As part of their efforts to maintain communications amid the catastrophic war in Ukraine, the country’s three largest mobile operators Kyivstar, Vodafone Ukraine and Lifecell have activated a free roaming service between their respective networks. In the event of a user’s mobile network signal being unavailable, the operators are advising people to try selecting one of the other two networks. The roaming connection requires the user to disable auto network selection on their phone before selecting another provider, with advice to try all networks in the case of failure to register and, if this fails, to restart the device before reattempting connection. Users are also asked to attempt to return to their usual network once per day (manually or via auto network selection).
Roaming is initially operating in the regions of Kharkiv, Kherson, Sumy, Poltava, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kirovohrad and Mykolaiv, but is expected to be expanded to a full national service. As reported by the Ukrainian News Agency, Vodafone Ukraine’s press secretary Viktoriya Pavlovska stated: ‘We united and launch national roaming. You can switch to the network of other Ukrainian operators if your own network is temporarily unavailable. It will be possible to make calls and send SMS … We are launching gradually, we look at how it works. We start from the war zone, then the geography of the service will expand throughout Ukraine.’ Monthly contract subscribers were given access to the service from Monday, with roaming activation for pre-paid users expected ‘within three days’, Interfax-Ukraine reported.
Among recent reports of network damage and disconnection, Kyivstar and Vodafone Ukraine services were reportedly disconnected in the city of Kherson, occupied by the Russian army.