Deutsche Telekom and a group of other major European telecom companies have agreed to cut wholesale roaming charges for Ukrainian peers for three months to help millions of Ukrainian refugees stay in touch with their families back home.
The move by companies also including Orange, Vodafone and 20 others is the industry’s latest move, with more than a dozen already allowing free calls to Ukraine and the abolition of retail roaming charges in recent weeks. Wholesale roaming charges are paid by telecom operators to their peers in another EU country.
The association of virtual mobile network operators MVNO Europe and the three Ukrainian mobile operators have also joined the initiative. EU providers have agreed to reduce wholesale roaming charges and “termination” rates – charged by telecom operators to carry outgoing calls on their networks – to cost levels, as well as to cut termination rates for calls from Ukrainian numbers.
The extent of the reductions will depend on the companies and their bilateral agreements. European Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager called on other companies to do the same.
“We encourage more similar measures that can make a real difference in these extraordinary circumstances,” Vestager said in a statement. EU lawmaker Angelika Winzig, who led the issue in the European Parliament, hailed the commitment of telecom companies.
Other companies that have signed the pledge are Bouygues, Fastweb, Iliad, KPN, Liberty Global, MasMovil, Polkomtel, Proximus, Telefonica, Telenor, Telia Company, Three Group and TIM.
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