Vodafone has now given away 500,000 free SIM cards

(Image credit: AndreyPopov)

Vodafone says it has given away half a million SIM cards as part of its efforts to ease the digital divide, adding that the need for free connectivity has been heightened by the cost-of-living crisis.

As the UK becomes an increasingly digitised society, a mobile or broadband connection becomes essential for work, education, entertainment, and everyday life, exacerbating the impact on those who do not have access to the internet.

Vodafone, building on its efforts during the pandemic, has pledged to connect one million digitally excluded people in the UK by the end of 2022, meaning it is now halfway towards its overall target.

UK National Data Bank

The SIM cards have been distributed via charities including Barnardo’s, Good Things Foundation, and The Trussell Trust, which manages foodbank across the UK. 

Each SIM provides 20GB of data as well as unlimited calls and texts for a six month period.

Ahmed Essam, Vodafone UK CEO, said: “We’re proud our ‘everyone.connected’ programme has reached the half million milestone, but we know there are many more people out there who need help … connection shouldn’t be a luxury.

 “We couldn’t do this without our charity partners and would like to thank them for all they are doing to get connectivity into the hands of those who need it most.”

Several operators have offered assistance to struggling households through free SIMs or social broadband tariffs. Virgin Media O2 has established the national data bank and earlier this week confirmed it would gift more than 61GB of free data by the end of 2025. Other operators, including Vodafone and Three, have signed up to the initiative.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.