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Optus, Telstra and Virgin Mobile open up free calling to Italy


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In the wake of the earthquake in central Italy, Optus and Telstra are making calls to the country free for contract and prepaid customers.

If you’re a customer of either Telstra or Optus customer concerned about friends or family in the areas left devastated by yesterday’s earthquake, you’ll be able to call through to Italy at no cost for the next two weeks.

Telstra’s offer kicks in first, running for a week from 12.01am AEST on 25 August until 11.59pm AEST until 1 September 2016. Optus’ offer won’t kick in until tonight, but runs for two weeks from 12:01am AEST 26 August until 11.59 pm on 8 August 2016.

For both telcos, calls made from postpaid mobiles won’t be charged for on subsequent bills, whether you’re calling a landline or mobile in Italy. For prepaid customers your calls will still be free, but how each telco is handling payment is slightly different. Optus advises that its prepaid customers will have calls zero rated for Italy during the two week period, whereas Telstra customers will be refunded the cost of their calls, with refunds to be processed by 8 September 2016.

Vodafone representatives told that while they did not have a free call system in place for Italy at this time, many Vodafone plans include international direct dialling to Italy as part of their standard inclusions.

Update: Virgin Mobile has announced that it will offer free calls to Italy for its customers as well, although the deal there is different again. As per its Australian Twitter account:

As you can imagine, telecommunications services in Italy will be significantly impacted by this disaster, both in terms of damaged infrastructure and higher than usual general usage of services, so there’s no guarantee that all calls will go through. Equally, it would be wise to limit calls to those that are really necessary, because if you’re using mobile spectrum at any time, that’s capacity that others could require for more urgent matters.

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