Last week, Japan went through a great tragedy, experiencing an 8.9 magnitude earthquake which triggered devastating tsunamis. In order to support those of us that may have loved ones in Japan, some U.S. carriers have been offering free communication to the afflicted country. AT&T has announced that its customers will be able to make calls and send texts to Japan for all of March, beginning on the 11th. Verizon, too, is allowing its users to send calls and texts to Japan free of charge through April 10th.
The earthquake that hit Japan last week was one of the biggest that the country has ever seen, and its great to see some of our carriers doing what they can to help their subscribers connect with friends and family. There's been no word on whether or not other carriers will be offering free services to Japan, but we'll keep you updated on the situation.
UPDATE: Sprint and T-Mobile have chimed in, explaining that they'll be waiving the charges that would normally be incurred by texting donations to charities (ex: texting “REDCROSS to “90999” to donate $10 to the Red Cross). As of this writing, neither carrier is offering free calling or texting to Japan.
UPDATE 2: Now Sprint has confirmed that it'll be waiving fees associated with sending calls and texts to Japan, as well.
UPDATE 3: And now MetroPCS will also be offering free calling and texting to its users for the next 30 days.
Verizon Makes Calls Free to Japan from March 11 to April 10
Verizon Wireless Customers Can Text to Japan for Free
NEW YORK, March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- To help its customers contact loved ones in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami, Verizon is making calls to Japan free for most wireless and residential customers through April 10.
All Verizon Wireless post-paid customers will receive free calling to Japan from March 11 through April 10. Post-paid customers are those who receive a monthly bill from the company. In addition, Verizon Wireless post-paid customers in the U.S. will receive free text and multimedia messaging to Japan for the same time period.
Verizon Wireless has also made it easy for customers to text donations to a host of non-profit organizations responding to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Customers can easily make a $10 donation by simply sending a text message and may choose from 10 organizations aiding those in need in Japan.
All calls made from a Verizon residential landline to Japan will be rated at $0.00 per minute, from March 11 through April 10. Customers with Verizon World Plan (300, 500 or unlimited minutes of long-distance calling) can call Japan without using any minutes from their time-allotment blocks.
Additionally, Verizon Prepaid Phone Card charges for all long-distance calls placed to Japan from the United States will also be waived from March 11 until April 10.
The company is also providing FiOS TV customers who are not subscribed to the channel free access to TV Japan through March 17. The channel location is 1770.
* Only long-distance usage charges associated with calls made from residential landlines terminating to wireline or wireless destinations in Japan will be waived from Mar. 11 – April 10. All other fees including taxes, surcharges, monthly recurring charges (MRCs), minimum spend levels (MSLs), monthly minimum charges (MMCs), etc will continue to apply. Post-paid calling card charges to Japan will also be waived.
** If long distance calling fees were charged, credits will be issued in a future bill statement.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 94.1 million customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 194,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion. For more information, visit verizon.com/news.
Sprint Supports the Relief Efforts in Japan with Waiver of Text-Message Fees for Mobile Donations
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), March 11, 2011 - In the wake of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan earlier today, Sprint (NYSE: S) is waiving text-message fees for Sprint customers who send mobile donations to a number of short codes and organizations participating in the relief and recovery efforts.
Currently, Sprint text messages sent to and from the following short codes will not be charged standard text-messaging fees:
Text “REDCROSS to “90999” to donate $10 on behalf of the American Red Cross.
Text “TSUNAMI to “50555” to donate $10 on behalf of Convoy of Hope, Inc.
Text “WAVE” to “50555” to donate $10 on behalf of the World Relief Corp. of National Association of Evangelicals.
Text "JAPAN" or "QUAKE" to 80888 to donate $10 on behalf of The Salvation Army.
“Sprint extends a heartfelt condolence to the people of Japan affected by today’s tragic events,” said Ralph Reid, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Sprint. “It is Sprint’s hope that this support of the relief efforts following today’s earthquake will encourage our customers to give willingly and to where it is needed the most.”
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 49.9 million customers at the end of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.