Universal Service Obligation (USO)

Telstra has a Universal Service Obligation (USO) to ensure standard telephone services (STS) and payphones are reasonably accessible to all people in Australia on an equitable basis, wherever they work or live.


We operate various payphones around the country that provide access to local, national and international calls for a fee, 24 hour access to emergency service numbers (free of charge), and operator and directory assistance.

Standard telephone service

We fulfil our obligation to provide an STS by giving customers access to a reliable telephone service that has good voice reception and ensures connections and faults associated with this service are undertaken and repaired within a reasonable time.

A USO STS includes the following features:

  • Access to local, national and international calls
  • Untimed local calls
  • 24 hour free access to emergency service numbers
  • Priority Assistance (for those with a life threatening medical condition) 
  • Customer service Guarantee (acceptable connection and repair timeframes)
  • A unique telephone number with or without a directory listing
  • Preselection (which allows the user to preselect another provider for long distance, fixed to mobile and international calls where the STS is provided over our copper network)
  • Calling line identification
  • Operator and directory assistance and,
  • Itemised billing.

You can request that we provide a standard telephone handset on request for an additional cost.  We also provide people with hearing, speech, vision, dexterity or mobility impairments with an alternative form of communication including equipment necessary to use this service.  For more information see our disability products and services.

Our national pricing ensures that customers in remote areas pay the same price for an STS as our customers in cities.  While this service has traditionally been provided as a fixed line telephone service, our obligation is technology neutral meaning we can choose the technology over which we provide you with this service.  For example in some remote areas we provide customers with an STS over satellite.

For more information please call 13 22 00.

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