BEREC reports on support measures for Ukrainian refugees by European telecom operators
04 July 2022
BEREC has published information from almost 200 European telecom operators about their measures to support Ukrainian refugees following the Russian invasion, in BEREC’s first analysis of the response to the crisis by the European telecommunications sector between March and 15 May.
The report includes information from Ukrainian and EU telecom operators who have signed a joint statement in April to establish a stable framework to help refugees from Ukraine stay connected. The 71 EU signatories pledged to reduce wholesale roaming charges and termination rates as well as to pass on the full benefits of the reduction of termination rates by Ukrainian operators to customers calling from the EU to Ukraine. The three Ukrainian signatories intend to gradually reduce international termination rates for calls to Ukraine originated by EU numbers and calls to Ukraine originated by Ukrainian numbers roaming in the EU as well as to pass on the full benefits of the reduction of wholesale roaming charges by EU operators to their customers roaming in the EU.
BEREC Chair Annemarie Sipkes said: “It’s encouraging to see how telecom operators rise to the occasion and provide support that is of genuine value to refugees from Ukraine to stay in touch with their loved ones and maintain access to information.”
The report mentions that 80 EU mobile operators offer free international calls to Ukraine, while 44 offer calls at a lower price and some offer both. Of the fixed operators, 37 offer free calls to Ukraine, while 27 offer calls at a lower price and also here some offer both. Of the European respondents, 55 provide free roaming (or RLAH) to subscribers travelling in Ukraine. This supports end-users engaged in different kinds of aid projects.
In addition to the above retail measures, EU operators have also established Wi-Fi hotspots where refugee camps were constituted or near public transport locations where many refugees arrive. Between March and 15 May, they have distributed over 2.5 million SIM cards to Ukrainian refugees. The three Ukrainian operators stated that they offer free and reduced-charge international calls to EU as well as free roaming for their subscribers in the EU.