AT&T, Verizon Offering Free Calls to Japan

By Michelle Amodio March 16, 2011

There is nothing more unsettling in a time of crisis than trying to get a hold of your loved ones, particularly when there is a great distance between everyone. In the wake of Japan’s disastrous earthquake last Friday, many companies have stepped up technology-wise so that people can easily donate their time, efforts and money to helping rebuild Japan and to also get in touch with people who are affected.

The two largest wireless giants, AT&T and Verizon Wireless have started programs offering free calls to Japan for a limited time so that friends and families can connect without having to worry about how much it’s going to cost them in the long distance category.

Verizon and Verizon Wireless are allowing customers to make calls to Japan free of charge through April 10. All calls made from a Verizon residential landline to Japan will be rated at $0.00 per minute. 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.

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.

Effective beginning last week, March 11, and continuing through March 31, AT&T wireless postpaid customers will not be charged for international long distance usage from the United States and Puerto Rico to Japan nor will they be charges for text messages to Japan.

“We want to help our customers connect with loved ones in Japan in any way we can,” said Mark Collins, senior vice president, Voice and Data Products, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets in a press release. “Connecting with family and friends is most important at times like this— we want to make it as easy and worry free as possible for our customers.”

Companies and networks like Twitter, Facebook, Verizon iTunes also have partnered with non-profit organizations to give people high-tech ways to contribute to the cause with the click of a button or the text of a mobile phone.

Using your mobile phone, The Mobile Giving Foundation announced several different ways users can text their way to donating. Textophiles can text “JAPAN" or "TSUNAMI" to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of Save the Children Federation, Inc.; text "4JAPAN"or "4TSUNAMI" to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of World Vision, Inc.; or text "MERCY" to 25283 to donate $10 on behalf of Mercy Corps.

Michelle Amodio is a TechZone360 contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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