Telstra should repurpose public phones to be EV charging locations

    Telstra’s public phones are iconic, they’ve been around longer than I’ve been alive, but in 2023, there’s another opportunity I think they should explore.

    Each public phone is connected to power and in a modernisation effort, many have now been converted to also offer WiFi Hotspots.

    Back in 2021, Telstra said they had as many as 15,000 public phones and while some of these are indoors, many are outdoors, on the side of the road or near car parks and those have an opportunity to be repurposed.

    Telstra should convert public phones into EV charging locations.

    The data is likely to show the usage of these public phone locations is incredibly low, now that every man and his dog has a mobile phone. Thankfully there are offerings right across the price spectrum, which has seriously transformed how we communicate over the past couple of decades.

    Having left the cables behind, it’s now time to add one back.

    Electric Vehicle adoption is growing rapidly now in Australia and that trend is set to continue as states and the federal Government charge towards their sustainability and emissions reduction targets.

    Telstra has a unique opportunity here given they already have much of the infrastructure necessary to achieve this, but this transformation right around the country won’t come for free. If Telstra wanted to diversify and enter the EV charging game, they could become another charging provider, accessing Government grants from the likes of AEMO to build out this infrastructure and likely to it for cheaper than other parties, given they have access to the land and power.

    The charging capabilities of public phone locations won’t be sufficient to provide power to the fastest 350kW chargers, but potentially could power an AC charger and with some upgrades to the infrastructure, go beyond that. Ideally, each phone booth, depending on its orientation, would support at least 2 chargers and particularly focus on the CCS2 connector as they are the default standard and available in most EVs sold in Australia.

    The real opportunity here is for Telstra to help the public with a dramatic increase in charging locations, in the same way, they help the country communicate. If these charging locations also had WiFi hotspots for customers to connect to while charging, that’d be a win-win for the customer.

    Read more about what Telstra is doing on climate and sustainability here.

    What are your thoughts? Should Telstra add charging to their public phone locations or replace them completely with charging infrastructure?

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    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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