Telstra Hangs Up On Free Wi-Fi: Paid Network Ahead

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If you have been happily using one of Telstra’s free 2600 Wi-Fi hotspots to connect to the Net, prepare to say goodbye to the service. Telstra will begin switching off the freebies on Sunday as it prepares to launch its much bigger – and more lucrative – paid Wi-Fi service.

Former CEO David Thodey announced plans for the new service in May last year. The plan included turning more than 20,000 payphones around Australia – most now little used – into Wi-Fi network entry points.

Eventually the telco hopes to have half a million hotspots available, some outside Australia.

The free trial sites will be progressively switched off from Sunday in preparation for the network’s official launch in coming weeks.

While most users will have to pay a yet-to-be-disclosed fee to use the new hotspots, Telstra home broadband subscribers will be able to access the service free.

However they will also be asked to share their bandwidth with other Telstra customers, and will need to purchase a gateway and Wi-Fi range extender for about $210.
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