As the crisis in Ukraine worsens, telcos are working on ways to ensure those in Australia are able to reach loved ones in affected regions. Several telcos have offered free calls to Ukraine and neighbouring countries for customers, along with removing roaming charges for customers currently in Ukraine.
So far, Telstra, Optus, Belong, Woolworths Mobile and the TPG Telecom group have offered support to customers, although other telcos may follow suit. Keep in mind that these offers for free calls will be for customers from these telcos making calls from Australia to Ukraine (and neighbouring countries if offered).
Telstra offers free calls and waives roaming charges for customers
Telstra is currently offering customers free calls to Ukraine and an additional selection of neighbouring countries, in accordance with the UN’s assessment of refugee movements. Those countries include Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania.
What this means is that Telstra customers with a home phone and/or postpaid phone plan service, will be able to make calls from their Telstra number to these five countries without any charge, until March 31, 2022. Telstra is monitoring the situation, so it’s possible this service could be extended if required.
In addition Telstra is also waiving international roaming charges for calls, SMS and data for any existing Telstra customers currently in Ukraine. Telstra will be waiving these charges on your bill any time between February 1 and March 31, 2022.
Optus offering free calls to Ukraine and waiving roaming charges
Like Telstra, Optus is also offering free calls and SMS to Ukraine for customers on eligible plans (consumer and business postpaid mobile plans). These calls and SMS will be credited until at least March 13, 2022, with fair use policy applied.
Optus is also waiving international roaming charges until at least March 13, for customers currently in Ukraine. It’s possible this time frame could extend, so it’s best to keep an eye out on the Optus Facebook page for more information.
Belong offering free calls to Ukraine and nearby countries
Belong, a postpaid Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) and Telstra subsidiary, is also offering free calls to Ukraine and neighbouring countries until March 14, 2022. These countries include Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Like Telstra, these neighbouring countries were selected due to the UN’s assessment of refugee movements.
Woolworths Mobile offering free calls to all phone plan customers
Woolworths Mobile, another MVNO, which offers a range of postpaid, prepaid and phone-on-a-plan options, is offering free calls to Ukraine and nearby countries for its customers. Unlike Telstra and Optus, Woolies isn’t limiting this service to select phone plans, with customers on all plans — SIM-only prepaid, postpaid, long-expiry and phone on a plan — regardless of whether the service has international call inclusions.
You’ll be able to make calls and send SMS to Ukraine, Moldova, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania free of charge for the entire month of March, although Woolworths Mobile also states it is monitoring the situation, so this service could be extended if required. Customers who currently have a PAYG international add-on will also have calls to these countries included free of charge.
TPG Telecom brands to also offer free calls to Ukraine
The TPG Telecom group — which includes brands TPG, Vodafone, iiNet, Internode, Felix, Lebara, Westnet and Kogan — has also offered free calls to Ukraine. This service will be available to customers on prepaid and postpaid plans across the whole TPG Telecom group.
Access to the free calls will start from March 4, 2022 and run until a further announcement is made. Customers are advised that if they receive charges for calls to Ukraine during this time, to get in touch with their telco.
Boost Mobile offers free calls to Ukraine and neighbouring countries
Boost Mobile is offering customers access to free calls and texts to Ukraine and neighbouring countries — Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia — until the end of March, 2022. You’ll need to have an active recharge in order to access these services.