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VODAFONE HAS TEAMED UP with the Foreign Office to trial an emergency text messaging service for Britons overseas.
Over the 12-month pilot, texts will be sent to Vodafone's customers whenever there has been a major crisis, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest.
The service, which will provide "essential advice in the event of a crisis", is free for anyone on Vodafone's network.
Foreign office minister Jeremy Browne said the decision to launch the trial had been prompted by recent events overseas. "The recent consular crises in Libya and Japan have demonstrated the need to deliver live travel safety messages to as many people as quickly as possible," he said.
"This new service is part of our vision to deliver better consular services more cost-effectively."
The Foreign Office hopes to roll out the service with other mobile networks in the future, said Browne. "We will soon have the ability to send text messages to all affected British nationals registered on our crisis database," he added.
"As well as this, we're also exploring delivering important information through a range of mobile and online tools, including smartphone apps, a travel advice site for mobile phones and making effective use of social media and digital tools."