Measures include emergency connectivity solutions, zero rating educational resources and donations to support relief efforts at home and abroad
As one of the UK’s largest businesses we are committed to playing our part in helping those affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. That’s why we’ve taken a range of actions – from providing devices and data to those relying on vital connectivity at this time, to working with and donating to expert charity partners who are assisting with relief efforts and enabling our people to help where they can.
Removed mobile data charges for Ukrainian remote education resources
With ongoing disruption to schooling and access to education, we’ve provided free unlimited access to a Ukrainian education site created by the Ukrainian Education Ministry, the All Ukrainian Online School – Про проєкт | ВШО.
This is a digital learning platform for Ukrainian students grades 5-11, providing video lessons, tests and support materials across a variety of subjects. All content is linked to the state educational curriculum and is quality checked by the Ukrainian Institute for Educational Development.
Mobile customers on O2, Virgin Mobile and those on giffgaff, can visit these websites without using any of their allocated monthly data allowance.
Free data, calls and texts between Ukraine and the UK
To help our customers in Ukraine, and to ensure that customers in the UK can contact family or loved ones directly impacted, we removed all charges for data use in Ukraine and credited back all charges for calls and texts between Ukraine and the UK between the period 21st February 2022 to 9th December 2022. These measures applied to O2 Pay Monthly, O2 Pay As You Go, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Media O2 Business and Virgin Media home phone customers, as well as giffgaff customers.
Providing free mobile data to tackle data poverty
Virgin Media O2 and digital inclusion charity, Good Things Foundation, has launched the National Databank to tackle data poverty by providing free mobile data, texts and calls to people in need. The National Databank can be accessed via Good Things Foundation’s network of more than 650 participating community partners nationwide.
Making a difference with charity donations and providing connectivity to those in need
In light of the escalating conflict and growing humanitarian impacts in the region, we have increased our donation to the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) Appeal for Ukraine. This money will help support humanitarian relief efforts being run by 15 of the UK’s leading aid charities and NGOs working on the ground in affected areas, specialising in different areas of disaster response to provide targeted support.
We’ve also formed a new partnership with Jangala, a UK-based charity that enables internet access for people in need of urgent humanitarian aid, providing them with two years of funding. This will initially be used to establish an ‘Emergency Deployment’ connectivity programme for Ukrainians through the distribution of ‘Big Boxes’ – lightweight briefcase-sized devices that transform any form of internet connectivity into Wi-Fi that can be managed and scaled for thousands of users. The boxes will be deployed along the Polish border to support those fleeing the conflict and to help humanitarian efforts in the area.
As part of our ongoing work with the National Databank, powered by Good Things Foundation, we have committed to providing free mobile data to Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK, alongside those from other conflict zones, to enable them to easily get online and stay in contact with friends and family.
In addition, through our Community Calling programme with Hubbub, we’ve boosted our contribution to the charity Migrant Help, who are already in receipt of 1250 devices and free data for refugees and asylum seekers here in the UK. We intend to gift a further 5000 devices (on top of the 1,250 already rehomed) along with free data to help them respond to the needs of incoming asylum seekers and refugees, including those arriving from the Ukraine, as well as additional investment in the charity to support their broader digital inclusion activities.
As the impact of the humanitarian crisis continues to unfold, our employees have been telling us they’re keen to help. Our Take Five employee volunteering programme enables our people to take up to five days of paid leave to volunteer in communities across the UK.
In partnership with Neighbourly, we’re signposting our people to relevant charities and community organisations who are leading the humanitarian relief effort in the UK, including refugee-supporting organisations in the towns and cities where our offices are based.
Our thoughts remain with those impacted by this conflict. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep under review any additional measures of support that Virgin Media O2 can offer.