In the wake of coronavirus, major phone and internet companies have signed a “Keep Americans Connected Pledge,” which promises for the next two months, they won’t turn off your phone or internet service if you don’t pay your bill.
Dozens of companies are waiving late fees and opening up their WiFi hotspots so everyone can use them, but some telecoms are going above and beyond the pledge, which was coordinated by the FCC.
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T-Mobile is giving all of its customers on any data plan, including Metro subscribers, unlimited data for 60 days.
Customers are also getting an extra 20 gigabytes of mobile hotspot data. This means you can activate the personal hotspot feature on your phone to connect your computer or tablet.
T-Mobile also offering free international calls to countries most impacted by the coronavirus, including Italy, France, Germany, Spain and other so-called Level 3 countries.
AT&T is lifting data caps on their home internet service, both wired and fixed wireless. Customers can use unlimited data during the next 60 days on their home internet accounts. Keep in mind this does not include cell phone wireless service.
AT&T’s network of WiFi hotspots are temporarily open and free. Look for att-wifi or attwifi on the list of available networks on your phone or device to connect.
Spectrum hotspots are also open, look for the network name SpectrumWiFi on your phone, tablet or computer. Usually, you need a subscription to access them, but not right now. You’ll find the signal in many places around town.
You can check Spectrum’s map to see if there are any near you.
Sprint is providing unlimited data to its customers on any plan, along with 20 gigabytes of free mobile hotspot through their phone. Additionally, international calls to Level 3 impacted countries are complimentary to customers “with international long-distance plans.”
Additionally, Sprint customers are temporarily able to roam on T-Mobile’s network, so you might find that you have a signal on your phone in places where it never worked before. Think of it as a little taste of what’s to come when the T-Mobile/Sprint merger takes effect later this year.
Mint is a smaller carrier popular for its simple and inexpensive pricing plans. They are also giving their customers unlimited data, but you have to do some work to get it. The unlimited data comes in the form of “add-ins.” You have to use a majority of your data before adding on an additional 3 gigabytes through the Mint Mobile app. The good news is that you can do this as many times as necessary through April 14, 2020 and the additional data is free.
My advice: before you take advantage of any of these emergency programs, it’s best to check for specifics through your provider. The last thing you want is to deal with a giant bill during this stressful time.
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