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Press Release | 13 Mar 2015

VODAFONE FOUNDATION INSTANT NETWORK TEAM – SUPPORTING THE RELIEF EFFORT IN VANUATU

VODAFONE FOUNDATION INSTANT NETWORK TEAM – SUPPORTING THE RELIEF EFFORT IN VANUATU

Four Vodafone Foundation Instant Network volunteers deployed to the Republic of Vanuatu, to help restore communications to areas devastated by Cyclone Pam

response to Cyclone Pam

Four Vodafone Foundation Instant Network volunteers from Vodafone New Zealand and the Vodafone Foundation deployed to the Republic of Vanuatu, to help restore communications to areas devastated by Cyclone Pam. Cyclone Pam – a category 5 tropical storm that hit Vanuatu last month, crippling the islands’ infrastructure and telecommunications and claiming the lives of at least 16 people.

 

The Vodafone Foundation Instant Network team Justin Waller, Lise Mackie, Mark Tynan and Rob MacLennan  travelled to Port Vila, Vanuatu’s capital on Wednesday 18 March at the request of local operator Telecoms Vanuatu Limited (TVL), supporting the UN Mission and Telecoms sans Frontieres.

In a 10 day deployment the team focused on connecting Tanna Island, the second largest island with a population 29,000. The team supported the relief effort, providing free calls to people affected and helped businesses get back online  including the bank  which used  the network to process 2 million Vatu in transactions and order 8 million Vatu in cash to replenish their ATM.

In total, 1,487 calls were made totalling 4,156 minutes, supporting an estimated 7,250 people and 25% of the island’s households. 13 agencies including World Vision, Unicef, Red Cross also used the connection our team helped establish, sharing data ranging from aid distribution spreadsheets to co-ordinates for remote aid drops by helicopters.

Islanders who had been waiting for the network to come online jumped at the chance to call family and friends in Vanuatu and the rest of the world. “There was an older woman who handed a phone back to me after having spoken to her son for the first time in ten days,” Instant Network Volunteer Lise recalls. “She couldn’t speak as she had tears streaming down her face and it was obvious she was bursting with relief. It was completely heart-warming to see and was the exact reason I’d wanted to sign up to be an Instant Network volunteer.”

Following the end of the deployment Vanuatu Telcoms CEO Prakash Bheekhoo contacted Vodafone to say: “On behalf of my whole team, my board of directors and the Vanuatu people who we have been able to connect and support, TVL would like to express sincere gratitude to you and your team in helping make this possible.”

About Vodafone UK

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were also the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. As of October 2020, we have 5G in 57 locations in the UK and 193 across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland.

In September 2020, leading mobile benchmarking company, umlaut, named Vodafone as London’s best network for 5G. Our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population. And in October 2020, Vodafone was named Network Provider of the Year by readers of leading technology advice website, Trusted Reviews.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

For more information about Vodafone UK please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk.

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