Cisco has come forward to help those impacted by the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by offering free 90-day Webex licenses to businesses who are not Webex customers, Cisco announced on March 2.

The company has also enhanced its free Webex account offerings to help its existing customers meet their increasingly changing needs as they enable a significantly greater number of remote workers. The additional capabilities include no time restrictions (unlimited usage), toll dial-in option (in addition to the existing VoIP feature), and the ability to support up to 100 participants. 

“Effective immediately, we’ve expanded the capabilities on our free Webex offer in all countries where it is available, not only those impacted by COVID-19,” the company wrote in a blog post

Since the outbreak of the disease, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of people working remotely around the world. 

The traffic on the Webex backbone connecting China-based Webex users to their global workplaces has increased as much as 22 times due to global circumstances resulting from COVID-19, says Cisco.

During the same period, it also noted four to five times as many users in Singapore, South Korea and Japan, with the average time spent on Webex video meetings increasing twofold among users there. Moreover, the company said, free sign-ups in impacted countries are up seven times, on average, over pre-outbreak. 

The company’s free Webex offer and paid subscription option are available in the following countries:

Canada, Australia, Germany, France, New Zealand, Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Hong Kong, Belgium, Vietnam, Japan, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Sweden, Croatia, Malaysia, Latvia, Israel, Czech Republic, Norway, Malta, Denmark, Ireland, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Portugal, Italy, Gibraltar, Romania, Slovenia, Greece, Spain, Thailand, Netherlands, Hungary, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Ukraine, UAE (United Arab Emirates), United States, United Kingdom and South Africa. 

Free Webex offer is available in Brazil, Mexico, Macau, Indonesia and India; paid subscription can be availed by contacting sales.

Microsoft follows suit

On the heels of Cisco’s announcementMicrosoft announced March 3 that it’s making Microsoft Teams free for six months.

“At Microsoft, the health and safety of employees, customers, partners and communities is our top priority. By making Teams available to all for free for six months, we hope that we can support public health and safety by making remote work even easier,” Tweeted JP Courtois, Microsoft’s EVP and president, Microsoft global sales, marketing and operations.

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