Discover voice options
This page provides an overview of the different ways voice services are provided across Australia, and how you can find which ones are available to you.
In particular, it covers the Universal Service Guarantee (USG) and Universal Service Obligation (USO), ensuring that you have some kind of voice service regardless of where you are in Australia.
Voice Services in Australia
Landline phone services in Australia are supplied through a range of networks.
Voice calls can also be made through any internet connection, with the right equipment.
The Universal Service Guarantee (USG) and Universal Service Obligation (USO)
The Universal Service Guarantee (USG) is a consumer protection that ensures all Australian homes and businesses have access to both broadband and voice services, regardless of their location.
The USG uses the National Broadband Network (nbn™) to deliver broadband services. It also uses the National Broadband Network (nbn™) fibre-optic network to deliver voice services, where it is supplied.
Additionally, Telstra delivers the USO Standard Telephone Service (STS) using a mix of technologies, including copper, fibre, point-to-point radio (e.g. high capacity radio concentrator system or HCRC), NGWL and satellite infrastructure (i.e. Telstra’s USO Sat service).
Premises connected to the nbn™ network via Fixed Wireless or SkyMuster™ satellite technologies won’t be disconnected from their existing landline services by nbn. If you sign up to nbn™ Fixed Wireless or SkyMuster™, it is recommended that you maintain your standard landline service in addition to your internet service.
The main reason for having a phone connection of some kind is so you can make emergency calls.
Voice Service technologies
Select the page for each voice technology to get more information about how it’s set up, what type of plans you can access and with which providers.
1. Landline Phone
This page covers Plain Old Telephone Services (POTS – also called PSTN), NextG Wireless Link (NGWL), High Capacity Radio Concentrator (HCRC) & USO SAT landlines. These are often referred to as traditional landline phones, even though some may actually be delivered by wireless systems.
Some of these services allow you to choose a provider, however, as the USO provider, Telstra is responsible for repair and maintenance to all of the technologies covered on this page. Only Telstra can offer Priority Assist and dedicated repair times for landline phones.
2. nbn™ Fixed-Line network
The fibre that delivers nbn™ services to your premises also delivers landline phone services. You can have a combined internet and phone service delivered to your house, or you can choose just to have the phone services supplied – you may need to talk to your provider for these plans.
3. Mobile network
This is provided by Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, or by any resellers of those mobile networks.
4. Satellite mobile phone
Satellite phones make use of a satellite to send and receive calls and messages. This means they can be used virtually anywhere on the planet, so are ideal in Australia’s regional, rural and remote areas and for people travelling or visiting these areas.
The nbn™ SkyMuster satellites aren’t used for satellite phone calls.
5. Internet phone
This isn’t strictly speaking a separate network type, and there are a range of different ways to deliver these services. All them require an existing Internet connection, and the quality of the phone call is entirely dependent on the quality of the Internet connection. Voice over IP (VOiP) and Wi-Fi Calling are two types of internet phone technologies.
Can I have multiple phone connections?
Yes. However, in nbn™ Satellite and Fixed Wireless mapped areas Telstra’s USO obligation is technology-neutral, meaning Telstra can choose the technology over which they supply you a landline service.