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AT&T waives voice, data and text overage fees for Oklahoma tornado victims

post #1 of 21
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In response to the devastating tornado that hit Okalhoma City on Monday, U.S. wireless carrier AT&T announced it will be waiving all overage charges for those affected through June 30.

Tornado
Remains of Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla. | Source: Nick Oxford for The New York Times


On Monday afternoon local time, Oklahoma City saw a massive tornado system rip through parts of the city and surrounding areas, leaving flattened buildings and at least 91 fatalities in its wake. The New York Times, as well as other media outlets, say the storm system was one mile wide.

Hours later, AT&T announced it would be supporting efforts by waiving voice, data and text overage charges through the end of June for affected areas.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the tornado that hit the Oklahoma City area Monday," said Bryan Gonterman, state president for AT&T Oklahoma. "We are coordinating with local authorities and bringing in additional resources."

Due to expectedly high call volumes, Gonterman recommended that those trying to reach friends and family in the region use text messaging instead of voice communications.

AT&T also reminded customers that they can contribute $10 to Red Cross humanitarian efforts by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999. The donation will be charged as part of a user's monthly bill.
post #2 of 21
To gwmac: Sarcasm is inappropriate. They didn't have to and while others may do so, this is the only telecom to do so as far as I know.

The situation is tragic enough w/o someone being snide.
post #3 of 21

I wish them luck in finding the trapped and suffering. It is terrible. I'm sure any help will be greatfully recieved.

post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by macaholic_1948 View Post

To gwmac: Sarcasm is inappropriate. They didn't have to and while others may do so, this is the only telecom to do so as far as I know.

The situation is tragic enough w/o someone being snide.

 

I think he was hinting that they should have just waived all charges until June 30th, meaning free phone/data usage until June 30th which would help them greatly given the fact that not only did they lose everything, possibly a lot financially as well. 

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post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by macaholic_1948 View Post

To gwmac: Sarcasm is inappropriate. They didn't have to and while others may do so, this is the only telecom to do so as far as I know.

The situation is tragic enough w/o someone being snide.

I'm not sure they were being snide.  I understand how you might interpret it that way, but I think intent might not have been there as well....  But if it was, yeah, that's uncalled for.  We're only supposed to rip Google and Samscum. LOL

 

Anyway, tornados can be nasty, I hope they don't have any other loses, 51 is too much.

 

I went to a friend's house many years ago that lived in the outskirts of Chicago during May, which I had no idea it was tornado season and the first night I was there, they had tornado warnings on the TV for the county my friend lived in.


I was SCARED out of my mind. It was pouring rain and lightening that was INTENSE.  I didn't sleep a wink that night. Luckily nothing happened.  So, I can relate.

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

How generous of them to waive some overage charges. /s
 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

 

I think he was hinting that they should have just waived all charges until June 30th, meaning free phone/data usage until June 30th which would help them greatly given the fact that not only did they lose everything, possibly a lot financially as well. 

 


I have to say I agree. I think it looks great for AT&T in the headlines, but it really seems like an empty gift. "While you are going through this horrible tragedy, we are still going to charge you, but we will stop short of charging you excessively." It really just seems like a publicity grab.

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post #7 of 21
Thanks to AT&T for being considerate of the situation in Oklahoma and waving the overage charges. They did what they could do as fast as they could.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I think he was hinting that they should have just waived all charges until June 30th, meaning free phone/data usage until June 30th which would help them greatly given the fact that not only did they lose everything, possibly a lot financially as well. 

You should have worded it differently. On top of waiving overages they should also waive late fees and penalties for late payments.
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post #9 of 21

All of our prayers and thoughts go to all of the victims and families. Such a horrible tragedy.....

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post #10 of 21

$5 says the reason AT&T is doing this is because they probably lost cell infrastructure in the area and what's left running is bogged down beyond being useful anyway, since EMS use always gets first priority. I doubt anyone in that area could get decent connectivity even if they wanted to. It's an empty gesture.


Edited by tikiman - 5/21/13 at 5:56am
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tikiman View Post

$5 says the reason AT&T is doing this is because they probably lost cell infrastructure in the area and what's left running is bogged down beyond being useful anyway, since EMS use always gets first priority. I doubt anyone in that area could get decent connectivity even if they wanted to. It's an empty gesture.

Do EMS communications even use the same infrastructure?
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Do EMS communications even use the same infrastructure?

 

I would think that EMS communications would be over the radio channels set aside for emergency medical service.

 

Cell phones are a different situation:

 

While a cell phone will use any compatible network for a 911 call that it can find, a 911 call does not have any priority getting an empty cell slot. (There was a push to change this, but I don't think it has been implemented yet.)
 
The only cellular calls that have connection priority are those from phones registered with the national Wireless Priority Service... typically belonging to emergency officials... and even those cannot bump anyone already using a connection; but are just put in the front of the queue for the next free slot.
 
That's why it's so important for people to not use their cell phones unnecessarily... even for texting... during an emergency, so 911 and official calls can go through.  
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

How generous of them to waive some overage charges. /s
 

They have offered similar things in prior disasters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nukejohnson View Post

What a POS company ATT is - they should provide free service NOW.  I wish a real GSM cell company would spring up somewhere.


You really set up an account to write that?

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by nukejohnson View Post

What a POS company ATT is - they should provide free service NOW.  I wish a real GSM cell company would spring up somewhere.

Do you get to be the one that decides what is real and what isn't?
post #15 of 21
If I was AT&T, I'd have given them a whole month free... that devastated community has a lot to rebuild.
Just horrible...
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

How generous of them to waive some overage charges. /s

Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I think he was hinting that they should have just waived all charges until June 30th, meaning free phone/data usage until June 30th which would help them greatly given the fact that not only did they lose everything, possibly a lot financially as well. 
He is responsible for how he worded it. If that is what he meant, and he wrote it so poorly as to be misinterpreted, that is on him.

To everyone else sniping at AT&T, two questions:

1. What other cell companies have done the same?

2. Get better priorities. The dead and injuries and the lives of the survivors of this and other tragedies deserve better than your remarks attacking a company for its efforts to help. (And if you want to say they could do more, you don't know they aren't. It's pretty much the same thing for you. I don't know you aren't doing something positive to help.)
post #17 of 21

I see the publicity as merely telling affected people know they shouldn't worry about the bill, just find out how your loved ones are coping in the aftermath, do and use what you can to help the situation.

 

Hopefully AT&T are too busy deploying these portable cell phone towers to waste time responding to cynical armchair gripers who probably aren't doing anything to help.

 

AT&T Remote Mobility Zone Aids Critical Communications in Emergency and Disaster Situations

 

 

CNN Money: Getting cell phones to work in a disaster

 

Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

How generous of them to waive some overage charges.
Originally Posted by techno View Post  but it really seems like an empty gift.  It really just seems like a publicity grab
Originally Posted by tikiman View Post

$5 says the reason AT&T is doing this is because they probably lost cell infrastructure in the area and what's left running is bogged down beyond being useful anyway, since EMS use always gets first priority. I doubt anyone in that area could get decent connectivity even if they wanted to. It's an empty gesture.

Originally Posted by nukejohnson View Post
What a POS company ATT is - they should provide free service NOW.  I wish a real GSM cell company would spring up somewhere.
post #18 of 21
How's the service out there? I hope their communication capabilities are back in force. That needs to be priority one for all the cell providers. Make sure those people can communicate.
post #19 of 21
I want free iPhone 5 with 24 months free tariff .
post #20 of 21
Well good AT&T is lowering there stresses, hope no more tornadoes tonight.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by macaholic_1948 View Post


To everyone else sniping at AT&T, two questions:

1. What other cell companies have done the same?
 

Not all companies have overages to start with. Sprint already has unlimited Data, and T-mobile has unlimited everything already so there would be no overages with them.  Some people just feel it's a ploy of AT&T to earn status points when the situation at hand is horrific.  On the other hand it would be a relief to know you don't have to watch your minutes if you have a company (Like AT&T, Verizon, etc..) who normally charges overages.  This could be a way to get the word out to those affected so they don't have to worry about something so frivolous as cell phone minute usage.


Edited by webraider - 5/23/13 at 12:45am
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