Commission calls on telecom operators to continue help refugees stay connected

Following the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, millions have fled to the EU – and it is essential that Ukrainians have access to affordable connectivity to stay in touch with their families and friends. This is why the Commission encourages EU and Ukrainian telecom operators to prolong their agreement which allowed refugees from Ukraine use their mobile phones with no, or only low, roaming charges during three months. The Joint Statement, facilitated by the European Commission and the European Parliament, was signed on 8 April, and the initial three months period would now expire. The meanwhile 38 signatories include European operators as well as all mobile operators from Ukraine. An assessment published by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) shows that the agreement between the operators was very successful. It provides good reason to continue the arrangement and the Commission encourages operators to maintain the voluntary commitments. In addition to affordable roaming, 2.5 million SIM cards were so far distributed by EU telecom companies to Ukrainians who fled their country, and WiFi hot spots were established at the borders and shelters. The Joint Statement is available here.