EE is giving all NHS staff free unlimited data for six months to support workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, following a similar offer from Vodafone.
The mobile operator, part of the BT Group, said all NHS staff could register online for the offer using a valid NHS email address.
Once signed up, workers will receive a text message confirming unlimited data has been added to their account until October 9.
Those already receiving discounts through the NHS discount scheme are also eligible for the free data.
The offer is not valid for NHS staff who are EE mobile broadband or pay-as-you-go customers, however.
All EE pay monthly customers who are NHS staff with a valid NHS email address can take advantage of the offer, which doesn’t include mobile broadband or pay as you go customers
‘As we all continue to navigate these uncertain times, staying connected to loved ones is increasingly important,’ said Pete Jeavons, marketing communications director at BT and EE.
‘Using our network, we wanted to show a small token of our appreciation for the work the NHS is doing to keep us all safe; hopefully this will help them to keep in touch with friends and family during this difficult time.’
In an advertisement released to promote the offer, actor Kevin Bacon, a regular star of EE TV ads, addresses NHS workers.
Kevin Bacon appears in an EE advert announcing unlimited data for NHS staff for six months
‘We’re clapping for you, we’re rooting for you but most of all, we’re thankful for you,’ Bacon said, appearing from isolation at his home in the US.
EE said that the long six-month timeframe for the offer was decided due to the uncertainty surrounding how long lockdown would go on for.
‘We’re doing this to give all NHS staff the comfort that they can keep connected with loved ones during these difficult times,’ it says on its website.
‘Running out of data is the last thing anyone needs right now, especially those on the front line.’
The offer is aimed to prevent any NHS worker from being hampered by a lack of connectivity during the health crisis
EE and BT said they are doing all they can to increased support for the NHS, including connecting temporary field hospitals such as NHS Nightingale in London.
NHS Nightingale London has been set up at the ExCeL London exhibition centre in the London Docklands, and another four are set to open in Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Harrogate.
Fellow mobile operator Vodafone also launched a similar internet data scheme that is says will benefit around 125,000 NHS staff.
Since Monday, Vodafone has been giving NHS workers who are existing customers 30 days free unlimited mobile data.
It said the 30-day offer could be extended depending on ‘how the current situation evolves’.
Interior of NHS Nightingale Birmingham, which is set to open on Friday. The five NHS Nightingale Hospitals are temporary facilities specifically set up for COVID-19 patients
Also this week, Vodafone revealed that it is part of a research project with Imperial College London to use the collective power of idle smartphones to research COVID-19.
The telco is encouraging users to download its DreamLab app and leave their devices on, charging and connected to the internet while they sleep.
The collective power of these phones creates a virtual supercomputer, capable of processing millions of calculations.
This, it says, will help scientists analyse huge amounts of information in a shorter space of time and research how drugs and food-based molecules can help patients with or recovering from COVID-19.
The UK’s network providers, including the ‘big four’ are also giving their customers free access to NHS advice online during the coronavirus crisis.
Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three are among the firms who will let customers access the NHS homepage and the emergency webpage NHS 111 for updates on coronavirus.
WHAT ARE THE ‘BIG FOUR’ TELCOS DOING FOR CUSTOMERS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS?
From Monday 6 April, Vodafone UK is giving NHS workers who are existing customers 30 days free unlimited mobile data.
Vodafone has also given the same 30-day unlimited data offer to vulnerable customers as well as 500,000 Pay Monthly customers.
Vodafone is giving its mobile customers, including VOXI and TalkMobile customers, free access to NHS UK online, including the websites of NHS England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
EE is giving NHS workers who have a registered NHS email address six months of free unlimited data until October 9.
The offer is not valid for NHS staff who are EE mobile broadband or pay as you go customers.
BT, EE’s parent company, said it is allowing BT Sport customers to give their monthly subscription credit to the NHS Charities Together for Covid-19 Urgent Appeal.
BT is also removing all limitations on its home broadband plans for any users who still have capped subscriptions.
Three says that it won’t stop services for people who are struggling to pay their bills during the crisis if they call 333.
O2 is letting customers access important websites without using data, including nhs.uk, gov.uk and financial, health and mental support websites.
All four are also giving their customers free access to NHS advice online during the coronavirus crisis.