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Telstra just wiped firefighters' mobile bills to $0

Tony Yoo
Buildings destroyed by fire are seen on the Main Street in Cobargo, NSW, Wednesday, January 1, 2020.
Main Street in Cobargo, NSW on Wednesday January 1, 2020. (AAP Image/Sean Davey)

Telstra has announced it will pay the mobile phone bills of volunteer firefighters.

"Today we’re doing our part to thank our volunteer firefighters by providing them with free mobile bills over December and January," said Telstra chief Andy Penn.

"We want to do this to show our thanks to firefighters for their efforts in helping keep communities safe... We’ve all witnessed the confronting scenes of bushfires around the country, and awed at the heroic volunteers battling the blazes."

Bushfires continue to devastate much of eastern Australia and have even disabled telecommunications infrastructure in some parts of NSW and Victoria.

"We’re 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," said Penn.

"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."

Volunteers firefighters applying for the mobile phone bill waiver should phone 13 22 03 to register for the offer.

The free phone bill initiative comes on top of the emergency assistance offered to fire victims in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.

Telstra customers suffering from short-term impacts may receive:

  • Free use of Telstra public pay phones 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 including GST (limited to one mobile phone per Telstra mobile account).

Those customers that have copped severe damage or loss of property may be eligible for:

  • 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.

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