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By John Glenday, Reporter

November 28, 2022 | 2 min read

Virgin Media O2 is handing out free SIM cards and data vouchers to vendors at The Big Issue this Christmas.

The initiative is a significant extension of a similar push last year in which free data plans were given to 200 vendors, supporting contactless payments in response to a broader shift away from cash, with 52% of magazine sales now conducted via contactless.

This is reflected in statistics showing that nine in every 10 in-person transactions are conduced contactlessly in the UK, meaning vendors with contactless capacity make an average of 30% more than their cash-only peers.

The early present was brokered by Havas Entertainment’s specialist content and partnership division Jump, and sees O2 integrated in advertorial, social, newsletter, display and PR through The Big Issue.

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Terri Squibb, head of partnerships at Jump, part of Havas Entertainment, said: “This is truly a story where media is a force for good in the world. We’re evolving the storytelling into richer content, utilizing the UK’s best experts in homelessness, The Big Issue, to help narrate it. Following the success of the first year, we’re keen to reach more vendors this year through the partnership to ensure O2’s package of support makes an even more meaningful difference.”

Gareth Turpin, chief commercial officer at Virgin Media O2, added: “This year we wanted our Christmas campaign to not only help raise awareness of the support available via the National Databank, but to get data into the hands of those facing an unconnected Christmas.”

The National Databank was established by Virgin Media O2 to assist the digitally excluded.

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