What are the accessibility features of Telstra payphones?

Need to use a payphone a little differently? We’ve got you covered. These are how our payphones are accessible to everyone.
Luke Hopewell · 22 April 2024 · 7 minute read

Why do payphones need to be accessible anyway?

Imagine needing to make an urgent call but being unable to reach the phone because it's not accessible—it's a situation nobody should face.

Accessible payphones can be lifelines for anyone, including those with disabilities. And in everyday life, they foster a sense of belonging and community when everyone can use them freely.

Accessibility isn't just a checkbox for us —it's about safety and community inclusion, and about complying with the important Universal Service Obligation (USO).

Our accessible payphone features

National Relay Service (NRS) support

You can use our payphones to help you contact the National Relay Service (NRS).

The NRS is staffed by specially-trained Relay Officers who can help you communicate if you are otherwise-abled.

Relay Officers can help you to change voice to text (and vice versa), change Auslan to English (and vice versa) and most importantly, make sure that what you said is communicated exactly to your intended party without it being changed.

All the information you share via the NRS is kept confidential, and it’s free to use.

NRS voice calls are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Video Relay calls, however, are only available between 7am and 6pm (AEST) Monday to Friday, and 8am to 12-midday on Saturdays. Unfortunately, Video Relay calls are not available on Sundays or national public holidays.

There are a number of ways to access the NRS service.

You can also access the NRS via an Android or iOS app.

Teletypewriter Service (TTY)

The Teletypewriter service allows those who are deaf or have a communication impairment to stay in touch using our payphone.

TTY devices, also known as textphones, allow users to type messages back and forth over the telephone network.

These devices are equipped with a keyboard and a display screen, enabling real-time text communication.

The TTY service in Australia operates through the National Relay Service (NRS), which facilitates communication between TTY users and individuals using standard telephones.

Through the NRS, TTY users can connect with anyone via a relay officer who transmits their typed messages orally to the recipient, and vice versa.

This service is crucial for ensuring that individuals with hearing or speech impairments have equal access to telecommunications and can communicate effectively with others, including in emergency situations.

Right now, we have around 150 payphones with TTY support. To find your nearest one, head to our payphone finder on Telstra.com and search for the one closest to you.

Hearing aid loop and volume control

Sometimes you might need some help hearing the call you’re on when using a payphone. That’s why we have hearing aid couplers on our Telstra Smart Payphones.

The Smart Payphone is our standard payphone model, with thousands rolled out around the country. Simply switch your hearing aid into the T mode and it will pick up sound via the audio induction loop.

These payphones also have four volume levels so you can adjust it to your needs by pressing the button that looks like a speaker.


How can I find accessible payphones?

All of our payphone are searchable using the payphone finder tool on Telstra.com.

Every listing includes the accessibility features of the particular payphone so you’ll know what’s available before you go.

By Luke Hopewell

Editor, tech expert and Senior Specialist Writer at Telstra Exchange

Luke Hopewell is an editor, tech expert and Senior Specialist Writer at Telstra Exchange. Luke joined Telstra in 2019 where he has had the privilege to help bring stories to life in a unique and human way. He was previously the head of editorial at Twitter Australia and the editor of cult tech site Gizmodo. For over a decade, Luke’s passion for technology has always driven him to seek out the latest gadgets and game-changers, and help others to understand how it all works. In another life he was a cyber security specialist where he sought to educate people about how to stay safe online. When he's not writing, he's getting outdoors and patting all the nice dogs he meets.