BEREC supports European telecom sector’s communications aid to Ukrainian citizens

28 February 2022

BEREC supports and applauds the current range of initiatives by the European telecommunications sector to accommodate access to communication channels for Ukrainian citizens after the invasion of Ukraine by troops of the Russian Federation. BEREC stresses the importance of keeping communication channels open to facilitate conversation in times of conflict.

The initiatives from European telecom operators have voluntarily launched, include:

  • Provide SIM cards to refugees from Ukraine on arrival;
  • Free WiFi in camps for refugees from Ukraine;
  • Free international calls to Ukraine;
  • ‘Roam like at home’ roaming in Ukraine is included in the EU;
  • Activation of the ‘SMS donation’ function to the benefit of organizations supporting refugees;
  • Including Ukrainian channels in IPTV packages for no added fee.

The initiatives vary from country to country and from company to company.

“Communication is a prime necessity in any context and even more so in the disruptive and unsettling environment of a conflict,” says BEREC Chair Annemarie Sipkes. “Therefore we express our appreciation and support for the warm-hearted initiatives by the European telecommunications sector to make it possible for the Ukrainian people to connect with their loved ones and stay informed about their situation. BEREC is committed to assisting the sector in realising this in any way necessary.”

In a response to a request from the Ukrainian National Regulatory Authority  NCEC to take actions aimed at blocking Russian roamers and roaming services for Russian telecom providers in the EU, Ms Sipkes informed NCEC Chairman Oleksandr Zhyvotovsky that this request was forwarded to the EC to be discussed at a political level. BEREC is committed to support the Commission’s response to the request.