Many Cell Phone Customers Will Get Break on Bills Due to Hurricane Sandy

By Ed Silverstein November 13, 2012

Many customers who use Verizon or AT&T cell phone service and live in portions of New York and New Jersey will get a break on their bills because of Hurricane Sandy.

Select Verizon customers will see the company waive charges related to U.S. voice and text messages made between Oct. 29 and Nov. 16, according to NBC News. Verizon customers, however, will still have to pay monthly access charges, CNET said.

In addition, AT&T will not ask select customers to pay for voice and text overage charges.

"AT&T will also extend the late-payment window for wireless customers who are behind and waive late payment fees," NBC News quoted an AT&T spokesman.

AT&T's decision affects bills sent to customers in parts of New York, New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut, the source said.

Verizon identified the affected areas where customers may get a break on their bills as: New Jersey counties Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.

New York counties, in addition to New York City, are Nassau, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester.

Many Sprint customers will also get a waiver because of the storm for “late fees, overage charges, roaming and call forwarding fees, between Oct. 29 and Nov. 28, and a renewal extension for prepaid services,” according to a statement by the company made to NBC News.

Affected areas include parts of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, NBC reported.

Also, some prepaid customers on Boost Mobile Monthly Unlimited, Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk and payLo by Virgin Mobile Unlimited Talk and Text plans will get “extended service if they are at risk of not making their payment due date. Boost Mobile Pay As You Go and payLo customers will receive a $10 account credit,” NBC quoted a company statement.

In a related matter, AT&T and T-Mobile are still allowing subscribers to have the option to use either of the two networks. AT&T and T-Mobile both use GSM and UMTS standards.

It is believed that cell phone users are almost all back to normal when it comes to service interruptions due to Hurricane Sandy. For example, according to CNET, Verizon restored service to 99 percent of the East Coast.

In the long term, there could be a more sympathetic attitude to new government regulations or voluntary measures by telecom companies as they prepare for future emergencies, TechZone360 reported.

Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Contributor

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