Hurricane Sandy has left millions without power and countless of damages among the East Coast. While power is beginning to come back, many are still without decent phone reception. During this time of turbulence it can be upsetting to not being able to reach out to friends and family to let them know you are safe. In a rare collaboration, AT&T and T-Mobile have joined forces to share networks to aid those affected by Superstorm Sandy. Just in 2011, AT&T was working to acquire T-Mobile. They will allow customers to use whichever network gets coverage in their areas.
Combining the networks will occur completely behind the scenes, so all a customer would need to do is dial out. They will be automatically routed over to whatever network is the strongest at the moment; no need to sin a contract or dial a special number. There will be no roaming charges for customers of either companies, as well as no need to change any phone setting, rate plans, or service agreements.
According to the Federal Communication Commission, about a quarter of cell phone towers in the ten states affected by Sandy were knocked out by the storm. It will take several days to repair the towers or even longer. Inclement weather could continue and cause additional days in repair efforts. Some transmission sites that are still working are operating on backup generators. Carriers hope the generators will last until power is completely restored.
A statement from the Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission, Julius Genachowski says, “Our assumption is that communications outages could get worse before they could get better, particularly for mobile.”
According to the FCC, only a small number of 911 call centers were without power. Of those, their calls are being rerouted to working call centers.