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The new „SOS SMS“service: Vodafone helps people communicate in emergency situations

26. October 2006

With the new free “SOS SMS” service, Vodafone is offering all of its customers a way of getting through on the phone in emergency situations when they cannot make a call or send an SMS because outgoing calls are blocked, or they are out of credit. Any customer caught in an emergency situation can contact someone close to them by dialling the special code: *101*telephone number of the receiving party, without spaces#. The receiver will immediately get an SMS containing a pre-written text: Your acquaintance has sent you this SOS SMS from phone number 777888555. It is possible that they are in trouble and want to contact you. Please call them.

With the new free “SOS SMS” service, Vodafone is offering all of its customers a way of getting through on the phone in emergency situations when they cannot make a call or send an SMS because outgoing calls are blocked, or they are out of credit.

Any customer caught in an emergency situation can contact someone close to them by dialling the special code:
*101*telephone number of the receiving party, without spaces#.

The receiver will immediately get an SMS containing a pre-written text:
Your acquaintance has sent you this SOS SMS from phone number 777888555. It is possible that they are in trouble and want to contact you. Please call them. Have a nice day, Vodafone.

Every Vodafone customer with a tariff or a Vodafone Card can use the free service, which has been activated automatically for everybody, if they have: blocked outgoing calls and SMS message delivery, a prepaid card without any credit.

An "SOS SMS" can be sent to all networks in the Czech Republic. It is not possible to send it to foreign phone numbers, nor can one be sent from abroad when using roaming. The number of SOS SMS messages is not limited, but in cases of gratuitous abuse, the service can be blocked.

Families with children, who may find themselves in situations where they cannot call their parents (because they have exceeded their “FlexiStrop” limit, or have used up all their credit), will especially value the new service. Although the code is not complicated, it is advisable for parents to enter it into the address books of their children’s mobile phones (e.g. Mom SOS SMS).

According to a survey, “assistance in emergency or crisis situations” (orientation in an unknown environment, a health problem, a problem with one’s car) is the second most important advantage of having a mobile phone, immediately after “last-minute changes”. Respondents said that the third most important benefit of having a mobile is “psychological assistance” in personal crises, i.e. in cases of depression, loneliness, or break-ups.

In order to help others in crisis situations, Vodafone is also taking part in the development of the world’s first GPS navigation system for the blind. This project originated in a research and development centre in 2005 (Vodafone, Ericsson, ČVUT).

The Vodafone Foundation is sponsoring the implementation of this system in practice, as well as the development of a navigational call centre for the blind.

Example:

You want to send an SOS SMS to your friend, whose phone number is 608 011 552, from your mobile phone (e.g. 777 888 555).

  1. Dial the special code *101*608011552# (as if you were calling this number).
  2. The receiver will immediately get an SMS containing a pre-written text:
    Your acquaintance has sent you this SOS SMS from phone number 777888555. It is possible that they are in trouble and want you to call. Please give them a ring. Have a nice day, Vodafone.
  3. Then wait until the person who received the SOS SMS calls.