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Free O2 data for low income families

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Virgin Media O2 and Good Things Foundation are providing free O2 data via the National Databank to support families over the six-week break.

The data will be dished out by the National Databank which is like a foodbank but provides free O2 mobile data, texts and calls for people who need it. Crucially, you don’t need to be an O2 customer to use the databank.

National Databank was formed by Virgin Media O2 in partnership with digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation.

Parents can access 20GB of free O2 data per month for six months along with texts and calls. This is enough data for about 220 hours of internet browsing per month. The data is given out at nearly 1,300 National Databank Hubs nationwide you can find your nearest National Databank Hub.

Virgin Media O2 has committed more than 61 million GB of free O2 data to the National Databank by the end of 2025. Since the initiative was launched in July 2021, the firm has provided more than 85,000 free O2 SIM cards and more than 80,000 free O2 data vouchers.

Are you eligible for free data?

Someone receiving data through the National Databank must:

  • be 18+ years-old
  • be from a low income household

They must also qualify in one or several of the following statements:

  • has no access or insufficient access to the internet at home
  • and/or has no or insufficient access to the internet when away from the home
  • and/or cannot afford their existing monthly contract or top-up

You can find out more about eligibility for the National Databank here .

Increasing family mobile usage

Research by Virgin Media O2 found that 81% of those with a household income of less than £15,000 said their family’s mobile data usage will increase over the summer holidays, with seven in 10 saying they’ll struggle to afford to keep their kids connected.

The study also found almost half (45%) of low income Brits believe their children won’t have the same access to the internet at home over the holidays compared to when they’re at school during term time, with 28% feeling they’re letting their children down as they can’t afford to keep them connected.

Almost a third are worried their children will be isolated over the summer holidays as they will be cut off from speaking, messaging or playing games online with their friends, with almost a quarter of parents (24%) worried their children’s mental health will suffer.

Parents are also concerned their children will fall behind with their studies, with more than half (51%) stating their children can’t access online learning, such as online videos to practice phonics or maths, as they won’t have the same access to computers they’d normally have at school.

Tackling digital exclusion

Dana Haidan, chief sustainability officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “As the summer holidays begin at such a financially challenging time for low income families, we know many parents are worried about keeping their children online and entertained over the break.

“That’s why we’re helping families stay connected with the National Databank where they can access 20GB of free O2 mobile data every month to help their kids stay in touch with their friends and up-to-date with their learning, supporting their mental health and wellbeing, too.”

Helen Milner, group chief executive at the Good Things Foundation, said: “Parents and families so many of whom are already struggling with day-to-day living shouldn’t be worrying about staying online over the school holidays.

“That’s why Good Things Foundation and Virgin Media O2’s National Databank is tackling digital exclusion through a combined offer of devices, data and digital skills support.

“With one in 20 UK households having no home internet access, collectively we all need to do more to help the most vulnerable people in our society connect with digital.”