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O2 UK to Donate 10,000 Mobiles and Free Service to Digitally Excluded

Thursday, October 29th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 3,288
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Mobile operator O2 (Telefonica) will today extend their existing partnership with Hubbub (here), with the aim being to donate 10,000 devices and 12 months of free calling and internet connectivity to “digitally excluded people” in UK cities that are either facing, or at risk of, new Tier 3 lockdown restrictions (COVID-19).

The related Community Calling project works by inviting people to donate their old phones so that they can then be refurbished and redistributed to people who might otherwise go without. As part of this O2 has agreed to supply 12 months of free connectivity to the beneficiaries, which will include unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data (mobile broadband) per month.

The scheme is now being extended nationwide, with Smartphones first donated in the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark – locations with high levels of inequality, poverty, exclusion and employment challenges. After that it will reach Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Swansea and Glasgow. The full rollout is then expected to be completed by Spring 2021.

Mark Evans, CEO of O2, said:

“Connectivity has been vital to keeping the country running during the pandemic, but if you’re unable to get online you’re likely to miss out on a lot of support. We’ve already seen the positive impact Community Calling has had on vulnerable people in Southwark, so we’re pleased to announce this expansion and tackle digital exclusion elsewhere across the country. We’re determined to support the people who need it most.”

O2 and Hubbub said they’re working closely with local community groups in each city to identify those “most in need of a smartphone“, such as people who desperately need access to essential services, support with education and employment, or to keep connected with loved ones. The most vulnerable individuals have been identified as “those who are shielding, the elderly, refugees, domestic abuse survivors and those in low income households.”

All beneficiaries will also be able to access digital skills training at local support centres.

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar Name says:

    Considering how unreliable O2 is, it is more like a punishment for those who are digitally excluded 😉

  2. Avatar Clive says:

    Oh so they provide free services to people in well connected cities, meanwhile rural areas can’t get any service at all and penalised at every step for not having an internet connection/mobile phone signal (banking, HMRC, universal credit, home delivery of essential foods and medicine etc etc) Absolute disgrace!

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I believe the goal is for a nationwide deployment.

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