Some of Europe’s largest operators have signed an agreement to reduce wholesale roaming charges to Ukrainian operators Kyivstar, Vodafone Ukraine and lifecell, to help those fleeing the war stay connected to friends and families.
Operators to have penned the agreement included Orange, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Group, among a total of 27 companies, who will reduce charges and termination rates for the next three months.
The European Commission (EC) said the move provides a stable framework that fortifies efforts in providing affordable or free-roaming and international calls between EU states and Ukraine. The measure will be facilitated by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the Ukrainian National Regulatory Authority NCEC.
The EU estimates around 4.2 million refugees have left Ukraine for neighbouring countries. The move was also supported by the European Parliament, the EU, as well as the EC. Other operators can still join the agreement.
EC executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager said: “The possibility to have contact to those who are dear to us and access to information is a lifeline in times of crisis. This is why, together with the European Parliament, we are supporting the initiatives of telecom operators to facilitate affordable mobile connectivity for people who have fled the war.
“Also we encourage for more similar measures that can make a real difference in these extraordinary circumstances.”