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Vodafone UK, BT, VMO2, 3 and Sipgate Give Free Calls to Ukraine UPDATE3

Friday, February 25th, 2022 (3:29 pm) - Score 6,408
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Mobile and broadband ISPs Vodafone UK, O2 and Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Three UK, BT (inc. Plusnet and EE), Ogi, Giffgaff and Sipgate have today responded, separately, to the absolutely horrific events being seen in Ukraine over the past few days by giving their customers free calls and roaming to the country.

In a statement posted earlier today by Vodafone’s CEO, Ahmed Essam, the operator pledged to offer “free roaming for any of our customers who remain in Ukraine” – this is effective immediately and will be rolled out via all of their operations across Europe over the next 5 days.

In addition, the operator is implementing free calls and text messages for Vodafone customers and Vodafone colleagues trying to get in contact with family and friends in Ukraine. We did ask the operator about this and they confirmed that the measures would be in place for “at least the next 30 days.”

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. This will also include a donation to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with whom Vodafone has a long standing partnership, to support their activities on the ground,” said Ahmed Essam.

Separately, popular internet VoIP phone provider Sipgate has issued a new notice to customers that states: “All calls to Ukrainian telephone networks will be free of charge until further notice.” Credits to both operators for being among the first to move on this, and we would encourage others to follow. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those suffering in Ukraine today.

UPDATE 26th Feb 2022 @ 6:32am:

BT, Plusnet and EE have also joined Vodafone and Sipgate in offering “calls, texts and data to and from the region free.”

On top of that, VMO2 (O2 and Virgin Media) “have removed charges for data use in Ukraine and will also credit charges for calls and texts to and from Ukraine and the UK” (covering the backdated period from 21st Feb until 6 March 2022).

In addition, Three UK have “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.

We should point out that, so far as we can tell, all of these operators are keeping the situation under review and those with an end-date may yet be extended.

UPDATE 26th Feb 2022 @ 7:35am

TalkTalk has just announced that they’re “making all landline and mobile calls to Ukraine free for customers as of 00.01 on Thursday 24th February. This is to ensure any customer who needs to contact friends and family can do so without worrying about these call charges.”

UPDATE 28th Feb 2022

Ogi in Wales has also done the same, since 26th Feb: “All Ogi Voice calls to the region will be free from midday today.” Meanwhile, Giffgaff has introduced a similar measure to O2.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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17 Responses
  1. Steve says:

    I’ve been with Sipgate since almost the beginning, their service has always done me well. I’m delighted they’re making a benevolent contribution to a nation in a time of great need and it’s really good company ethics at work. Here’s to Sipgate going from strength to strength, and of course here’s also to a nation hoping safety and normality will prevail.

  2. John Waller says:

    Well done to both networks! Sipgate is a very good VoIP provider and have always done good. I was amazed when I logged into my account and was greeted with that message.

  3. The Facts says:

    And BT.

  4. Mike80 says:

    O2 have announced the same, backdated to 21st Feb.

  5. Guy Cashmore says:

    Another vote for Sipgate, I’ve been on the ‘basic’ service for nearly 5 years, even ported my original BT landline number over to them, it has been 100% reliable, just perfect every step, I can’t recommend them enough. Well done to them with this gesture.

  6. Phl says:

    BT are also doing the same: So BT, EE and Plusnet.

    For anyone wanting to contact loved ones in Ukraine, we’ve made mobile and landline calls, texts and date to and from the region free from today, 25 February.

    Please be aware that signal in the area might be affected by damage to locate networks and equipment.

  7. Nev says:

    Giffgaff have now followed suit as well. I guess this is inline with the earlier update about 02, but thought I’d mention it.
    They made a post in their community site.

  8. Oggy says:

    Do they do the same when Israel bombs and attacks Palestine?

    1. Khanzio says:

      Fair point, however let’s appreciate the fact that they have at least done this for the crisis in Ukraine, otherwise we could easily point out many more countries (unfortunately) where they could do with an international response like this.

    2. Oggy says:

      I agree Khanzio but this is little more than virtue signalling.

    3. MrTruth says:

      @Oggy

      The difference is Palestine normally start bombing Israel first but in this case Ukraine are totally innocent of any wrong doing.

    4. Oggy says:

      As are the vast, vast majority of Palestinians.

      No free phone calls to them to check they are okay though.

    5. MrTruth says:

      @Oggy

      Thing the Israelis are more deserving of free calls

    6. Oggy says:

      They are certainly deserving of something.

      Worldwide condemnation for the easy they treat the Palestinian people while stealing their land.

    7. MrTruth says:

      [admin note: removed comment – please avoid making racist remarks, which are against the rules]

  9. John H says:

    Starlink being made available to replace failed internet in Ukraine.

  10. Ashley says:

    I just wanted to chime in with some real world experience, since my wife is Ukrainian and her family are all out there. I was with Voxi for mobile calls and in theory should have been able to call Ukraine for free, but in practice it proved impossible, so I ended up going round in circles for days with no luck.

    I eventually went to a Vodafone store where they assured me it would work if we transferred to Talkmobile, which also runs through Vodafone. This morning it switched over and I found this offer was no longer active. Special mention goes to the salesman at the Vodafone shop, who asked if my wife’s brother was sending us selfies from Kyiv. We had to point out he was too busy building barricades against the Russians.

    We also had some difficulty with our landline and just used 18185 to pay for calls normally, but at a slightly lower rate. Obviously we are willing to pay for calls in a situation like this, but this offer from the the various providers looks more like it was a bit of free virtue signalling PR, rather than genuine help. It really just wasted our time in a stressful situation.

    The one real help we had appears to have come through Elon Musk after a week with Starlink in Ukraine, since we had been unable to reach them before that. Once that was enabled we were able to contact my wife’s parents through Viber at their dacha in the countryside after they fled from Kyiv. My wife’s brother remains on Kyiv where he must fight.

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