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UK Telecoms Firms Offer Free Calls and Texts to Ukraine

UK Mobile operators and broadband providers are offering their customers free calls to and data roaming in Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion of the country.

Providers which will waive charges include BT, EE, Virgin Media O2 (VMO2), giffgaff, TalkTalk, Three, and Vodafone.

VMO2 has announced that O2 pay monthly and PAYG mobile subscribers, Virgin Media home phone customers, and giffgaff customers will automatically have free texts, calls, and data use to and from Ukraine from 21 February to 6 March. VMO2 said it will keep those dates under review. 

O2 said: "We are deeply troubled by the events taking place in Ukraine and know that some of our customers or their loved ones and friends may be directly affected. As the situation continues to unfold, we recognise that connectivity will play a crucial role and we want to provide support to those who need it.

"To help any of our customers in Ukraine and ensure customers in the UK that need to contact someone in the country can do so, we have removed charges for data use in Ukraine and will also credit charges for calls and texts to and from Ukraine and the UK.”

EE implemented free calls, text and data to and from Ukraine on 25 February. However, it cautioned that mobile signal in the area might be impacted by damage to local networks and equipment.

EE parent BT made a similar announcement, confirming that mobile and landline calls, text, and data to and from the region are free. That includes landline calls for BT and Plusnet customers and mobile calls for BT Mobile subscribers.

Mobile operator Three has also “removed roaming charges anywhere in Ukraine, and charges associated with calls and texts from the UK to Ukraine will be credited back to your account.”

TalkTalk has made “all landline and mobile calls to Ukraine” free, with effect on 24 February, the date of the invasion. “This is to ensure any customer who needs to contact friends and family can do so without worrying about these call charges."

Vodafone chief executive Ahmed Essam pledged that the operator will offer “free roaming for any of our customers who remain in Ukraine”—effective from Friday and rolled out across all Vodafone’s operators in Europe.

Vodafone is also implementing free calls and text messages to Ukraine for “at least the next 30 days” to allow customers to get in contact with family and friends in the country.

"We will also donate, through the Vodafone Foundation, up to €500k from its Humanitarian Fund for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Czech, Romania and Hungary in support of refugees coming from Ukraine,” Essam said.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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