Vodafone Group creates 5-point plan to counter impact of coronavirus
20 March 2020
The Vodafone Group has announced a five-point plan to help counter the impact of the covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. Under the plan, the company said it will seek to maintain the quality of service of its networks, provide network capacity and services for critical government functions, improve the dissemination of information to the public, help people working from home and SMEs within its Supply Chain, and help government get insight into people’s movements in affected areas.
The company said the measures will remain in effect until 1 September at least. It noted that data traffic has increased by 50 percent in some markets since the outbreak. It also said it has asked governments to temporarily waive the requirement on operators to switch off zero rating when people run out of data.
Help for healthcare services
The company has launched several initiatives to help support healthcare services as they cope with the surge in demand and for customers looking for health information. In all of its markets, Vodafone is offering hospitals additional network capacity and services, such as video conferencing and unlimited, fast connectivity to healthcare workers. For example, Vodafone UK has offered additional network capacity for hospitals and GPs and made available video conferencing services for patients to communicate with healthcare workers. It has also generally begun to offer free access to government-supported healthcare sites.
Help for students
For students of all levels, it will offer free access to government educational resources, and any other educational resources that are recommended by national educational authorities and academic institutions.
Informing the public through text alerts and analysing data
Regarding information to the public, the company is offering all governments the dissemination of critical information via text alerts. Where technically possible, it will also try to offer governments the possibility of targeted text messaging, for example to residents in an area particularly affected by the virus.
To help SMEs, the company pledges to pay bills to micro and small suppliers in 15 days, instead of the usual 30-60 days.
Finally, regarding data analytics, the company said it is willing to help set up large anonymised data sets. For example, it is already producing an anonymous heat map for the Lombardy region in Italy to help the authorities better understand population movements under the outbreak.
Vodafone Foundations donating money and tech support
Finally, the company noted that its 27 Vodafone Foundations are also responding to the outbreak with donations, technical support and by widening the reach of their digital learning platforms.
The DreamLab data and cancer research project will be repurposed. A donation of EUR 200,000 will enable the DreamLab app to support research into antiviral properties and a further EUR 200,000 will support Unicef’s work into machine learning and data science research.
Meanwhile, Vodafone Italy Foundation has donated EUR 500,000 to support the Buzzi Foundation and the Italian Red Cross. Vodafone Czech Foundation’s emergency app Zachranka is pushing out public health alerts to its 1.3 million users while Vodafone Foundations in Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Spain, Ghana, Hungary and Romania are all working to enable more young people gain access to their digital learning platforms.