Vodafone has announced a partnership with the Foreign Office to pilot a free SMS service that will deliver text messages to Vodafone customers abroad warning them of potential dangers.
The free service will give Vodafone customers who are in foreign countries where there has been a major crisis such as a natural disaster or civil conflict warnings about potential trouble.
Vodafone UK’s head of central government Jayne Rees said: ‘We’re pleased to be the first mobile network operator to partner with the Foreign Office to deliver this trial. We know how essential mobile phones are for keeping in touch with friends, family and colleagues, as well as being one of the things people won’t leave home without – whether they’re at home or abroad.
‘This new service is an innovative way to exploit the ubiquity of mobile phones and use existing mobile technology to support UK Nationals abroad and provide them with information when they need it the most. We look forward to supporting the Foreign Office with this and further initiatives.’
Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne said: ‘The pilot is part of the Foreign Office’s commitment to improve consular services. We will soon have the ability to send text messages to all affected British Nationals registered on our crisis database. As well as this we’re also exploring delivering important information through a range of mobile and online tools, including smartphone apps, a travel advice site for mobile phones and making effective use of social media and digital tools.’
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office also announced that it will not be replacing any existing services and information provided on its website, Facebook and Twitter channel.
The Foreign Office plans to pilot the crisis text service for a 12 month period.