Coronavirus has most of us working from home and social distancing has become the new normal. In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended not holding any events or group gatherings of 50 people or more across the country.
In response to the ongoing pandemic, US cellular carriers are also stepping up to help their customers.
All American carriers are waiving off late fees for bill payments and promising uninterrupted connectivity to their customers. The move comes as a response to the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge launched last week by FCC chairman Ajit Pai. The pledge dated March 13 requests carriers to commit to the following three promises for the next 60 days:
- Don’t terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their
inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their
economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Open Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.
Almost every major US-based broadband and telecom company has signed the pledge. Here’s where major carriers stand:
In line with the FCC chairman’s pledge, AT&T has promised not to terminate the service of any wireless, home phone, broadband residential, and small business customers. It will also not charge a late fee for the next 60 days and keep its public Wi-Fi hotspots open.
Additionally, all AT&T home internet wireline and fixed wireless internet customers can now use unlimited internet data. The company will also continue offering internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through its Access From AT&T program.
On its Covid-19 response page, AT&T also highlights that all its stores are open for now.
First of all, T-Mobile customers should note that the carrier has closed down all its stores inside shopping malls effective March 15. There’s no word on when these stores will reopen for business.
Responding to the FCC pledge, T-Mobile has removed data caps for its customers. All current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers can now enjoy unlimited smartphone data for 60 days (excluding roaming).
Also, the telco will soon offer 20GB of free mobile hotspot service for the next 60 days.
Besides this, subscribers who need to call their families internationally can place free calls to Level-3 impacted countries determined by the CDC.
For more details, you can head to T-Mobile’s coronavirus response page for customers here.
Verizon has also committed to the aforementioned promises in the FCC pledge for 60 days starting March 13. The company said in a statement that most of its wireless customers are on unlimited plans and those who aren’t are encouraged to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots.
Verizon also noted that it hasn’t seen any measurable increase in data usage on any of its networks.
Meanwhile, if you find some Verizon stores closed, that’s because the carrier has decided to shut them down for some time. However, all phone and online customer support channels will remain open for now.
Sprint has announced that starting March 17, customers with international long distance calling plans will receive complimentary international calling rates from the US to countries defined by the CDC as Level 3.
Starting March 19, Sprint customers with metered data plans will receive unlimited data per month for 60 days at no extra cost. The carrier will also provide customers with an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot data per month for 60 days.
US Cellular has also signed the Keep Americans Connected pledge. However, it has not revealed any details about waiving off data limits or providing free international calling to customers. You can access US Cellular’s Covid-19 response page here.
So those were all the new policies and offers announced by US carriers to make life easier during the coronavirus shut-in. What do you think of these initiatives? Do you feel carriers need to do more? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.