BT, Eir, Pure Telecom, Sky Ireland, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone have agreed to ensure continuity of service for Irish customers in financial difficulty, according to an announcement by the Department of Communications.
‘Consumers who are in financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19 and have difficulty paying their bills, including those who are cocooning, will be assisted by their service provider to agree an affordable solution for their voice and data services,’ said Telecommunications Industry Ireland director Torlach Denihan.
The measures, which will run until at least the 30 June 2020, will also see service providers:
- allowing broadband and mobile data customers to temporarily upgrade to an unlimited usage package if required
- suspending fair usage policies on unlimited fixed and mobile data packages – except to implement traffic management measures to alleviate network congestion
- allowing free access to government-approved healthcare and educational resources
- consulting with the Irish regulator ComReg when customers complain if they don’t think they are being treated fairly.
Minister for Communications Richard Bruton said these were common commitments and operators were free to offer even more support if they chose to do so.
Omnisperience applauds the measures taken by the Irish industry and co-ordinated by the Irish government and regulator. The measures are sensible, fair and essential to support customers at this difficult time. By acting together, the industry is working to ensure the long-term health of the sector as well as providing certainty for customers. This is all in the service providers’ own interests as it will underpin customer satisfaction, deflect calls from call centres and alleviate distress amongst its customers – helping to prevent short-term difficulties from escalating into longer term problems.
Omnisperience would like to see more economies taking similar measures to ensure customers stay connected at this difficult time. While it is good that individual service providers are acting to support their customers, a co-ordinated effort like that taken by Ireland is by far the best route for the industry to take.