Joint Statement by EU and Ukrainian Operators to Help Refugees from Ukraine Stay Connected

Today, Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for Internal Market, held an online event to announce the signing of a Joint Statement by European and Ukrainian operators to reflect their commitment to provide connectivity support to people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The signatories of this Joint Statement have taken, as of the first days of this crisis, many different actions to help ensure connectivity across the board. EU operators have distributed and will continue distributing SIM cards free of charge to allow Ukrainians to stay connected in the EU. Furthermore, EU operators have offered free or heavily discounted international calls and SMS to Ukraine, have enabled free outbound roaming for EU customers in Ukraine, have provided connectivity and charging at central points where refugees gather, have offered donations of essential equipment to Ukrainian operators and maintained essential international connection nodes. In parallel, Ukrainian operators continue to keep connectivity within Ukraine functioning, despite military aggressions. From the early days of this crisis, Ukrainian operators also ensured resilience of their networks within the country and offered free roaming to Ukrainian people that fled the war.

The full Joint Statement is available here.

“These are unprecedented times in Europe. In response, our members will continue to offer humanitarian programmes recognising the importance of connectivity, particularly in times of crisis. Our hope is that these measures will go some way to lighten the burden faced by the millions of people displaced and seeking refuge. With these measures in place, we hope mobile will continue to play its vital role in keeping family and friends connected”, said Mats Granryd, Director-General of the GSMA.

This initiative is led by the European Commissioner Thierry Breton and facilitated by the DG Connect at the European Commission. The ongoing work to ensure that the parties on both sides work together to achieve the aims of the Joint Statement will be further facilitated by BEREC and the Ukrainian National Regulatory Authority NCEC.

Ukrainian Mobile Network Operators: Kyivstar, VF Ukraine, lifecell and EU Telekom Operators: BICS, Bouygues Telecom, Colt Technology Service, Deutsche Telekom, Enreach, Fastweb, Iliad Group, KPN, Liberty Global, Grupo MÁSMÓVIL, Neterra, Orange, Play, Polkomtel, Proximus, Telefónica, Telia Company, Three Group, TIM, Transatel, Vodafone, MVNO Europe, on behalf of its members, signed the Joint Statement at today’s event.

The GSMA has facilitated the involvement of its European members in this initiative and will continue to provide support on this topic to its membership.

For more information about Ukraine’s support actions by the European mobile industry visit our dedicated site and explore an interactive map, detailing the individual voluntary support measures by European mobile network operators.

For more information please contact:

Emma O’Toole

Senior Manager, Spectrum, GSMA

As Senior Manager for Spectrum, Emma leads on GSMA Europe’s efforts to represent the mobile industry on European spectrum policy, helping to develop and deliver an advocacy agenda that ensures mobile operators have timely and affordable access to appropriate spectrum.

An Economist by training, Emma has experience in academic research as well as a corporate and regulated company environment and is specialised in telecommunications regulation, market and policy analysis.

Emma has extensive experience working on a broad range of telecoms regulatory and public policy issues having previously worked as the in-house Regulatory Economist and EU-level representative for the former Irish incumbent, Eir.

Prior to joining GSMA in 2021, Emma also worked as a Senior Analyst with Cullen International, monitoring and reporting on EU and national telecoms and spectrum policy developments.

Emma holds a MSc in Economics and Policy in addition to a Bachelor of Commerce (International) from the National University of Ireland Galway.

eotoole@gsma.com