Media Release, 01 January 2020

Free mobile bills for firefighters

1 January 2020 – Telstra has this afternoon announced that it will provide registered volunteer firefighters with free mobile bills over December and January.

Telstra Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Penn said the company would cover the mobile phone bills of its firefighter customers over this period to show thanks for their efforts in helping keep communities safe.

“We understand how important it is to reach out to friends and family during times of crisis, and we want to do all we can to help. So in addition to the assistance packages that we always make available for our customers during emergencies, we wanted to also ensure that Australia’s volunteer firefighters are supported as well,” said Mr Penn.

“We hope this will help ease some of the burden, particularly as many of these firefighters are defending their own communities.

Today’s announcement follows a number of assistance packages announced by Telstra over the last few weeks for those communities impacted by fires. This included a package announced yesterday for Victorian customers that have lost service as a result of the fires in East Gippsland and parts of Northern Victoria including Corryong, Walwa, Towong, Cudgewa and Burrowye.

The assistance packages provide customers with access to free and interim services during the recovery period, in addition to providing the wider community with free calls and free Telstra Air Wi-Fi through local payphones.

Mr Penn said Telstra had been working alongside emergency services personnel in fire affected areas since they first started in late October last year and was currently working with emergency services personnel in Victoria and NSW to restore services as quickly as possible.

“A number of Telstra services have been affected and, in some cases, adverse conditions and road closures are preventing us from safely reaching some areas. This is the result of either fires damaging our infrastructure or loss of power to our sites,” said Mr Penn.

“We have hundreds of Telstra employees working closely with emergency services to support the response to these disasters and to ensure our teams have access to areas of need as soon as they are deemed safe to enter, or under escort.

“We are doing everything we can to get these communities back up and connected as quickly as possible but given the horrific conditions we have seen over the past few days, this may take some time. This is our highest priority and our thoughts are with all of those who have had to endure such terrible conditions and loss.

Firefighter volunteers should contact Telstra to on 132203 when convenient to register for the free calls over December and January.

Customers who have had to evacuate their home or have lost their home due to the bushfires should also call 132 203 to register for the assistance package.


Media contact: Matthew Wu & Steve Carey
Ref number: 01/2020


Telstra’s relief packages can include the following:

Short term measures :

(for Telstra customers who have a short-term impact – temporary evacuation of premises or temporary fault)

  • Free use of Telstra public payphones in the affected areas
  • Free use of Telstra Air payphone hotspots in the affected areas
  • Free call diversion from an affected fixed home or business phone service to another fixed or mobile service of the customer’s choice, regardless of the carrier
  • Customers who use the free call diversion to divert their affected fixed home or business phone to their Telstra mobile service can also make local and STD® calls on their mobile at fixed-line rates, in  accordance with their selected plan (limited to one designated Telstra mobile per affected household or business.
  • Affected Telstra mobile customers who do not have a Telstra home phone can receive a one-off credit to the value of $100 inc. GST (limited to one mobile phone per Telstra mobile account).

The above offers are applicable until network damage in the area due to fire is repaired, or while customers remain evacuated, for a maximum period of three months from the date of the fires.

Long-term measures:

(for Telstra customers who have suffered severe damage to or loss of their premises)

  • Free call diversion from the customer’s Telstra fixed phone service to another Australian fixed or mobile service of their choice, regardless of the carrier. This offer is applicable for a maximum period of 6 months from the date of the fire.
  • In addition, Telstra will apply a one-off credit to the value of $500 inc. GST to the customer’s Telstra fixed phone account to help cover the costs of the following, if required: Connection of a Telstra fixed phone service at one temporary residence
  • Re-connection of a Telstra fixed phone service at the customer’s original permanent premises

Please remember to stay safe and listen to warnings from authorities.

For states affected by the bushfires, customers can read more about the disaster relief packages that are available for Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland.