Hurricane Harvey touched land last week, and the aftermath has left thousands of people homeless, stranded, and out of contact from rescue teams and loved ones. As a result, the four most prominent wireless carriers have decided to lend a helping hand to the people of Houston, Texas and the surrounding areas. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have each offered their own variations of free service for customers in the affected area.
As of Monday, about 95% of cell towers near Rockport, Texas were out of service. In fact, there are about 7,800 operating cell sites near the Houston region that was hit by Harvey; however, around 4%, or 320 sites, have been down since the storm hit. Although the counties that were hit hardest have been evacuated, individuals forced to leave their homes do not have access to Wi-Fi and other aspects of wireless service needed to stay safe, informed, and in contact with loved ones.
It was estimated that about 148,000 people in the path of the hurricane were left without cable, power, or cell service. Every major cell tower is backed up with a fully operational generator, so most locations have not suffered as much as others; however, it is unclear how much damage the towers have sustained, so the carriers are making up for it.
AT&T has vowed that their cellular sites are performing exceptional in the affected areas; however, they are offering credits for additional voice, text, and data usage through September 1st for people in the tragedy-stricken portion of Texas.
Verizon, the number one cell provider in the United States, is offering free service to members in the hurricane zone until September 8th, as well as an additional 3GB of data.
Sprint, along with sub-providers Boost and Virgin Mobile, has waived all call and text fees until September 1st for customers in the Texas and Louisiana areas affected by the storm.
Finally, T-Mobile and MetroPCS have offered free call and text for customers in the area until September 1st.