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Telstra public Wi-Fi moves out of free trial

Australia's dominant telco will begin phasing out its existing free hotspot service from June 15, and plans to return with its full national Wi-Fi network.

For the past seven months, Australians have been able to access the free Telstra Wi-Fi network from pink Wi-Fi domes placed throughout the country. Once connected to the hotspot, users were given a cap of 30 minutes of free access with download speeds of up to 2Mbps.

The telco has activated more than 2,600 hotspots across the country; but, as of Monday, June 15, the telco has announced that the free hotspots will be progressively switched off.

"After seven months we're about to phase out the trial so we can upgrade our hotspots in preparation for the launch of our national Wi-Fi network," the company said in a blog post.

Telstra has announced that the hotspots will be back over the coming weeks, but not for free. Telstra home broadband customers will have usage at these hotspots count towards their monthly download quota.

Last year, Telstra CEO David Thodey said non-Telstra customers would be a charged a fee for use. The telco has not disclosed at this point how much and via what method this fee would be collected.

The company's public Wi-Fi network was first announced in May 2014, with a projected cost of AU$100 million. The trial kicked off in November last year, with 150 access points across the country.

In April this year, the telco doubled its hotspot footprint by switching on another 1,500 Wi-Fi locations around the country.