- Most telcos are offering free data and talktime to their consumers along with missing person locating facility
- The telcos are also working round the clock to ensure the mobile sites are running
The situations in Kerala have been growing grim by the minute as the excessive water is wreaking havoc. A lot of districts in Kerala have been submerged underwater, and rescue operations are underway for the public to save them from the calamity. The water has already claimed life and property in some places of Kerala. Major cities in the state have also been impacted by the sudden massive downpour. In such situations, since communication is of prime importance, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and BSNL are offering their help in the situation by providing free services and relief to the customers so that they can stay in touch with their loved ones.
Bharti Airtel Free Services in Kerala
Airtel has announced that all the Airtel mobile customers in affected areas will get free talktime and SMS along with data benefits credited to their respective accounts so that they can stay connected at all times. The validity of prepaid customers for outgoing calls and all other services, and bill payments dates for postpaid customers have also been extended to August 16, 2019. Not only this, but Airtel has also set up special toll-free helpline 1948 to help in locating missing persons. People unable to reach friends and family (with an Airtel connection) in affected areas can call this helpline to get more details. As per the telco, the network team of Airtel is also working round the clock to ensure that the mobile sites are up and running during the time of this peril and they are also making sure that these sites are stocked properly with extra fuel and spares.
Nagananda U, COO–Kerala, Bharti Airtel, remarked about the situation, “Unprecedented flooding has disrupted the lives in several parts of Kerala. Besides making efforts to ensure that our mobile network continues to operate in these areas despite the difficult condition on the ground, we have taken these proactive steps to keep customers connected with their loved ones and families. We will continue to assist the local administration and relief teams in whichever way possible.”
Vodafone Idea Also Offering Free Services in Affected Areas
On the other hand, Vodafone Idea which is the largest network in Kerala, has mobilised its network of employees, customers, partners, vendors and supporters for relief work, and has channelised its resources and efforts to provide help and assistance to the affected people in this hour of need.
For its subscribers in Kerala, Vodafone Idea is offering a ‘Talk Time’ credit of up to Rs. 10 to prepaid customers. To activate this credit, Vodafone customers can dial *130# and Idea customers can dial *150*150#. Additionally, 1 GB of mobile data is being auto-credited free of cost to all Vodafone Idea prepaid smartphone users in Kerala. To ensure that postpaid customers have uninterrupted access to services, Vodafone Idea has given an extension on bill payment dates.
The telco has also been working closely with local authorities and with their help, VIL has launched a helpline to trace all those who have been reported missing at different locations in the state. On calling 1948 from any Vodafone Idea number in Kerala, and sharing details (name and Vodafone/Idea number) of the missing person, the caller will receive an SMS within 2 hours with their last called location on the network. Vodafone Idea has also noted that the incessant rain and massive flood has caused some disruption in its services and damaged equipment and sites in a few locations. Vodafone Idea’s team is also working round the clock to ensure that the sites are up and running.
BSNL Also Comes Out for Helping Kerala Flood Victims
Being one of the biggest networks in the state, BSNL has also come forward to extend its helping hand to the citizens by providing free calls to the public during the unprecedented flood situation in Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra, it has been decided by BSNL to offer free voice calls from BSNL Mobile to BSNL Mobile and 20 minutes free from BSNL Mobile to other operator Mobile numbers. In addition, SMS and data of 1GB are also free in the flood-affected districts/areas of these states. This facility is valid for 7 days from now. The flood-affected areas listed are Kodagu, Uttara Kannada, Belgavi Districts and parts of Chikmagaluru and Hassan in Karnataka; Wayanad and Malapuram district in Kerala; Sangli and Kolahapur in Maharashtra.
Shri PK Purwar, CMD BSNL said that it is a goodwill gesture for our esteemed customers in this time of natural calamity. BSNL is striving hard to maintain the services in these districts. In most of the taluks and districts, BSNL Mobile is working except where mobile tower/ Exchange is submerged in water or where Optical fibre is damaged due to floods/ landslide. For such places, restoration is being underway on a war footing. BSNL is taking the help of local administration to provide uninterrupted mobile services.
Reliance Jio Chips In for Help of Kerala Flood Victims
As per sources close to Reliance Jio, the telco helped BSNL restore its network in Chooralmala by providing diesel for power restoration and also provided 10Mbps bandwidth free of cost to BSNL to restore its services. BSNL fiber was damaged in landslides and BSNL traffic was carried on Jio network from Chooralmala to Puthurvayal in Wayanad thereby giving the much needed connectivity in the area badly impacted by landslides.
Jio team is making all efforts to ensure the network services are operational in areas impacted by floods n landslides and is helping BSNL restore its services in affected areas as well.
Jio has opened 1948 service for Kerala to identify the last location of missing person which will be delivered by SMS. Along with this, Chief Minister Flood Relief Control Helpline – 1100 has also been opened in Jio Network.
Jio has also extended a complimentary 7 days unlimited voice and data pack for all its subscribers to stay connected and reach out to their loved ones.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.