TPG Telecom says it is making mobile phone calls to Tonga free-of-charge across its family of brands for the next two weeks to help customers reconnect with loved ones in the Pacific Island nation.
TPG Telecom is now allowing customers across its Vodafone, Kogan and Lebara brands to make free-rated standard mobile calls to Tonga for two weeks starting Friday 21 January and ending on the night of Thursday 3 February 2022.
TPG Telecom said it's other brands, including TPG, iiNet, Westnet and Internode will also allow free standard calls to Tonga between the same dates. A small number of customers may still see charges related to Tonga calls during this period, in which case, TPG Telecom invites them to please contact their service provider for a full credit.
Telstra group executive consumer and small business Michael Ackland said, "We want to help how we can, so we’re making it easier to get in touch and to stay on the phone with loved ones. To do this we’ll be waiving charges for calls to Tonga from Telstra home phones and post-paid mobiles from midnight tonight (Friday) for the next seven days. This offer isn’t available for pre-paid mobile calls at this stage, but we’ll be monitoring the situation and will extend this offer – and the time it’s available – if needed."
TPG Telecom general manager products and devices Arthur Panos said, “We are heartbroken to see the tragic events that have taken place in Tonga, and to see the ripple effect it has had on the people of Tonga, Tongan Australians and the worldwide Tongan community.
“Our thoughts are with all those affected by this disaster, and we hope this small gesture to help our customers reconnect will provide some support and comfort,” Panos concluded.
Telstra is also working with Digicel Tonga to restore connectivity, Ackland commented, "While we haven’t completed our acquisition of Digicel Pacific yet, we’re in regular contact with the team to offer our support. Fortunately, the Digicel Tonga team are all OK.
"We have teams from across the business working with the Digicel Pacific technical team on a satellite communications solution to help restore some communications.
"We’ve worked alongside the Australian Government to get the first batch of satellite equipment shipped on an RAAF flight, which has arrived and another shipment is on the way. This has helped the Digicel Tonga team start to progressively restore services, which is why we’re now able to offer free calls," Ackland concluded.
Infrastructure within Tonga has been damaged, so while the two carriers have both stepped up admirably to support customers, calls may not get through until adequate capacity between Australia and Tonga is established and the services in Tonga are restored. Please retry later if you fail to initially connect.