Florence aftermath: Cell phone carriers offer help, free services

ByLenaé Frazier via WTVD logo
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

AT&T said Wednesday that it is deploying satellite COLTs, COWS (cell tower on wheels) and assistance in the field as quickly and safely as conditions allow to help those affected by Hurricane Florence.

Downloading the ABC11 app is the best way to stay up-to-date on the latest conditions from Hurricane Florence.

In addition to the efforts in coastal areas, AT&T has charging stations at various shelters throughout the state, including at the Friday Center on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. A truck is on site and is equipped with 60 charging lockers where customers can leave their phone charging securely. AT&T is also delivering water, T-Shirts, DirecTV entertainment, and Internet access at other locations throughout the state.

Also Wednesday, Verizon said its engineers have been working 24x7 using planes, boats, and trucks to access network facilities and ensure communications in the Carolinas remains reliable for residents and first responders. The network has about 99 percent in service.

Verizon volunteers are staffing charging stations at the American Red Cross mega-shelters in Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem.

Verizon said Big Red, a big rig equipped with connectivity and 24 mobile workstations, is headed to the New Hanover Base Camp in Wilmington to support the recovery efforts being managed from that location.

All but two Verizon stores in the affected areas are open for business. Residents are invited to come in and charge their devices, regardless of their wireless provider. The Whiteville and Mayfair/Wilmington locations experienced damage from the storm and will be reopened as soon as it's safe to do so.

As the effects of Florence continue to be felt across the Carolinas, customers affected will get free calling, texting and data services from major cell phone carriers.

Verizon Wireless has extended its data relief offer for unlimited domestic Talk, Text & Data to postpaid and prepaid customers through September 25.

AT&T will issue credits and waive additional charges to provide unlimited talk, text, and data access from Sep. 11 - 25.

T-Mobile is extending its offer to those not already on an unlimited plan.

Sprint will waive call, text and data overage fees starting Sep. 12 through Sep. 25.

Cricket Wireless, which is owned by AT&T, will extend payment due dates for people who can't make it to a store between Sep. 14 and 17.

Hurricane Florence: How you can help the victims