Recently I wrote about the role Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are playing globally to connect people in critical ways through wide-ranging communications and digital services. There are many more examples of how industry leaders continue opening new channels—and pushing the boundaries of existing networks—for extraordinary levels of human connection when they are needed most.
I am inspired to see so many examples of expanded data and premium service access being offered, at no charge, to help billions of people connect to each other and to critical information. The industry is helping us all be more productive, whether for business or educational purposes. And global, regional and smaller telcos have worked relentlessly to find solutions around challenging infrastructure limitations. While by no means an exhaustive list, here are a few examples of operators who have risen to the current challenge:
United States: As outlined in the ‘Keep Americans Connected’ pledge, most operators will not terminate service to any residential or small business customers. They’ll waive late fees incurred by residential or small business customers, and open up Wi-Fi hotspots free of charge. Additionally:
- Verizon: With a commitment of $45 million in contributions and donations to nonprofits, Verizon is helping them remain active during the crisis. Nurses on the front lines and teachers who are keeping students engaged will join military and first responders in benefiting from up to $40 off when combining Verizon unlimited wireless and FiOS internet plans.
- T-Mobile: To ensure its network continues to perform for all customers, the company announced agreements with multiple spectrum holders to light up an additional 600 MHz spectrum for 60 days. This expands network capacity for customers across the country. Additionally, it will expand roaming access for Sprint customers to use the T-Mobile network and it will offer more flexible payment arrangements for customers who need more time to pay their bills.
- AT&T: In addition to offering bonuses to frontline employees, the operator is offering a $15 plan with 2 GB of data and unlimited talk and text, as well as an automatic 10GB per month of additional data for all phone plans.
European Operators: As reported, operators are providing increased voice and data usage increases at no cost and pushing out COVID-19 information, among other meaningful measures, such as:
- Telecom Italia (TIM): By teaming up with Google G-Suite and collaboration platform WeSchool, TIM is responding to a call from the Ministry of Education to boost access to e-learning tools.
- Telefonica: At no charge, Telefonica will increase all quadplay Fusion and Movistar mobile plans by an additional 30GB per month until end of May. It will also offer more children’s programming and sporting events to TV customers’ entertainment packages, at no cost.
- Telefonica Group: Its Spanish business unit announced it will add 30 GB of mobile data to all Fusion and Movistar convergence customers for the next two months.
- Vodafone UK: NHS workers who are existing customers will be given 30 days free unlimited mobile data, affecting approximately 125,000 NHS staff. That’s in addition to a 30-day unlimited data offer to 500,000 vulnerable customers, and additional capacity that will support the growing voice and data usage in European markets. The company also is working with government agencies to help them deliver targeted text messaging.
- Virgin Media: Postpaid customers are being offered unlimited minutes to landlines and other mobile numbers. Additionally, Virgin Media is offering a free 10 GB data boost for the month, while removing data caps on legacy broadband products.
LATAM operators: Many operators, like Claro, Oi, Tim e Vivo, opened TV channels for all customers, along with free access to news channels with information on COVID-19. Others like Seaborn and Edge Uno are offering free Internet connectivity across their respective Americas networks to non-profit/not-for-profit organizations, educational programs, state and municipal governments, and public health.
- TIM Brasil: In partnering with Rio de Janeiro’s city hall for data analysis, the company will enable authorities to track displacement and concentration of people in areas affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
- Telefonica Brasil: Leveraging Big Data and AI, the operator is helping authorities slow the spread of the virus in Sao Paulo state by detecting trends in aggregated cellphone data;
- Oi: Exemptions are being given to all corporate customers for Oi Smart Office 4.0 to offer relief during the crisis.
MEA Operators: Telecom operators in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) are responding to the pandemic crisis by supporting governments, businesses, individuals and households. For example:
- Etisalat: Granted businesses three months of free access to its online collaboration platform, Etisalat CloudTalk Meeting, in addition to providing free mobile data allowances to households without fixed Internet connectivity. It has also launched its ‘Business Edge’ platform for small and medium-sized enterprises.
- STC: Announced zero-rated browsing for selected educational platforms and the temporary suspension of fees for small and mid-sized enterprises that wish to suspend their services by April 30.
- Ooredoo: Offered data allowances for 5G customers and data top-ups for prepaid customers, doubling internet speeds for multi-play fiber customers, free access to premium content on its IPTV service, and boosting internet access speeds for all academic and educational entities for free.
APAC Operators: Major Chinese carriers—China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom—worked to provide equipment and 5G services to hospitals in Wuhan, and 5G-enabled remote video diagnostic centers to help medical staff with remote, online consultations.
- Telstra: Business customers are getting additional data for free, and pensioners are getting unlimited standard home phone calls for free. The data will expire after 30 days but customers can apply for another 25GB of data up until end of June.
- SK Telecom: Free of charge, the company is providing Geovision big data-based real-time floating population analysis service to help police stop the spread of the virus.
- NTT Docomo Japan: With drive-through testing sites at its headquarters, removal of data caps, unlimited data, and bill payment relief, NTT is helping mitigate the effects of the epidemic.
We are proud of operators’ efforts worldwide to keep people connected during these trying times.
To learn about our Oracle’s commitment to customers and partners during the COVID-19 crisis, go here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have.