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March 18, 2020

Keeping Us Connected Through COVID-19 .

Keeping Us Connected Through COVID-19

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Last updated: Saturday, April 11, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. ET

The wireless industry knows how critical it is to stay connected during this time. As all of our daily lives are significantly altered, we are all relying more on our wireless service to keep connected to loved ones, school, work and the news.

Thanks to substantial and ongoing efforts, wireless networks are performing well, and we are taking the steps needed to maintain operations, keep our customers connected, and our employees safe.

The wireless industry is stepping up by:

Preserving Service to Impacted Communities.

In close coordination with the FCC, the nation’s largest operators (AT&T, T-Mobile, Tracfone, U.S. Cellular and Verizon) committed to the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. The pledge ensures that for the next 60 days, consumers and small business that can’t pay their bills because of the pandemic will not be terminated or assessed late fees.

Expanding Capacity to Meet Your Needs.

We know you are relying on us now more than ever, and we are ready. The U.S. wireless industry invests over $20 billion each year to meet your needs, and we are working hard right now to increase network capacity and provide consumers with more mobile data. Operators have announced hundreds of millions in new investment and other innovative solutions, and the largest six operators are keeping public Wi-Fi hotspots open for unserved Americans.

  • T-Mobile will shift consumers on metered data plans to unlimited data plus 20GB of mobile hotspot data.
  • AT&T announced that for 60 days it will waive domestic wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers incurred because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Verizon announced that it will waive overage charges for residential and small business wireless customers whose economic circumstances have been impacted due to the coronavirus.
  • U.S. Cellular announced it is providing its Unlimited Everyday and Even Better Plan customers with an extra 15GB of hotspot data to adjust to shifting and varying work arrangements.
  • Boost Mobile will automatically provide customers currently on tiered plans with an additional 20GBs of data on their plans at no extra cost through April 30, 2020.
  • Cellcom has added an additional 5GB of high-speed data for unlimited data plans (smartphone, tablet and mobile broadband), an extra 20GB of high-speed data for 3G RBI plans and doubled data buckets for Advance Pay customers providing between 1-7 additional GB of data for use during the month of April.

Wireless providers are also expanding options and increasing mobile data for low-income consumers, including through their Lifeline partners and programs, during this period. And other members are contributing to the hardest hit communities in other ways.

  • TracFone will provide all of its SafeLink Lifeline customers with data capable phones an additional 5GB for use during the remainder of March and an additional 5GB of data for the month of April.
  • T-Mobile will expand Lifeline low-income access to 5GB per month, and in response to the crisis, it launched T-Mobile Connect launched ahead of schedule, offering consumers for unlimited talk and text plus 2GB high-speed smartphone data for $15 per month.
  • Samsung has given back to their workforce and the communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, donating $29 million worth of resources to help with relief efforts, including the purchase of medical supplies and hygiene kits.

We have also seen unprecedented efforts to put more spectrum in use to prepare for millions of Americans working and learning from home, and applaud the FCC for moving forward so quickly to help connect more consumers.

  • T-Mobile announced new 600 MHz roaming deals to expand capacity with DISH, Comcast and others.
  • U.S. Cellular gained access to AWS-3 spectrum to help meet increased customer demand for mobile broadband in parts of California, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  • Verizon gained access to AWS-3 spectrum to provide additional mobile broadband capacity.
  • AT&T announced new access to AWS-4 and 700 MHz spectrum to better serve consumers, including in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Keeping Kids Learning.

Millions of children are home and we want to ensure those kids can keep learning with wireless tools and great educational resources. The wireless industry is expanding existing industry-leading efforts to connected unserved and underserved communities.

  • AT&T announced that qualified schools activating new lines on qualified data-only plans for school-issued tablets, 4G LTE-enabled laptops and hotspot devices will get unlimited wireless data service at no cost for 60 days.
  • Verizon has tripled its monthly data allowance for Verizon Innovative Learning Tier 1 middle schools and has committed $10 million to nonprofits directed at supporting students and first responders.
  • The 1Million Project Foundation provides connections for high school students who lack critical home broadband. Data allotments will double to 20GB through June, onboarding another 100,000 new devices for unserved students has been accelerated.
  • Los Angeles Unified School District announced Verizon would be providing Internet connectivity for all students who don’t have it at home.
  • Intel pledged more than $50 million in a pandemic response technology initiative to combat the disease through accelerating access to technology at the point of patient care, speeding scientific research and ensuring access to online learning for students.
  • Ericsson partnered with the Vermont Telephone Company and Rutland City Public Schools to equip students in rural Vermont with access to free high-speed Internet and Google Chromebooks.
  • T-Mobile is increasing the data allowance to 20GB/month for free to schools and students using their EmpowerED digital learning programs.
  • AT&T is also underwriting an online resource for eLearning Days from the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). AT&T also announced a new $10 million Distance Learning and Family Connections fund, including contributions to Kahn Academy and funding 60 free days of the Caribu app.
  • Read more about how the wireless industry is committed to connecting America’s students.

Serving our Customers.

Wireless providers are keeping their websites up-to-date with information about modified store hours and the availability of in-person services and are working hard to make sure customer needs are met if retail locations are impacted.

Protecting You from Spam.

Scammers have taken advantage of the feeling of global uncertainty and are increasingly sending malicious emails, calls and texts about COVID-19. During this crisis, the wireless industry will continue to fight to protect consumers and their data from bad actors, and we encourage consumers to do the same. Whether via call, text, or email, do not give personal information to anyone you don’t know, and do not click on text or email links that seem suspicious. Visit the FCC and our resources for more information on how to stop illegal robocalls and texts, including how to verify a legitimate caller or report suspected spam to your carrier, and how to protect your data.

Making Safety a Priority.

Wireless providers are supporting our public safety officials and mitigating risks for employees through actions like implementing remote working when possible and providing additional paid time off for sickness or caregiving. AT&T and Verizon also announced increased pay and other enhancements for those employees on the front lines.

Nokia is helping supply critical protective equipment, like face shields, and donate supplies for medical staff around the world.

As of April 10, 2020, more than 150 Wireless Emergency Alerts have been issued to provide consumers with critical information related to COVID-19.

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The thousands of employees that make up the U.S. wireless industry are your neighbors, friends and family and we’re going through this pandemic right alongside you. We hope you and your loved ones stay healthy. We encourage you to review guidance from the CDC and World Health Organization for tips on how to stay safe.

These are just a handful of the key steps happening right now, and more is being done every day to better serve Americans.  For specific information from your provider, please visit:

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