A nationwide initiate being rolled out by Telstra will allow residents to make free calls from payphones across Australia over the festive period, starting Christmas Eve and running until the end of January 1.
A nationwide initiate being rolled out by Telstra will allow residents to make free calls from payphones across Australia over the festive period, starting Christmas Eve and running until the end of January 1.

Christmas connections are free for those in need

STAYING in touch with loved ones over Christmas has just become a little easier.

A nationwide initiate being rolled out by Telstra will allow residents to make free calls from payphones across Australia over the festive period, starting Christmas Eve and running until the end of January 1.

The free service includes local, national and standard mobile calls, and also features free Wi-Fi at selected access points.

Last year's free service ran from December 24-26 and saw more than 120,000 calls made, and 23,000 users connected to Telstra Air hot spots over the same period.

Telstra customer value management executive Jana Kotatko said the free service, now in its fourth year, was created to help connect family, friends and loved ones.

"While many of us rely on smartphones and tablets, we know there's a lot of people, including some of the community's most vulnerable, who'll use our payphones to make a call that will matter this holiday period," she said.

"We know how successful the free call period was last year with 120,000 calls made from Telstra payphones so this year we're extending it from Christmas Eve through to New Year's Day."

The Salvation Army's Simon Gregroy said the service was especially important for vulnerable people suffering from feeling of social isolation during the festive period.