Telecoms Industry and Government Come Together to Agree on Commitments to Assist with the Cost-of-Living Crisis
Mobile network operators, alongside the wider telecoms industry, have come together and agreed with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, the Rt Hon Nadine Dorries MP, and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, a set of commitments to support and protect vulnerable customers who are struggling with their bills due to the cost-of-living crisis, and to help them remain connected.
The group of telecoms companies includes Mobile UK and its members, EE, Three, Virgin Media O2, and Vodafone, alongside other mobile companies, ISPA, and fixed-line operators.
The mobile sector is currently investing heavily in its networks, including the deployment of next generation 5G networks and the rollout of the £1 billion Shared Rural Network. Mobile customers benefit from some of the most competitive pricing across Europe and have access to multiple low-priced tariffs. While mobile represents only a small percentage of household spending and has not been subject to the large increases currently being experienced in the energy sector, mobile network operators recognise the specific pressures of the cost-of-living crisis.
Our members continue to put in place several measures and support options to assist customers struggling with their bills. For further information on many of these initiatives, please click here. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the support already available at the roundtable and to explore what more can be done, including greater awareness of such schemes.
All have agreed to the following commitments:
- All providers commit to supporting their customers who may be struggling with the cost-of-living and to treat them with compassion, understanding and as individuals.
- All providers commit to supporting customers struggling with their bills and to offer ways to keep them connected, such as allowing them to move to cheaper packages without charge or penalty, or agreeing manageable payment plans.
- All operators commit to continue to protect the connectivity of their customers known to be vulnerable as a priority.
- Providers - supported by Government - commit to take steps to raise awareness of low cost products to those claiming Universal Credit.
- Mobile providers commit to considering more ways to help their customers, including exploring tariffs, options to improve existing low-cost offers, and increasing the promotion of existing deals.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said:
“Families across the country face increased anxiety about keeping up with bills, so today I agreed with broadband and mobile industry bosses what more can be done to support people during this difficult time.
“I’m pleased to report the industry is listening and has signed up to new commitments offering customers struggling with the cost ofliving help to stay connected. Those who need support should contact their supplier to see what is available.”
Commenting on the meeting, Chief Executive at Mobile UK, Hamish MacLeod, said:
“Mobile operators welcome the commitments agreed upon today with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, which build on offers already in place to help the most vulnerable. We welcomed the chance to discuss with the Government not only how to raise awareness of such schemes but also to set out the further steps being taken to support those struggling with their bills.”
Commenting on the meeting ISPA Chair, Andrew Glover, said:
“The telecoms sector knows that people are facing real challenges with the cost-of-living crisis. Our members are determined to do what they can to help their customers through this period and, together with government, we will work to raise greater awareness of the support available.
“These commitments, along with the social tariffs that are available from many members, will hopefully help people in need at this challenging time. We encourage customers who are struggling with their bills to reach out to their broadband provider to get help.”