Telecom firms in Europe are coming together to assist Ukrainians in staying connected, and they are using a variety of steps that differ from company to company and from country to country, depending on the markets in which they operate. Here are some of the steps that telecommunications firms are taking.
Deutsche Telekom has started providing free calls and text messages to Ukraine. This initiative affects both individual and commercial clients making calls from landlines and mobile phones, as well as roaming in Ukraine. T-Mobile Polska and T-Mobile US, the operator’s Polish and US subsidiaries, both launched comparable deals.
Verizon has waived costs for consumer and corporate users traveling to and from Ukraine. Customers with foreign coverage bolt-ons will not lose any minutes from their subscription, and voice and text roaming costs have been waived.
Virgin Media O2 has lifted costs for calls to and from Ukraine, as well as text and data, applicable until March 6. However this date will be reviewed if the violence continues. Any charges will be instantly refunded to clients.
Vodafone customers in Ukraine may receive free roaming as well as free calls and messages to and from the country. The carrier’s European operations have also taken action, notably in Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Vodafone is providing €500,000 to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across Europe to help with the refugee situation.
T-Mobile is removing international long-distance and international roaming rates for T-Mobile and Sprint postpaid and prepaid users making calls and messages to and from the United States and Ukraine (consumer and business). The same exemptions are now in effect for calls to and from the US to Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
In addition, Orange has undertaken a number of initiatives around Europe. Calls, texts and MMS messages to Ukraine mobiles and landlines from Orange and Sosh phones are free in France. Calls to and from Ukraine, as well as text and MMS messages, are free in Slovakia until March 11. Orange postpaid customers in Belgium may make free calls to Ukrainian landlines and mobile phones. Customers of Orange and Jazztel in Spain may make international calls and texts to Ukraine for free. Calls from Poland to Ukraine are currently being drastically discounted in Poland, costing only 0.29 Polish Zloty (PLN) per minute. Subscribers in Moldova receive 30 minutes of free calls to Ukraine each day. Tariffs have been cut by 85%, and minutes are now charged at 1 lei per minute. In addition, fFree calls and messages to Ukraine from Romania are offered, and customers in Ukraine now have access to unlimited free voice, text and data.