Internet and mobile phones have made people’s lives easier during the Covid-19 pandemic. The telecom industry has played a major role in limiting the spread of the virus. In fact, telecom and mobile operators worldwide have implemented measures aiming to provide free services for their customers. However, despite the end of the lockdown, people are still facing financial struggles. Early July, UK communications and Media Regulator, Ofcom has called on mobile operators to continue supporting costumers who may be facing financial challenges. On the other hand, the regulator has asked the users to contact their provider as soon as possible if they are unable to pay their bills. Ofcom plans include three strategies to help customers – payment plan, a cheaper tariff, or a delay in their payment.
UK major telecom providers have agreed on March 29, 2020, to support vulnerable customers Telecom operators have taken significant steps to help UK citizens amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
On March 30, BT (including Openreach and EE), Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and KCOM have agreed to remove caps on fixed-line broadband. Between March 27 and April 27, 2020, Vodafone customers enjoyed free access to unlimited data.
On April 3, 2020, Tesco mobile announced that it would provide customers with free pay-as-you-go, pay-monthly, and weekend calls in the evening. On March 24, KCOM announced that it would not disconnect customers if they could not pay the tariff.
On May 18, the UK government avowed that it was working with network operators to provide deals for National Health Service providers. Vodafone has also extended unlimited data for NHS, UK care, workers and vulnerable communities until November. EE announced unlimited mobile data for all NHS staff until October.
On June 18, 2020, the City of London Corporation announced that it would give out 4G mobile data and dongles for those unable to leave their homes or who could not afford to pay for mobile broadband access.