HARD-UP Brits can get free mobile data from Virgin Media O2 to ensure they stay connected this Christmas.
The phone giant is already offering free sims and mobile data, as well as talk and text minutes, to people struggling to get online through the National Databank.
It’s likened to a food bank but with internet connection data – but the registration process can be complicated.
But Virgin Media O2 is now helping more people in need of free mobile data by testing the National Databank for the first time on the High Street in 10 O2 stores.
Struggling Brits used to search the community center associated with the Good Things Foundation for free data.
To simplify the process, struggling Brits can now access the National Databank directly from the high street.
Eligible customers who visit any of the 10 O2 stores can get 20GB of free O2 data per month for up to six months.
This is enough for about 220 hours of internet browsing per month.
Virgin Media O2 said participating O2 stores are in towns and cities where free data will help those who need it most.
This includes communities where people are most likely to be digitally excluded.
Struggling Brits will be able to get free data from the following O2 stores:
- Broadstairs (Thanet Westwood Cross)
- Hull (Jameson Street)
- Stockton-on-Tees (Teesside Retail Park)
Those who qualify can get support by going to one of the participating stores and asking an O2 employee, trained to use the National Databank platform, for a 20GB data voucher.
Gareth Turpin, head of commercial at Virgin Media O2, said: “We are stepping up our support during the cost of living crisis to help more people stay connected this Christmas.
“Now it will be easier than ever for those who need to access the National Databank directly on the High Street using our O2 stores, so they can go online and contact essential services – from medical appointments to applying for jobs.”
Am I eligible for free data?
To qualify for a data boost, you need to be at least 18 years old and come from a low-income family.
You must also qualify for one or more of the following statements:
- He has no access or insufficient access to the Internet at home
- And/or doesn’t have or doesn’t have enough access to the internet when you’re away from home
- And/or they are unable to pay their existing monthly contract or complete it
How does this work?
Staff and volunteers at selected O2 stores or online centers in the Good Things Foundation network assess the needs of the people they can support.
Then they use the Data Bank to find sims and share them.
So to access free data you must first get support from an internet center.
You can find the details of your nearest internet center here.
The amount issued will vary. It will be decided based on your financial situation and how much data is available.
Support is also provided for those who struggle to use the internet, with tools available to help build confidence and basic IT skills.
Tackling data poverty in the UK
The databank was first tested with Virgin Media O2, and has now been rolled out nationally.
In January 2022 the plan is extended with mobile internet data from Vodafone.
The Good Things Foundation is now calling on all UK mobile networks to join the National Databank, to “end data poverty for good”.
The increase in data will be welcomed as the cost of living crisis continues to bite millions across the country – many facing increasing levels of hardship.