A frustratred local famer has been uble to find a Telstra phone in Mackay under $100.
A frustratred local famer has been uble to find a Telstra phone in Mackay under $100. Valerie Horton

Bring back the brick: Farmer uncovers cheap phone shortage

DROPPING his old phone in the drink on a crabbing trip a week ago, Nindaroo farmer Mat Harrington reckons Mackay is in short supply of cheapie mobile phones many living out in the bush rely on.

"When I'm at work in a sugar mill you don't want a $500 or $1200 iPhone because they get lost or get damaged, you just want a little phone with the buttons and if it goes in the molasses well... you just go and get another one," Mr Harrington said.

His search for a phone under $100 took him to Big W in Caneland Central, Woolworths in Walkerston, Officeworks in Mackay, Australia Post at Mackay and Sarina, as well as the Optus and Vodafone stores in Mackay.

The farmer and mechanical contractor also went to the Telstra store in Walkerston but says he was unable to get a phone because he did not have his birth certificate requested by staff.

"Seven days ago I started my search, I've been to (almost) every shop and I've run out of puff," Mr Harrington told the Daily Mercury.

"When you go out where I work Telstra have the monopoly of coverage, Optus is good in town but when you get out to the mines and canefields you quickly run out of reception.

Kellie Austin who works at home entertainment in Big W at Caneland Central said she was unsurprised by Mr Harrington's plight.

"We haven't had Telstra mobile phones under $100 for months, since the last Christmas period, people are always after them and we sent them to Coles and Woolworths and they say the same thing," she said.

"We can't order them, Telstra just send them to us (when we run out) and we haven't had them for several months despite having sent them several emails requesting more."

Meanwhile Officeworks in Mackay said they no longer stock Telstra phones under $100 and have no such phones on the way.

"A lot of people just want to have a phone to ring up and don't want to carry one of those big tablet things around," Mr Harrington said.

Despite the apparent lack of stocking for cheap Telstra phones in Mackay stores, Carl Millsteed who works in the sales department of Telstra Business Centre said customers do have the option to buy Telstra's Alcatel U3 model online for $69, and Telstra's Alcatel 1C model for $89 with no documentation required.

Are you a farmer who uses the old-style Nokia brick? Email letters to the editor to news@dailymercury.com.au

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