This week Telstra in working with the Salvation Army has announced that once again they will provide a Christmas opportunity for you to connect with your family for free.
Between the 24-26 of December you will be able to use some Telstra services to talk to your loved ones for free. It is estimated that last year over a quarter of a million Australians spoke to their families for free using the payphone network. This year the Australian Telco icon will make available their landlines and WIFI hotspots to let you send out your Christmas greetings across Australia. (The offer does not include International, Mobile and other premium services such as 13 numbers).
Most people would be surprised that there are still almost 17000 payphones still in use around the country. The closet like, street corner wood and glass booth where you could hide from the weather are a distant memory now with the modern stylised payphone open to the elements already a relic from the past. But there are still many Australians who rely on these services. There are many who simply cannot afford to keep increasing their communication costs year after year and many who are homeless and have no way of "staying in touch".
The Salvation Army says that this Telstra offering is a great opportunity for those wanting to reach out to those they love without worrying about the cost.
“A phone call can go a long way in combating those feelings of isolation but many people find themselves without the technology or financial means to get in touch with their loved ones.’’
Some media have been a little snotty that the Telecommunications giant is not offering this to their mobile network or premium services. They sound more like Christmas Grinch editorial gripes rather than real criticism. Yes it’s a good promotion for Telstra and yes they’ll probably sell more phones as a result of the extra publicity but Telstra like many large companies don’t just give over the Christmas period. They provide real hardship programs for people needing financial assistance and work with Financial Counselors to write off unmanageable debts or provide payment plans that are realistic whilst others are very quiet on the frontline of assisting people with financial problems.
Telstra also provides mobile phones to people in need, as part of the work it does with The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, Anglicare Australia and The Smith Family.
Many businesses will be giving, and receiving publicity this Christmas. So it may have the markings of an easy news story and good publicity for telstra but it doesn’t detract from the fact that it will bring a whole lot of joy to a whole lot of people this Christmas by connecting Australians with their loved ones.