a big deal.
“Payphones are also the lifeblood of thousands of vulnerable Australians, including homeless, isolated and fleeing domestic violence, and can provide important support services and the only link to those who care for them. Often, “he said.
The Salvation Army’s main Brendan Notre called this decision a “game changer” and was able to help Australians get out of poverty and isolation.
“In reality, this infrastructure is absolutely important because many Australians don’t have a cell phone, have lost their cell phone or phone charger, or simply lack credit.” He said..
Telstra has previously introduced a program that allows 600 free payphones to be used in remote indigenous and wildfire-affected communities.
“I think there were 3.5 million calls in two months from all the payphones we used for free in Queensland and New South Wales during the wildfire last year.” Penn said ABC radio.
Telstra maintains payphones for Australians within 20 years Contract The federal government pays the telephone giant $ 40 million annually for this service.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said Telstra has promised not to seek more funding and will “watch closely” the impact of the decision.
“If this decision further improves accessibility to communication, it will be a positive step.” Fletcher said.