How to Turn off Telstra Air

how to turn off telstra air

What is Telstra Air ?

Telstra Air is public WiFi provided by Telstra to eligible customers free of charge. That’s right – if you’re an eligible Telstra customer who’s in need of Internet access while you’re out and about, then you can access WiFi for free by connecting to Telstra Air wherever it’s available.

With 19 million Telstra Air hot spots around the globe, and 1 million here in Australia, finding a Telstra Air hot spot is quite easy. The telco uses public phone booths throughout Australia as hot spots to make access widespread.

And what’s even more interesting is that some Telstra subscribers themselves are also hot spots. If you’re a Telstra home Internet customer, your home router is probably a Telstra Air hot spot for any Telstra subscriber who’s around your location and in need of free WiFi.

In this post, we’ll tell you all about the good and bad of using Telstra air, and walk you through how to use it. Read on to find out. 

Concerns about using Telstra Air

Using Telstra Air can really come in handy. Imagine running out of data and being subjected to throttled 1.5Mbps speeds on your Telstra plan. While that’s enough speed for checking emails, streaming music  and some other basic online activities, it certainly isn’t fast enough to perform more data-intensive tasks like streaming high definition videos smoothly. In such cases, Telstra Air is a great, free alternative to throttled data or no data at all.

But we mentioned that Telstra Air is a public WiFi feature. As a result, there might be some privacy risks involved, as with all public WiFi hot spots. If you use Telstra Air, try to avoid accessing sensitive information to avoid hacks and data loss.

Recall we mentioned that Telstra home Internet users actually broadcast Telstra Air signals. Their routers have two WiFi hot spots – one that’s private and password protected for the home, and another that is public for random Telstra customers to access free of charge if they are within range.

If broadcasting public WiFi signals from your home network seems invasive to you, then you can opt out of the practice. The telco allows customers to log into their Telstra account and turn off Telstra Air. While you can choose to opt back in or out, you can only do so once per calendar month.

Also keep in mind that using Telstra Air authorizes Telstra to collect “aggregate data”, such as:

  • Device names;
  • Timestamps;
  • Data usage in megabytes;
  • Operating systems;
  • IP addresses and MAC addresses, and;
  • The location of hotspots that devices are connected to.

Telstra claims they only use this information to improve services. Regardless of whether that’s the case or not, it’s always important to know when your data is being collected, and by whom. Telstra has been transparent in that regard.

How to use Telstra Air

Telstra Air is available free of charge to eligible customers. These include customers on a mobile SIM plan, home broadband plan, and/or mobile broadband plan. Australians who aren’t on any of these plans can access Telstra Air by purchasing a Telstra AIr Guest Pass – even those who are not Telstra customers at all.

Here’s how to use Telstra Air

  • Activate your eligible Telstra service plan or purchase a Telstra Air guest pass
  • Download the Telstra Air app
  • Turn on WiFi on your device – if you’re in range of a Telstra Air hot spot, you’ll see “Telstra Air”. 
  • Tap “Telstra Air” to connect and enjoy free WiFi access.

How to turn off Telstra Air

As we’ve stated, if you’re not comfortable with your home Internet network being used as a Telstra Air hot spot, you can log into your Telstra account and opt out once per calendar month. Doing this doesn’t affect your access to Telstra Air – you will still be able to access free WiFi.

To turn off Telstra Air as a user, all you have to do is disconnect from any Telstra Air hotspot you’ve connected to. If you are not connected, simply avoid connecting. You can also turn off your WiFi to avoid connecting to Telstra Air automatically, or set your device to forget the Telstra Air network.

Summing up

On the face of it, Telstra Air is a great service. Just leave your Wifi on while you’re out in town and connect to a WiFi hotspot when you are within range, to avoid incurring mobile data usage fees. That’s the typical level of understanding from a typical user of the service. 

Unfortunately, there are dangers to availing yourself of what appears to be an easy to understand product. For security purposes, you probably want to install a VPN on your mobile. And, to avoid your packets being ‘sniffed’ and the meta data associated with them sold, you might just want to stick to using your own mobile data – especially if you are not a Telstra customer.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.