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Curtin University

Telephones, mobiles and internet

Everything you need to know about telecommunications and the Internet. Information on landlines, mobile phones, calling cards, finding phone numbers and connecting to the Internet is provided here.


In Australia, you can make a "local call" for usually 20-25 cents on a normal "landline" or "fixed" phone, or 40 cents from a public payphone. Calls are classified as "local" when they are within a certain area (for example, within the Perth metropolitan area). Local calls are un-timed, meaning you can talk for as long as you want.

STD calls (which are basically "long distance" calls - for example, from Perth to another city) and international calls are timed. Costs vary from one service provider to another. You may prefer investigating different providers, or buying a calling card (see "Calling Cards" below). 

Mobiles phones

Most mobile (cellular) phone calls are timed. The price of any given call will depend upon factors such as your service provider's plan, the number dialled and the time and duration of the call. Australian mobile phones use Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards that identify a given phone as having a unique phone number. Thus, you can purchase a new SIM card and use it in a second hand mobile phone if you wish, or transfer your old SIM card to a new mobile phone.

Service provider plans tend to come in two varieties: pre-paid or monthly payments. Pre-paid plans allow you to purchase credit for use on your phone, much like you would fill up a car with petrol and then use it later.

The use of Short Message Service ("SMS" or "text" messages) is quite popular and works on all mobile phones in Australia. SMS messages can be up to 160 characters in length and usually cost 20-25 cents each. Some service providers have special deals in regards to sending SMS messages during certain times, or between people who are with that same provider.

If you are considering purchasing a mobile phone, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) provides an online guide that will help you identify your mobile phone needs.

Calling cards

Normal international calls can be expensive, so you may like to purchase a calling card in order to keep in touch with friends and family back home. Some cards offer call rates of a few cents per minute or even less. However, you should read the terms and conditions carefully as, for example, you may be charged in blocks of minutes rather than by the minute. Check Cardcall and PhonecardSelector for places to start. 

Finding phone numbers

In the event that you are trying to find the phone number of a specific person, business or government department, you can use the White Pages.

On the other hand, if you want to find a business that you may not necessarily know the name of, you can use the Yellow Pages and search by categories, products or services (such as a "Dentist").


For students living on campus, most rooms have connections available to connect to the Internet via the Curtin network. Restrictions apply on what can and cannot be accessed.

For more information visit Curtin IT services.

If you are considering subscribing to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) plan, please visit the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) website for codes of practice and standards for the internet industry.