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Telstra Pay Phone News

DCITA  >  Telecommunications  >  FAQs  >  Telecommunications services  >  FAQ - Payphone services


Issue
This FAQ provides an overview of the provision of Payphone services under the Universal Service Obligation (USO).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How are payphones provided?
2. How many payphones are there?
3. How can I find a payphone?
4. How do I go about getting a payphone installed in my area?
5. I asked for a payphone to be installed/removed and Telstra said no. What can I do?
6. How do I get a payphone relocated?
7. How do I report a broken payphone?
8. Why does it take so long for payphones to be fixed?
9. The payphone took my money but it didnt work. How do I get it back?
10. Who sets the price for calls made from a Telstra payphone?
11. How are the needs of people with a disability addressed?

1. How are payphones provided?

The provision of payphone services in Australia is subject to open competition. Telstra provides a little over half of the payphones in Australia. Other telecommunications providers, such as TriTel and Optus, also provide payphone services to the public.

The competitive provision of payphone services is supplemented by the Universal Service Obligation (USO) to ensure that payphone services are reasonably accessible to all people in Australia regardless of where they reside or carry on business.

Telstra, as the primary universal service provider for payphones is required to prepare a USO Standard Marketing Plan (SMP) that explains in detail how Telstra will meet its obligations under the USO to provide, remove and relocate payphones, as well as its service quality and fault rectification standards. A copy of Telstras SMP is available from its website at www.telstra.com.au/universalservice.

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2. How many payphones are there?

Telstra currently provides over 30 000 payphones throughout Australia. There are also approximately another 30 000 payphones privately operated by independent businesses (for example blue or gold Telstra payphones). A small percentage of payphones are also provided by other payphone operators.

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3. How can I find a payphone?

You can find Telstra payphone services by visiting Telstras Pubic Payphone Locator available on its website at www.telstra.com.au/payphoneservices/index.htm. Alternatively, you can contact Telstras payphone enquiry line on freecall 1800 011 433.

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4. How do I go about getting a payphone installed in my area?

Requests for the supply, relocation or removal of a Telstra operated payphone should be directed to Telstra, either through its payphone enquiry line on freecall 1800 011 433, or in writing to:

The Payphone Siting Manager,
Locked Bag 6658
Sydney NSW 1100

Under the USO Telstra, as Australia's universal service provider, is required by law to develop a USO SMP. The SMP sets out how Telstra will meet its legal obligation to provide payphone services.

Telstra will acknowledge, in writing, receipt of a request for the installation of a Telstra payphone. Telstra will make an assessment based on criteria set out in its SMP, and inform the customer of its decision regarding their request.

Independent businesses such as hotels, clubs and convenience stores, as well as payphone operators other than Telstra, may operate private payphone services.

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5. I asked for a payphone to be installed/removed and Telstra said no. What can I do?

As set out in its SMP, Telstra considers the following factors when making an assessment about payphone requests:

  • community size and location;
  • the nature of the site;
  • what services and infrastructure are currently available; and
  • the impact installing a payphone may have on the environment.

Telstra may conduct site visits and consult with the local community or other people affected by the supply, installation or removal of a payphone, before deciding its response to a payphone request.

Complaints that relate to the location of Telstra operated payphones should first be raised with Telstra. If Telstra doesn't resolve the complaint satisfactorily, you can refer it to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for further investigation. You can contact ACMA by phone on 03 9963 6800 or write to:

Industry Monitoring Team
PO Box 13112
Law Courts
Melbourne VIC 7010

There are also privately operated payphones available that can be purchased or leased and operated by persons other than Telstra. While there is a cost to purchase or lease a private payphone, there is potential to offset that cost through call revenue. For more information on privately operated payphones, you may wish to contact a Telstra shop, or another telecommunications equipment supplier.

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6. How do I get a payphone relocated?

Telstra, as the Primary Universal Service Provider (PUSP) for payphones is required to prepare a USO SMP that explains in detail how Telstra will meet its obligations to remove payphones as well as its service quality and fault rectification standards. A copy of Telstras SMP is available from its website at www.telstra.com.au/universalservice.

As set out in its SMP, Telstra considers the following factors when making an assessment about a request to relocate a payphone:

  • changes in usage and demand;
  • whether the payphone still satisfies the criteria for the provision of a payphone;
  • where there is demonstrable evidence and community agreement that the local community no longer want the payphone;
  • where there has been significant or sustained costs due to repeated misuse and damage to the facility; and
  • where the health or safety of the public or Telstra staff is a high risk due to issues relating to the location of the payphone.

Telstra will conduct site visits and consult with the local community or other people affected by the relocation of a payphone, before deciding its response to a payphone request.

Requests for relocation of a Telstra payphone can be made by writing to:

The Payphone Siting Manager
Locked Bag 6658
Sydney NSW 1100

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7. How do I report a broken payphone?

Faults on Telstra payphones should be reported to Telstra through its payphone enquiry line on freecall 1802244.

Faults on privately operated payphones should be brought to the attention of the private operator. Where that operator is a Telstra customer, Telstra remains bound by its standard marketing plan and must endeavour to fix the fault within one to three working days of receiving a fault report from the private operator. Repair times for privately operated payphones, where the operator is not a Telstra customer, will depend on the service agreement negotiated between the private operator and their telecommunications provider.

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8. Why does it take so long for payphones to be fixed?

Telstra will endeavour to fix payphone faults within one to three working days of receiving a fault report, depending on the nature and location of a fault.

Repair times for privately operated payphones, where the operator is not a Telstra customer, will depend on the service agreement negotiated between the private operator and their telecommunications provider.

Complaints about Telstra payphone services should be directed to Telstra in the first instance. If you arent able to resolve a service fault complaint with Telstra satisfactorily, it can be referred to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) for further investigation. The TIO provides a free and independent dispute resolution service to consumers with complaints about their telephone or Internet service. You can make a complaint to the TIO online at http://www.tio.com.au/, or contact them on freecall 1800 062 058.

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9. The payphone took my money but didnt work. How do I get it back?

Complaints about incorrect charging or service faults that you can't satisfactorily resolve with the phone operator can be referred to the TIO for further investigation. The TIO provides a free and independent dispute resolution service to consumers with complaints about their telephone or Internet service. You can make a complaint to the TIO online http://www.tio.com.au/, or contact them on freecall 1800 062 058.

Charging complaints can sometimes result from a lack of understanding about the limitations of payphone services and how to use them most effectively. ACMA provides usage tips for consumers on its website http://www.acma.gov.au/.

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10. Who sets the price for calls made from a Telstra payphone?

While Telstra operates on a commercial basis and is generally responsible for setting service prices, the Government has some price controls. These controls include a price cap of 40 cents on the charge for local calls from Telstra payphones. To maintain a viable payphone industry, from 1 January 2006, this price cap will be increased from 40 cents to 50 cents. Other payphone providers set the charges for calls from their privately operated payphones.

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11. How are the needs of people with a disability addressed?

Telstra consults with, and takes into account the needs of people with a disability when providing payphones. This is reflected in Telstras approach to siting payphones, equipment and booth design and installation standards. Telstra currently provides over 220 Teletypewriter (TTY) payphones for the speech and/or hearing impaired. TTY payphone enquiries can be directed to freecall 180 22 44 or TTY freecall 1800 808 981.

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Further Information

More information on Telstras payphone system services can be found on Telstra website at www.telstra.com.au/payphoneservices/index.htm or you can visit telinfo, the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts regional communications website at http://www.telinfo.gov.au/.

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