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AT&T and T-Mobile Sharing Network Bandwith to Help After Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy might finally be clearing up, but the destruction left in her wake is just now starting to be assessed. Millions are without power at this moment and everyone is trying to check to make sure their loved ones are OK. Sandy didn’t ease up on our precious cell towers, so to shoulder the load of all those calls, AT&T and T-Mobile have announced that they are partnering up to help the people affected in the New York and New Jersey area.

T-Mo and AT&T have reached an agreement to allow customers from the other network to roam on theirs without interruption. If you place a call, your phone will connect to whichever network is working better in that area, be it AT&T or T-Mobile. It’s a little bit of good faith on both the networks’ parts to help people that are recovering from the Hurricane. It also might be a little bit of a nod to the FCC letting them know that these two networks can work well enough together, maybe even well enough to merge.

AT&T and T-Mobile Open Networks to Customers of Both Carriers in New York and New Jersey

DALLAS & BELLEVUE, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In the wake of destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, AT&T and T-Mobile are taking extraordinary measures to make sure our customers can stay in touch.

AT&T and T-Mobile have entered into an agreement to enable roaming on their networks to customers of both companies in the heavily impacted areas and where capacity is available and for subscribers with a compatible device.

AT&T and T-Mobile customers will be able to place calls just as they normally would, but their calls will be carried by whichever network is most operational in their area. This will be seamless for AT&T and T-Mobile customers with no change to their current rate plans or service agreements even if the phone indicates the device is attached to the other carrier’s network.

T-Mobile and AT&T both utilize network technology based on GSM and UMTS standards, which allows for this sharing of voice and data traffic.

Via: Engadget

  • Funny how we’re not talking about Verizon not working? I live along the new jersey shore and have a VZW, I never had a problem no how bad the storm was. Not so for AT&T, which my girlfriend has, she lost service in the middle of the storm, and for an entire 24hours after that. Completely unacceptable. My underatanding is that VZW has generators attached to their systems for redundancy, even at the towers. I even saw AT&T branded generators traveling the parkway as service was being restored. I never had any desire to switch to AT&T before this, and after this never will.

  • Tom Z

    I’m sure Verizon already has the COWS deployed to the areas with diminished coverage.

  • Droid Burgundy

    Hrmm why can’t they just do this all the time then 😮

  • Maybe if they forget to turn this off it would actually be good for them. Then they’d both actually have coverage across NJ, where both of them have historically sucked.

  • MB


  • fteenz

    So only people in NY and NJ get this?

  • Capt. Crunch

    Try as they might the FCC still won’t let them merge

  • Hurricane Sandy was really bad for the Jersey area but what is bad is the fact that it was only a Category 1 hurricane! It just shows how un-prepared the northern coast is when it comes to major storm systems. If that storm would have been like anything I have experienced in southern Florida I think the entire area would have been demolished right off the map!

    • Jarred Sutherland

      Apparently the pumps MTA uses to remove water from their network were purchased second hand after the construction of the Panama canal .. in 1914. No kidding. Talk about not being prepared AT ALL.

    • MikeCiggy

      No one cares about what category the storm was. Have some compassion instead of being high and mighty because you could have handled what the weather channel is calling a “superstorm” better than us.

      • I wasn’t trying to be rude or hurtful towards the people impacted but I was just trying to point out something that many people may overlook (the fact that this was in retrospect a low level storm compared to other major storm systems that have moved through in the past decade or so). Living in Florida I understand the level of impact a hurricane can make (especially the higher category ones) and I hope all the best to the Northerners impacted by the storm and I also hope that this serves as a wake up call to the entire Eastern coast that hurricane season isn’t just for people who live in the southern coastal states (Florida, Louisiana, Texas, etc).

  • It’s nice to see that in times of tragedy major corporations can show a human side. Would be nice to see Verizon and Sprint do something to help out the needy up there.

    • Diablo81588

      Pretty sure Verizon and sprint phones operate on different frequencies and are incompatible with each other.

      • That’s not completely true. Yes, sprint iDen phones are SOL on Verizon, but the Sprint CDMA phones can access voice, 1x, and EVDO (depends on what radios are in the phone. Conversely, Verizon phones are a no go on iden and can roam on sprint voice, and non iDen networks.

        • Diablo81588

          Well, I was partially right 😛

          • michael arazan

            But will they still charge their customers an arm and a leg for the roaming on their phones?

          • Diablo81588

            I don’t pay roaming charges anywhere in the US. I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

          • michael arazan

            T-mo used to charge for roaming and its expensive

    • JoshGroff

      This ^

    • bitpimpin

      It really is nice to see their human side… unfortunately it’s taken a major disaster to finally see that side… maybe it’s the idealist in me, but I would like to see that more often (not just in times of disaster and tragedy)

      • GQGK

        They have a product to sell, and it’s their job to do so. But they’ve shown a human side apart from tragedy. The whole Obama-phone thing isn’t actually a government program as people seem to thing. It was actually started in 2000 by the major telecommunications companies such as Verizon to help people that needed it (and people heavily abused it too, which doesn’t help the cause).

  • Diablo81588

    Very cool. Living in the houston area, I’m well aware of what kind of damage hurricanes can cause. Hope everyone is okay.

  • TheWenger

    Hell just called. They’re under a frost advisory.