Support for frontline volunteers and customers affected by the bushfires

 

Like all Australians we are devastated to see the effects of the continuing bushfires.

For our customers who may be impacted at this time and to show our gratitude to the brave volunteers who have given their time and risked their lives to protect communities, homes and animals across Australia, Vodafone has put in place the following measures to ensure that they have the support they need.

Free Vodafone mobile services for frontline volunteers

Updated 17 January 2020

If you are a Vodafone customer and are also a volunteer firefighter, State SES volunteer, wildlife rescue volunteer or St John Ambulance volunteer, we will provide you with 2 months credit on your mobile service to recognise your extraordinary contribution.

Customers on a plan

For customers on a plan we will credit the value of your monthly access fee from your December 2019 and January 2020 Vodafone bill. For example, if you are a customer on a $40 a month plan, we will credit your account with $80.

For prepaid customers

For prepaid customers we will apply a credit equivalent to twice the value of your last recharge, so if your last prepaid recharge was $30, we will credit you with $60 which will remain valid for 12 months.

To check eligibility and have a credit applied, please call 1300 650 410 or visit a local Vodafone store before the end of January 2020 and provide your official volunteer membership number.

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The following Vodafone customers are entitled to this free support:

A volunteer firefighter who is a member of:
  • • NSW Rural Fire Service
  • • NSW Fire and Rescue
  • • Victoria Country Fire Authority
  • • Queensland Rural Fire Service
  • • South Australia Country Fire Service
  • • Western Australia Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service Brigades or Bush Fire Brigades
  • • ACT Community Fire Unit
  • • Tasmania Fire Service
  • • Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service
  • • An organised farm firefighting unit (please provide the details of the farm firefighting unit)
A State Emergency Service volunteer who has been actively involved in the current bushfire emergency and is a member of:
  • • NSW State Emergency Service
  • • Victoria State Emergency Service
  • • Queensland State Emergency Service
  • • South Australian State Emergency Service
  • • Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services
  • • Australian Capital Territory State Emergency Service
  • • Tasmanian State Emergency Service
  • • Northern Territory Emergency Service
A wildlife rescue volunteer who has been actively involved in the current bushfire emergency and is a member of:
  • • Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES)
  • • Wildlife Victoria
  • • Fauna Rescue in South Australia
  • • Parks and Wildlife Service Western Australia
  • • ACT Wildlife

A St John Ambulance volunteer who has been actively involved in the current bushfire emergency.

Free Vodafone mobile Wi-Fi option for each home lost to bushfires

To support anyone who has suffered the tragedy of losing their home in the fires, Vodafone will provide a free Vodafone 4G Pocket WiFi Modem and 3 months free mobile broadband service so that you and your loved ones may be able to continue accessing the internet. This free modem and broadband service is available to anyone (whether or not they’re a Vodafone customer). The broadband plan has 100GB of data at our fastest network speed and then you can keep using as much data as you want at speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps.

We fully appreciate that the Vodafone network may not extend to all places impacted by the bushfires or where you may want to use the service. However, we’d like to see if we can help you, and as a mobile service you can take it with you anywhere in Australia. When you contact Vodafone, we will assist by checking if you’re likely to have 4G coverage in the places you now need it.

To receive the free modem and service we do ask that you provide proof that your home has been lost to fire, for example an insurance claim document or a fire or police report. We will provide one free modem and 3 months free access fees on our $60 SIM Only Data Plus Plan to each household for use in Australia. If you wish to remain connected after the 3 months free service has expired, we will offer you a suitable plan which may meet your ongoing needs. You may keep the Vodafone 4G Pocket WiFi Modem for future use, and there is no need to return this device even if you do not wish to stay connected with us. Please contact us before 31 January 2020 to make your application.

If you own or rent and have lost your home due to bushfires since 1 July 2019, please call Vodafone on 1800 130 424 or visit a local store.

Extra data for impacted customers and free access to emergency websites

We recognise that during a crisis people use more mobile data to stay in touch and access information. In January 2020 we’ll automatically apply extra data to the accounts of Vodafone postpaid and prepaid customers who are or have been in bushfire impacted areas. We’ll be directly notifying those customers with the details of the extra data.

Also, to help Vodafone customers access emergency services websites and save their data for other uses, we’ve done everything that we can to ensure that you don’t need to use your mobile data allowance for content accessed from the websites listed below. Please note that many of these websites link to or draw information from other websites (such as google maps) and your data will be used e.g. to access the content drawn from those other websites.

Donations

Join us in supporting those affected by the Australian bushfires by donating to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery appeal.

Vodafone Foundation will match dollar for dollar the first $250,000 of donations made to the Red Cross through the Vodafone ‘gofundraise’ page. Click the Donate now button below and together we can raise over $500,000 to help those impacted across the country.

Donate now

Bill payment support or relief

Hardship measures

If the bushfires have caused you financial hardship and your ability to make a payment has been impacted, please let us know as soon as possible so we can support you with your payments. We have a range of options available.

For full details and to make an application please go to our financial hardship page and complete the application process, or call us on 1300 650 405 between 8am-8pm AEST Monday to Friday.

Pause your service

If you do not need your Vodafone mobile service or are experiencing issues in accessing the Vodafone network as a result of the bushfires, you may also elect to pause your service for 2 bills and we will waive the usual $10 and $5 fees that apply for this pause option. You can find more information on our pause your plan page.

You can pause your mobile plan by calling 1555 from your Vodafone phone or 1300 650 410 from any phone.

If you are a Vodafone NBN customer and your service has been lost or you are not able to use it, you can also ask us to disconnect it until you’re ready to use it again. That way we will not bill you for the NBN service during the disconnection period.

Vodafone network areas impacted by bushfire

Updated 3pm, 24 January 2020

Vodafone engineers are working around the clock to restore services in bushfire-affected communities following power outages and extensive damage to infrastructure in parts of NSW and Victoria.

We are working closely with emergency services to access sites, many of which are in exclusion zones where sites are simply not safe to access.

During this time, Vodafone customers will be unable to access 4G data and voice services in those areas. Where Optus roaming is available, customers will be able to roam and use 3G voice and data services. Customers will still be able to make 000 emergency calls if any other mobile network is available.

We apologise for the inconvenience and thank customers for their patience and support for bushfire-affected communities.

Restored areas

Vodafone has recently restored the following areas to service:

NSW
  • Annangrove Park
  • Batemans Bay
  • Bega
  • Bergalia
  • Bewong/Tomerong
  • Bodalla
  • Cobargo
  • Dignams Creek/Tilba Tilba
  • Freshwater
  • Mulgoa
  • Narooma
  • Newell Hwy
  • Quaama
  • Tahmoor
  • Wolumla
  • Wonboyn Lake
VIC
  • Cann River/Donald
  • Genoa
  • Maramingo Hill/Waygara

Impacted areas

Work is ongoing to restore power or repair damage in the following areas. The assessments to date have indicated more extensive damage and therefore longer restoration times and our technical teams are continuing to monitor network performance to ensure all services are restored as soon as possible:

NSW
  • Bell
  • Blackwall
  • Brooklyn
  • Bucketty
  • Curl Curl
  • Enmore
  • Ettalong Beach
  • Gwynnville
  • Lane Cove
  • Mogo
  • Mooney Mooney
  • Moruya
  • Mt White
  • Ourimbah
  • Pearl Beach
  • Phegan’s Bay
  • Rushes Creek
  • Somersby
  • Terrigal
  • Umina
  • Woy Woy
WA
  • Two Rocks

Loss of Vodafone mobile or NBN service

The bushfires have had a significant impact on communication facilities and electricity supply which has impacted our ability to provide mobile and NBN services in some areas.

Our NBN Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub modem already provides “4G Back Up” which means that even if the fixed-line NBN connection is not working, customers will already fall back to the Vodafone 4G mobile network (if available). We’ve been working non-stop to return service as quickly as possible but in some cases the damage is significant or we rely on other telecoms lines or electricity supplies that remain unavailable. Fortunately, in most cases the outages have been for short periods but some areas remain impacted.

If you have experienced a loss of service please contact us by calling 1555 from your Vodafone phone or 1300 650 410 from any phone to discuss options.

Other useful information

Emergency calls

It's important that you can contact emergency services should the need arise. So, even outside our coverage area you'll be able to call emergency services using any other available mobile network (your phone will show something similar to 'SOS only' or 'Emergency calls only' when you do). Emergency calls should only be used to request help from an emergency service organisation in a life threatening and/or time critical event.

What it costs

There is no charge for calls made to emergency services regardless of whether your service is active or inactive.

There are 2 emergency call numbers you can dial from your mobile:

  • • 000 within Australia
  • • 112 both within and outside Australia

 

You can use the above numbers to contact emergency service organisations, including police, fire and ambulance. There's more information about emergency calls on the federal government's triple zero website.

In Australia emergency calls to Triple Zero can be made with or without an active SIM in your phone.

If your phone does not have access to the Vodafone network you may still be able to make an emergency call on another mobile network, which is why you may see 'Emergency calls only' or similar on the screen.

Emergency calls can be made wherever your phone can see any mobile telecommunications network, however if you are travelling in a rural or remote area you should not rely upon your mobile phone to make an emergency call as there may be no mobile telecommunications network available, instead you should have other means of communications such as a satellite phone and for emergencies carry an emergency beacon.

When calling an emergency call number, information such as your number, name and service location (where available) will be disclosed to emergency service organisations, regardless of your call settings.

Emergency warnings and safety in emergency situations

Vodafone Australia is proud to work with government and emergency services to deliver the capability to send location-based emergency alert messages to users of our network in cases of localised or broader emergencies.

This capability enables emergency service agencies to send appropriate warning messages to all customers connected to the Vodafone network based on their current location in times of natural disaster or crisis. You will not receive warnings if you are out of Vodafone coverage.

Vodafone does not charge you or the emergency services a fee for delivery of these messages.

See more information about emergency alerts.