First you need to work out which relay call option is most appropriate for your circumstances.
If you cannot hear or cannot speak clearly over the phone, then you will need to have:
- internet access through the NRS website or the NRS app to make an internet relay call, a captioned relay call a video relay call or a Speak and Listen call or
- a TTY (also known as a teletypewriter or a textphone) to make a TTY call, or
- an ordinary mobile phone to make SMS relay calls or standard Speak and Listen calls, or
- an ordinary phone if you can speak but may be difficult to understand on the phone (standard Speak and Listen calls).
You can make these calls from a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. You will need is a working internet connection.
If you are using a tablet or smartphone you will need the following minimum operating requirements:
iOS 7 and above
iOS 7 and above
Android-based phones (eg Samsung, HTC, Sony) and Android tablets
Version 4.1 and above
- if you have an iPhone, iPad or Android-based phone with an older operating system than that listed above, you can usually update the operating system for free
- Blackberry phones are not compatible with internet relay.
Please remember that mobile phone technology is a rapidly moving field. There are new models appearing all the time, so it is always a good idea to check around and also look at user forums on the web. It is impossible to be certain that any particular new model of mobile device will work with internet relay, so NRS users should check out whether a particular model is compatible with internet relay before purchase.
The NRS app
If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can download this free app.
The app gives you access to internet relay, captioned relay, video relay and Speak and Listen. There are additional benefits for internet relay and Speak and Listen users that are only available through the app.
Find out more about the NRS app.
You will need a browser on your computer or mobile device, such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari to access the Web. Browsers usually come pre-loaded on your computer/device. They are free to upload and update. You won’t need a phone to make an internet relay call.
As well as your internet-connected device, you will need a phone. You can make a captioned relay call using:
- a desktop computer or laptop with an ordinary phone or mobile, or
- an internet-connected mobile phone (a smartphone). You will need to have the phone on speaker or use a headset so you can speak and read the conversation at the same time, or
- a special handset - contact the Helpdesk for more information.
See more on the particular equipment specifications for captioned relay.
You will need:
- a computer, tablet or smartphone
- an HD web camera (webcam)
- an account and user name with Skype – a free video communication application
- a good-quality broadband connection.
See more on the particular equipment specifications for video relay.
A TTY is a type of phone with a keyboard where you can type your side of the message, and a small display screen where you can read what the other person has said to you.
There are two main models of TTYs:
- Superprint (above) which provides a printout of the conversation and which is usually the preferred TTY for Type and Read users, or
- Uniphone (right) a combined TTY and phone which is usually better for Type and Listen and Speak and Read users since it includes a handpiece or receiver to either talk into or listen to..
In most cases NRS users can rent a TTY for about the same cost as an ordinary phone through the disability equipment programs offered by phone companies.
You can make SMS relay calls with any sort of mobile phone.
You don’t need to have internet access or a data plan. But you will need to have an active phone account. See more about SMS relay.
You can also make standard Speak and Listen calls using a mobile phone.
If your speech is difficult to understand on the phone but your hearing is fine, you can make a standard Speak and Listen relay call using an ordinary phone.
Calling an NRS user
If you want to make a call to an NRS user through the NRS, you do not need any special equipment. You just need an ordinary phone or mobile. See more on calling an NRS user.
If you have difficulty dialling or using a standard phone or TTY you might consider:
- a big button phone (see right) - for easy dialling
- a speaker phone - so you don't have to hold the receiver while you talk and listen
- visual alert that flashes when the phone rings
- a phone with a single large button (switch) attached. Press the button to dial the NRS number using Telstra's Delayed Hotline service
- memory buttons - if your phone has a memory button you can store the NRS number for easy dialling
- a phone which can be controlled by an infrared remote control
- a keyguard which can assist by helping you hit only one key at a time – if you have difficulty typing.
Please talk to your specialised technology expert for more information. Alternatively, check the details of specialised technology people or organisations in your area. You can also talk to these services to find out if there is funding assistance available for this equipment.
Please note that some but not all of this additional equipment is available through the subsidised disability equipment programs run by phone companies.