Telstra providing 12,000 free phones to vulnerable 3G customers

19 June 2024

From today, Telstra will be providing around 12,000 complimentary mobile devices for some of their customers who are in difficult situations, live rurally or are elderly. These are customers who may need some external support transition when the 3G network closes, to ensure they’re able to stay connected after the 3G closure on 31 August.

These customers are in difficult situations, and facing things such as financial hardship, or recovering from a natural disaster. Some of these customers also depend on a working phone because they are living with a life-threatening medical condition (our ‘Priority Assistance’ customers). Many of these customers are also over 80 years old and living in regional areas, which can make visiting our stores challenging. 

Read more: ORION Training - DIY Artificial Insemination of Livestock

Major Brendan Nottle from The Salvation Army said, ”This initiative will benefit the most vulnerable members of our community. Connection is one of the most important things to maintain in our society, whether it is with friends and family or with housing and support services.

“Ensuring that every Australian, from any background or level of income, can take part in our modern digital society is crucial. A phone can be a gateway to social inclusion, community connection and support, and with the upcoming closure of 3G networks in Australia it is important for us to reach out and ensure that this can continue for everyone.”

While the majority of customers still using 3G devices are aware and able to take action, Telstra wanted to make sure they are taking extra care of those who need an extra hand ahead of the upcoming transition.

Read more: Tag Rebate Scheme Now Open for sheep and goat EID

How do I know if I’ll get a new handset from Telstra?

Telstra will be communicating with eligible customers in the coming weeks to let them know a device is on its way. All they have to do is follow the instructions in their package to switch to their new phone on the 4G network.

What do I need to do?

There are around 156,000 customers across consumer and small business that Telstra are communicating with to let them know that they have a handset that is either 3G only, does not support Voice over 4G (VoLTE), has 4G coverage limitations, or is 4G enabled but hardwired to use 3G for Emergency calls, and that they need to upgrade before the 3G closure to stay connected.

If you are in this group, you’ll currently hear a pre-recorded message when making an outgoing call on your mobile phone, reminding you to upgrade. 

If you are one of these customers, please don’t ignore it. It is there to remind you that your phone won’t work after 31 August, and you should act now before the network closes.