Vodafone has announced plans to extend its generous unlimited mobile data offer for more customers across the UK to help during the unprecedented public health crisis. While the company revealed it was to bring unlimited 4G data to Pay Monthly customers flagged as “vulnerable” back in March, the carrier is now pushing out the six-month promotion to all NHS workers and a large portion of carers.
Those who are not automatically upgraded should register through the VeryMe menu in the My Vodafone smartphone app to flag their status as a healthcare worker, carer or some who is particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. As well as people included in these categories, an additional 500,000 Pay Monthly customers saw their data limits lifted.
After the initial rollout in early April, Vodafone maintained that, should its cellular network allow for it, it plans to increase the offer to even more customers. And with its latest update, that is exactly what it has done.
In a press release confirming the changes for customers, Vodafone stated: “NHS workers and vulnerable customers can now enjoy unlimited mobile data on Vodafone free for six months. The UK’s care workers are also now eligible to claim the offer. This extension follows Vodafone’s original offer, announced on April 6, of 30 days’ unlimited free data for NHS staff, vulnerable customers and half a million Pay Monthly customers.”
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Unfortunately, while the offer of six months free 4G data applies to all NHS workers, it is only valid for the first 250,000 care workers who apply for the scheme using the My Vodafone app on iOS or Android. The offer is open to claim until June 6. Those who register close to that deadline will be able to enjoy free 4G mobile data without increasing their monthly phone bill until December 5, 2020.
Speaking about the extension to the scheme, Vodafone UK Chief Executive Officer Nick Jeffery said: “We are so pleased to be able to extend our original offer for NHS workers and our vulnerable customers and to be able to now add care workers in recognition of the amazing contribution they’re making at this time. We will continue to do what we can to say thank you to those on the front lines doing such valuable work in this crisis.”
The latest move follows a number of other measures introduced by Vodafone to help its customers through the COVID-19 crisis.
The company has added extra capacity to its broadband and mobile networks to ensure both are “in the best possible position to cope with any extra demand as more people work from home. That, along with the billions we’ve invested in the last five years, means that they’re strong and robust. We’ve made them the best they can be and as reliable as possible for you,” the company claims.
Just like Three and EE, Vodafone is also allowing all of its mobile customers to access health information free of charge.
All Vodafone mobile customers can now access certain NHS websites, including nhs.uk and 111.nhs.uk for the latest information on the novel coronavirus outbreak. So, no matter how much time customers spend on these NHS webpages – Vodafone won’t count any of this time towards customers’ data allowance. So those who have a few MBs each month shouldn’t worry about racing through any allowance and being unable to send or receive WhatsApp texts.
The company acknowledged that while many customers prefer to talk about their concerns with someone face-to-face, “these are extraordinary times that require extraordinary measures.” For those who have an issue they’d like to raise with the company, Vodafone is advising customers to use the Vodafone app or check online where it offers a number of self-help guides at vodafone.uk/HowTo.
Alternatively, customers can talk to chatbot Tobi or ring 191 from a Vodafone phone as usual. However, the company warns that waiting times on the phone could be much longer than normal during this time.