Deutsche Telekom wants to make it easier for people with disabilities to have access to the knowledge and information society.
Services for the hearing impaired
We set up a hotline (Deaf Hotline) for deaf and hearing-impaired customers in 2003. Up to 50 people currently call the hotline every day to get help with connections to their DSL routers, to find out more about special cell phone rate plans or to make an appointment with a technician. The employees of the Deaf Hotline are equipped with live consultant workplaces that have HD cameras, among other things. Customers and live consultants can see each other using a video-based live chat application and can communicate with each other in sign language.
For deaf customers and members of the German association for the deaf, Deutscher Gehörlosen-Bund e.V., we operate a special online distribution site. There we offer a discounted mobile communications and fixed-line portfolio that is tailored to the exact needs of deaf people. Customers can order their desired plans directly on the website, can contact the employees of the Deaf Hotline or be forwarded to the information exchange platform Deaf-Café in the Telekom Hilft community. The Deaf-Café provides a safe space to discuss or clarify questions about Telekom offerings together with other deaf people in groups and forums.
In addition, all of our fixed-line Entertain products, including on HD stations, have featured subtitles since 2018. They thus give hearing-impaired customers barrier-free access.
Since the summer of 2018, hearing-impaired people in Germany have had access to a 24-hour emergency call service with sign language interpreters through the Tess/Telesign interpreter relay service for emergency situations. Accessibility and trouble-free transmission of this service are now possible thanks to sufficient data volumes in the mobile phone contracts and adequate network coverage. Tess/Telesign is jointly financed by the mandatory social security contribution paid by Deutsche Telekom to Germany’s Federal Network Agency.
Engagement for hearing impaired people in Slovakia
About 1% of the population in Slovakia is hearing impaired, and Slovak Telekom is very active in developing comprehensive programs and activities to support them in ordinary everyday living situations. We also help families with hearing-impaired children to master their everyday lives. Another aim is to raise public awareness about the challenges they face.
As a carrier, we provide significant support for the hearing impaired and offer them an advantageous plan and a mobile data package. In 2018, Telekom updated its special mobile plan for hearing-impaired people that includes unlimited SMS and up to 8GB of mobile data at a price of € 12 per month. In addition, Telekom offers hearing-impaired people a preferential Mobile Internet L Plan with 15 GB of data for € 0.99 per month. This represents a discount of more than 95 percent.
Navigation stick for visually impaired people in Czech Republic
As a socially responsible company, T-Mobile Czech Republic aims to support visually impaired people. We have been cooperating with the Czech Technical University to develop a unique navigation solution for the blind. Connecting global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and wireless data transfer networks has created one of the most advanced orientation solutions for visually impaired people. T-Mobile Czech Republic has supported the development of this navigation solution by providing connectivity in 3G and 4G, data SIM cards and modems. The newly developed navigation stick for blind people is connected to the navigation center. Based on a 2G-4G app, the service enables navigation data, voice communication, and images to be transferred. Formerly, the stick was connected to the smart phone but now the communication interface, camera and mobile phone are installed directly in the stick. Camera is utilized for orientation in buildings where GNSS does not work. A testing phase was completed in 2017 and pilot operation was running in 2018. After a redesign and various improvements, a prototype of a new-generation stick has been completed. The final product has to be certified by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs as a special aid tool in order to offer it to the visually impaired people for free. The production should be launched in Q3 this year. The supplier will be Svarovsky Ltd., the largest manufacturer of sticks for visually impaired people in the EU.