Anyone who has ever tried sending messages on New Year’s knows only too well that it just doesn’t work. Somewhere between everyone else having the same bright idea you had and the networks being overloaded, your messages aren’t going to arrive until a few minutes into the new year, but Telstra wants to help out.

For the fourth year in a row, Telstra’s plan to assist with the wireless woes of a packed texting system will be to preload its network with texts entered by anyone keen to use the service.

Well, anyone with an iPhone or an Android phone, that is, because that’s the catch. You could be a Telstra customer or an Optus customer or even a Vodafone customer, and we’ve tested the latter, it works there, too.

telstra-free-50-sms-2015-01

To get your free texts — with a maximum of 50 available per phone number — you simply grab the Telstra Sydney NYE 2015 app and verify a phone number via the “Midnight Messages” part of the app, which will then take you to the messages part of the app to craft a 137 character message to send to people.

Why 137?

Well, a traditional SMS offers 160 characters, but since Telstra is footing the bill, it will add “- Connected by Telstra” to the end of every message, so you only get 137 per message to work with.

That should be enough to say “Happy New Year you awesome sauce friend! Can’t wait to see you in 2016!” as well as some other nicety, and that’s what the app has been designed to let you do.

telstra-free-50-sms-2015-02

There is one more catch, however, and it’s one that has to do with time. Specifically, you have until 10pm on December 31 to get your messages into the system.

After 10pm, Telstra will take the messages and load them into a system so they can all be sent out at midnight, and making it easier for you to enjoy the night without fighting for bandwidth on the towers.