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Optus, Vodafone waive phone bills for coronavirus frontline workers

(Source: Getty, AAP)

Telco giants Optus and Vodafone have slashed phone bills for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic for the next three and two months respectively.

In a statement, Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said the telco was making postpaid mobile phone bills free as a ‘thank you’ to healthcare workers.

“We are so grateful to all the nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers who are working in unprecedented conditions. So, we will be waiving their Optus mobile bill access charges in recognition of their invaluable support and dedication,” she said.

Eligible healthcare workers can apply to have their phone bills waived by checking Optus’ Coronavirus Support page, where an online form will be made available from “next week” until 30 April.

Vodafone Australia has also pledged to offer healthcare practitioners two months of free credit on their monthly postpaid bills or prepaid recharge.

“We recognise frontline healthcare workers are working in extraordinarily challenging conditions as they care for Australians in need,” Vodafone CEO Iñaki Berroeta said.

“To support those who need it most at this time, we are working on a number of additional initiatives, including this offer for registered health practitioners.”

Health practitioners must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to be eligible to have their phone bills waived by Optus or Vodafone.

However, Vodafone said it was still working out the details on how health workers can apply for the initiative.

According to AHPRA, there were more than 744,000 registered health professionals across 16 professions in 2018/19.

A spokesperson for Telstra has confirmed with Yahoo Finance that Telstra will not be matching Vodafone or Optus’ initiative.

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone give away free data

The three major telcos have announced a range of measures for customers that will provide additional connectivity for those working from home throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Telstra’s consumer and small business broadband customers will get unlimited data, while postpaid mobile customers get an additional 25GB and pre-paid customers will get a bonus 10GB.

Optus’ postpaid mobile customers get an extra 20GB, while pre-paid customers will receive an additional 10GB.

Vodafone has slashed the price of data from $10 per GB to $1, and will also be giving 10GB of data for free to prepaid mobile customers.

Vodafone postpaid customers will get an extra 5GB of data, and prepaid customers will get a bonus 3GB.

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