VODAFONE is giving 500,000 pay-monthly customers free unlimited internet data for 30 days during the coronavirus crisis.
In addition, it will also upgrade vulnerable customers to an unlimited data plan for free, also for 30 days.
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The offer will help Vodafone users stay connected if they don’t already have an unlimited data plan.
Vodafone says customers can access the deal through the mobile network provider’s VeryMe rewards scheme available on the My Vodafone app.
Any pay-monthly customer, whether on a consumer or business contract, can apply if they're registered with VeryMe and don't already have unlimited data as part of their package.
Vodafone says it will make the offer available to 500,000 customers to begin with.
How do companies decide who is a vulnerable customer?
OFCOM defines vulnerable customers as those who might not be able to get in contact with a communications company due to their age, disability, income or geographical location.
Life events such as the death of a loved one or illness can also temporarily mean someone is deemed a vulnerable customer.
Ofcom continues: "Vulnerability is about people’s circumstances, which can change over time.
"In relation to communications, it can have a range of negative consequences."
These negative consequences could include:
- Someone falling victim to mis-selling or being unable to access the best deals
- Someone becoming isolated if they are unable to keep in touch with family and friends
Ofcom is the regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.
It will then look at the possibility of extending the deal or offering other help to customers.
If you're a customer who is classed as vulnerable, you won't be included in this pool of 500,000 customers and will be guaranteed the upgrade.
The offer will expire after the first 500,000 people redeem it, on a first-come, first-served basis.
We've asked Vodafone how it will determine who is a vulnerable customer and we'll update this article when we find out more.
However, it has said all vulnerable customers will be contacted automatically.
The Sun is also checking if the mobile provider is planning on offering money off for pay-monthly customers who are already signed up to unlimited data, and if it plans on offering any perks to pay-as-you-go users.
Vodafone has around 19.5million UK customers.
How to avoid a mobile price hike
HERE'S what action you can take to try to avoid mobile price hikes if your provider has announced it's upping its pricing.
If you're in contract – haggle your price down
If you're still in contract you unfortunately won't be allowed to leave your contract penalty free as a result of the increase.
Mobile users can typically only cancel their contract if an increase is what regulator Ofcom deems is "of material detriment" to them, and an inflation linked increase is unlikely to fit this bill.
So your best option will be to haggle your price down. Use a mobile comparison site, such as Billmonitor to see if you could save by switching elsewhere.
Then take this to your provider and argue that cheaper prices elsewhere, alongside a price hike, mean you're not happy with the service provided.
If you're out of contract and want to stay – also haggle
Again, compare prices elsewhere and then come armed with the facts when you're talking to a customer services rep.
If it won't budge on price, see if you could get extra minutes, texts, data or freebies such as Spotify or Apple Music chucked in.
Switch to a Sim-only deal if you're out of contract
If you're out of contract, check if you can save by switching elsewhere.
You can either take out a new contract or, if you now own the handset outright, consider getting a cheap rolling Sim-only tariff.
These can start from around just £5 a month.
Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said: “Our role in these difficult and worrying times is to keep the UK connected, even while we have to stay apart.
“If our network capacity allows, we would love to be able to offer this to even more customers and will be monitoring the feasibility of this.
“In short, if we have more to give, we will.”
The My Vodafone app can be downloaded for free on the App Store or by Google Play.
You'll then find the free data deal on the VeryMe section of the app.
The free data deal comes after all major network providers, including Vodafone, announced they wouldn't charge customers, or take away from their data allowance, when accessing NHS websites.
Vodafone recently announced it will it's hiking bills by 2.5 per cent, meaning customers will pay up to £23.40 extra from next month.
It comes after Three Mobile call centres were shut down due to coronavirus.
O2, Virgin, Tesco, EE, Three and GiffGaff went down last week, leaving millions of people struggling to work from home.
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