Standard Rental Phones

This group covers the basic phones that were available to rental to customers as part of their annual rental. When Telecom started up, the standard phone for new services was the Colorfone 800 series in its many variations. This was a desk phone only; the wall phone role was still being filled with the old 400 series bakelite AWH.

The transistor and memory chips were being introduced into telephone electronics, and in the United States this allowed some new features to be introduced such as pushbutton dialling and memory for saving numbers. These facilities were a little slow coming to Australia, partly because the electronics were still being sorted out and partly because the engineering and technical staff were desperately working on more important projects. The features did eventually become part of the telephone range - customer demand saw to that, and Telecom was becoming very responsive to customer demand. In the meantime, these facilities were catered for in the Permitted Attachments range or in the Feature Phones range. At a price.

Some changes to the phone design were being driven by the technical improvements as well. Dials were increasingly expensive to make and service, and as the cost of push button circuit boards came down there was an incentive to introduce a standard touchphone. With the increasing use of Subscriber Trunk Dialling heavy users were finding dial phones a little cumbersome. Unfortunately, there was still little expertise in Australia in the new transistorised telephone electronics. Mistakes were made, and updated versions of some products had to be issued. Telecom was lucky here in that it had a close working relationship with AWA and STC, the two major telephone manufacturers in Australia. These companies could draw on the expertise of their related overseas companies.

In the space of a couple of decades, Telecom was able to clean up the range of obsolete phones and provide Australia with a completely modern, Australia-wide automatic service.

LEFT: A Telecom Shop from the 1980s. Some effort and expense went into modernising the appearance of the company to get it away from the Public Service office image it had been stuck with. This brochure photo shows the full range of new phones available - quite a contrast from black-bakelite-on-the-wall or black-bakelite-on-the-desk.

The image change worked. The public spent more time in the shops, buying your own phone became acceptable, and the morale boost to Telecom staff was noticeable. The fittings were changed every few years, and the ever-changing range of phones was successfully shown and sold.

Unfortunately not all the customers were as young and attractive as these.


To Telecom History

To Obsolete Phones

To 800 Series

To Other 800s

To Ericofon

To WallFone

To TouchFone

To Multicom

To Decorator Phones

To Feature Phones

To ComputerPhone

To T200

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