O2 launches ‘Phone Retriever’ to fight digital exclusion


O2 in partnership with charity Hubbub has launched its ‘Phone Retriever’ service to encourage the public to rehome their old smartphones and fight digital exclusion this Christmas.

As part of O2’s ‘Rehome Your Phone’ campaign, golden retrievers and social media stars Hugo and Huxley will act as Santa’s little helpers by collecting devices in Greenwich and donating them to the ‘Rehome Your Phone’ Community Calling pop-up at Icon Outlet at The O2.

Those who live in postcodes SE3, SE7 and SE10 can book the service for Saturday 18 December via Eventbrite. There are a select number of collection slots available to book between the hours of 10:00-15:00. Bookings open from 9am on Monday 13 December, 2021.

People can also donate their unused smartphones in person at the ‘Rehome Your Phone’ pop-up at Icon Outlet at The O2, which is running from 10-24 December, or they can send them to Community Calling via freepost. Once received, the phone is data-wiped and sanitised to help ensure that all personal data is removed before the phone is regifted to someone who needs it.

The initiative provides smartphones to those who need it, along with free mobile data via the National Databank – created by Virgin Media O2 with charity, Good Things Foundation, to tackle data poverty.

Says Nicola Green from Virgin Media O2:

“We know how important it is for people to be able to get online and stay in touch with everyone they love – especially over Christmas.

“That’s why we’re asking people to rehome their old smartphones through our Community Calling scheme, so they can be gifted to someone in need, along with free mobile data from our National Databank. Rehoming your phone is also the greener option, keeping your tech out of landfill and helping avoid unnecessary e-waste.”

There are around 1.5 million homes nationwide currently without internet access according to Ofcom data (April 2021) – Digital divide narrowed by pandemic, but around 1.5m homes remain offline – Ofcom.


Chris Price
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