Telstra will be picking up the tab for some of its services over Christmas, with customers being given free calls from landlines and payphones from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day.
Local, national and standard mobile phone calls from home phones and 16,000 payphones nationally will be free from 24 to 26 December.
The freebie does not include mobile phones calling out, and it excludes international calls, 13-numbers and premium and directory services.
It will include free WiFi at selected Telstra Air public hotspots. Data is already free for activated customers from these hotspots.
In 2016, when Telstra ran a free payphone calls campaign over Christmas for the first time, more than 271,000 calls were made over three days, Telstra’s head of fixed products Jana Kotatko said.
Last year, the free calls special ran from 24 to 28 December – but did not include landlines.
“This year, by giving people even more ways to contact their friends and family for free, we expect to see this figure to rise by at least ten times,” she said.
This is expected to be particularly important for those without the technology or the financial means to get in touch with their loved ones, Salvation Army major Brendan Nottle said.
“This initiative from Telstra is helping to provide an invaluable solution to the problem, by offering everyone in the country – regardless of their personal situation – the chance to connect this Christmas,” he said.
The network typically records an increase in calls on these services over the festive season.
The 2016 promotion came after scrutiny for the payphone network, with the Productivity Commission review of the Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation recommending scrapping Telstra’s Universal Service Obligation funds.
Telstra receives about $300 million annually to supply the network – including $100 million from the government and an industry levy.
In 2015/16 the industry levy totalled $218 million, including $142 million from Telstra itself.Of this, about $44 million a year is spent maintaining payphones, with an additional $253 million spent on supplying standard telephone services.
The Productivity Commission recommended winding down the payphone obligations as it was “difficult to justify” continuing payphones when compared with the extensive coverage of mobile services across the country.
In November, Telstra unveiled the first overhaul of its payphones since the 1980s in partnership with outdoor advertising company JCDecaux. The redesign includes digital information screens, advertising panels, charging docks and WiFi hotspots.
The first new payphones were rolled out in Perth, with other cities to follow in 2018.
Telstra last upgraded part of its payphone network in 2014, converting some of Telstra’s payphones into WiFi hotspots.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.