Free calls for frontline workers: What you must know
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers will not have to worry about paying mobile phone bills for three months with Optus after the company responded to News Corp's campaign to support frontline workers today.
The generous plan, unveiled by the company's freshly installed chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, will waive postpaid phone bills for all registered healthcare workers in what she called a thank you to "the heroes on the front line who are supporting us".
The offers follow News Corp's publication of a wishlist of items to support medical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, from more personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses to a full rollout of the promised 100 fever clinics.
Ms Bayer Rosmarin said Optus developed the scheme to support Australians risking their own health to save the lives of others.
"These are trying times and we recognise that our health workers are putting themselves on the frontline day in, day out to protect and help Australians during this pandemic, and we want to say thank you," she said.
"We are so grateful to all the nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers who are working in unprecedented conditions. So, we will be waiving their Optus mobile bill access charges in recognition of their invaluable support and dedication."
Rival Vodafone will also come to the table to support health workers, offering two months of free phone service to registered practitioners to help them "get on with the vital work they're doing" to fight coronavirus while remaining connected.
Health workers will be able to sign up to the scheme on the Optus website next week.
In addition, the company will cancel Optus Sport subscription fees and introduce unlimited downloads to its fixed broadband services until the end of May.
Vodafone chief executive Inaki Berroeta said the telco would also offer to wipe the posted or prepaid bills of registered healthcare workers for two months to recognise they were facing "extraordinarily challenging conditions as they care for Australians during the COVID-19 crisis".
Australia's biggest telecommunications operator, Telstra, has yet to match the offers from its rivals but a spokesman said the company would consider new measures to meet rapidly changing conditions.
He said healthcare workers could access additional mobile phone data during April and unlimited broadband downloads that it had offered to all customers.
"We have the utmost respect for our frontline medical teams, and they're doing phenomenal work under difficult conditions," the spokesman said. "We have announced a range of initiatives to assist customers, small business and the broader community during this time of uncertainty."
Originally published as Free calls for frontline workers: What you must know