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Optus, Vodafone match Telstra, waives fireys’ phone bills

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: Rural Fire Service (RFS) firefighters conduct property protection near the town of Sussex Inlet on December 31, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. There are a number of dangerous bushfires burning at emergency level across NSW as weather conditions deteriorate with temperatures expected to rise ahead of gusty southerly change. Princes Highway on the NSW South Coast has been closed with motorists told to avoid all non essential travel. Volunteer firefighter Sam McPaul was killed when his truck rolled over in a freak wind event near Jingellic near the NSW-Victorian border on Monday evening. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

Optus has announced it will waive mobile service costs for volunteer firefighters following Telstra’s announcement on Wednesday. 

 Optus deputy CEO Kelly Bayer-Rosmarin made the announcement on Thursday, with volunteer firefighters to have their bills covered for the months of December and January. 

“When our communities are facing such difficult circumstances, we all seek to provide whatever support we can for our volunteer firefighters who are placing themselves in harm’s way to protect the lives and property of Australians,” Bayer-Rosmarin said. 

“Waiving the bills of volunteer firefighters is our small way of saying thanks.”

Volunteer firefighters can use the Optus hotline - 1300 301 671 - to arrange the waiver. 

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn on Wednesday said he was in awe of the volunteer firefighters, and said covering their mobile bills was Telstra “doing its part”.

“This new assistance package means that we will cover the cost of volunteer firefighter’s mobile phone bills over the period of December and January. We want to do this to show our thanks to firefighters for their efforts in helping keep communities safe.”

UPDATE: Vodafone matches Telstra, Optus

Vodafone on Friday announced it would also waive charges for all volunteer firefighters accrued over December and January.

To be eligible, volunteers must call 1300 650 410 or visit a Vodafone store and quote their official volunteer ID number.

“Like all Australians we are devastated to see the effects of the continuing bush fires,” Ben McIntosh, Vodafone chief commercial officer said.

“To show our gratitude to the brave volunteer firefighters who have given their time and risked their lives to protect communities, homes and animals across Australia, we are putting in place a range of measures to ensure that they have the support they need.”

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