The arrival of the smartphone was welcomed by the deaf and hard of hearing community as a valuable communication tool, making texting easier; also, access to social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook opened up a new way to interact with friends and family.
Unfortunately, almost all phone plans include a non-optional voice-call component – something a deaf person would find no use for in day-to-day communication.
While many people who are deaf and hard of hearing have negotiated directly with telcos to help construct a phone plan to satisfy their specific requirements, the process remains complex, with an outcome where the deaf consumer often still ends up paying for some mobile voice services that never get used.
In an effort to provide real help, Deaf Australia teamed up with not-for-profit telco Jeenee Mobile to launch its deaf-friendly mobile plan. The plan provides access to a simple, affordable, no-contract text and data solution without unnecessary voice calls bundled in.
Text and browse
Jeenee Mobile is a disability social enterprise, operating on the Optus 4G network; its plans are available to all mobile users, although the company focuses on plans and solutions for those requiring additional assistance in dealing with technology.
The plan from Jeenee Mobile offers unlimited text and MMS to any mobile phone on any carrier across Australia plus 100MB of data for $15 per month. While The 100MB data allocation may seem small, this would allow for a significant time browsing online and posting to social network, as long as there is no video and minimum use of photo images. If the customer wanted to watch more videos or download digital content, additional data blocks of 1GB ($12) or 2.5GB ($20) can be added.
"Jeenee Mobile aims to provide a complete service that makes mobile as accessible and inclusive as possible for every Australian," says Jeenee's general manager, Jeremy Way. "As a not-for-profit telco, we pride ourselves on doing the things that the other telcos either can't, don't or won't do."
As part of the partnership with Jeenee Mobile, Deaf Australia will receive a donation for any connection to Jeenee Mobile when 'DeafAus' is quoted in the application. Subscribers also receive free setup and postage of their SIM card.