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NZ telcos rally to help Nepal following earthquake

By Shannon Williams, Tue 28 Apr 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Following the devastating 7.9 earthquake in Nepal on Saturday, Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees have today announced they will credit the costs of landline and mobile calls and TXTs.

Spark Home, Mobile & Business chief executive Chris Quin says, “Many of our customers have been calling or texting family and friends in Nepal, worried about their wellbeing. We think it’s important they don’t have to worry about a large phone bill at the end of the month in addition to everything else.”

The Spark credit will apply to direct dial calls (00 and 0161) made from home phones or mobile phones and texts to landlines and mobile phones in Nepal from 5.00pm Saturday 25 April (NZ time) until midnight Wednesday 29 April (NZ time).

The credits will be retrospectively applied to customers’ accounts in either their May or June bills, depending on their bill cycle.

Likewise, Vodafone says it will retrospectively credit mobile, residential and business calls made to landlines and mobile phones in Nepal. The retrospective credit will apply to calls and TXTs made from 5.00pm Saturday 25th April to 5.00pm Tuesday 28th April (NZ time) and will be applied to customers’ accounts.

Vodafone says it is urging customers to use TXT to communicate with loved ones in Nepal, so that traffic on heavily congested local networks can be prioritised for emergency communications.

Matt Williams, Vodafone’s consumer director, says, “We are also mindful of New Zealanders with loved ones in Nepal or with close ties to a nation we’ve shared so much with in the past. Crediting calls and TXTs is something simple we can do to help Kiwis during this time."

2degrees says it will be crediting all calls and SMS messages made to mobiles and landlines in Nepal from Friday 24th April until midnight Wednesday 29th April.

In a statement, the company says, “Our thoughts are with the people of Nepal, as well as those visiting the country at the time of this disaster. 2degrees is crediting all calls as it’s important family and friends in New Zealand are able to stay in touch with loved ones in Nepal at this time.”

2degrees says it recommends customers use text if possible when trying to contact loved ones so that it places minimal impact on Nepal’s mobile networks. In previous natural disasters, partner networks have found their networks can be heavily loaded and the priority at this time needs to be on emergency calling and disaster relief efforts.

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