Virgin Media O2 has added more websites to the list of services which can be accessed without using a customer’s mobile data allowance, including debt advice, fuel poverty and financial support organisations. This is designed to support customers during the cost-of-living crisis.
The new zero-rated websites include the National Debtline, Turn2us, Business Debtline, Debt Advice Foundation and National Energy Action. They join existing zero-rated websites including Citizens Advice, debt charity Step Change, and the Money Advice Service.
Research from Virgin Media O2 shows that almost two thirds (64%) of low-income homes have worried about running out of mobile data in the last three month; with 50 percent saying they could not afford to get more data if they ran out.
When we think of mobile companies offering zero-rated data, it’s typically in terms of entertainment content, such as video or gaming. However, this move by Virgin Media O2 is more about helping people during troubling times.
We don’t often hear about companies helping their customers with the everyday costs of living, which decidedly puts Virgin Media O2 in a position to stand out in the marketplace. When customers are feeling the pinch on their own finances, it can often lead to negative feelings about companies that don’t seem to care about anything but profit. This move by Virgin Media O2 provides a tangible demonstration to their customers that not only do they care, but they are trying to help.
Additionally of note is the nature of the sites and services to which Virgin Media O2 is offering access: sites having to do with debt, energy and charity. Clearly these sites were selected based on their utility to those customers facing financial crises. Yet, that these resources are online is yet another indication of how essential internet access has become for everyday life, including for those experiencing financial hardship.