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Mobile Services Restored in Areas Affected by Hurricane Katrina
Posted on 4-Sep-2005 21:24 | Tags Filed under: News

T-Mobile USA, Inc. has restored its wireless service to a significant level Saturday in the hardest-hit areas of New Orleans. The company says its engineers successfully repaired, and are operating, several sites in the area including a high-capacity cell site now running on generator power on top of the Crowne Plaza Hotel Astor on Canal Street.

The wireless service is now accessible from many areas across downtown New Orleans, including the French Quarter, Convention Center and the Superdome, as well as Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. T-Mobile is also enabling virtually all users of GSM/GPRS phones, whether or not they are T-Mobile subscribers, roaming access to the network in the area.

T-Mobile expects heavy call volumes and some call congestion in the area due to the anticipated high demand for service; and many parts of Louisiana still remain without wireless coverage. As conditions on the ground continue to be uncertain, T-Mobile engineers are working to maintain the highest level of service possible, and further enhance service levels in the area and the north Gulf Coast.

Sprint Nextel has also restored parts of its wireless services along the Gulf Coast. Sprint has assembled a command center and restoration team near Baton Rouge to effect repairs where it is safe to do so.

Sprint Nextel's Emergency Response Team has made available more than 3,000 phones to local, state and federal emergency personnel in the affected areas. Those phones have added communications capabilities that allow users to use their walkie-talkie service to keep in touch even when beyond wireless coverage or when regular phone lines are unavailable. Sprint Nextel will continue to provide communications support to assist in restoration efforts.

Sprint Nextel has approximately 350 employees in the four-state region directly impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Since the hurricane made landfall on Monday morning, the company has made contact with all employees via phone, email or text message to assess their physical safety and immediate needs.

Sprint Nextel customers also can use either their Sprint PCS or Nextel phones to text message (SMS) the word "give" to short code 24357 to make a $5 donation to the American Red Cross. The donation will be billed on the customer's wireless phone bill. Standard text-messaging rates will apply.

Boost Mobile is also adding a tool to its Pay-As-You-Go wireless service aimed at helping provide aid to the Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort. Boost customers may donate up to $25 from their prepaid account to the American Red Cross to help provide immediate relief and emergency supplies to the estimated 400,000 people in New Orleans who have lost their homes and are in critical need of basic care and support. Boost Mobile will match its customers' contributions up to $50,000.

Meanwhile, Compusa is giving free access to e-mail, and local and long-distance phone service for Hurricane Katrina evacuees at all CompUSA stores in Little Rock (AR), Baton Rouge (LA), Oklahoma City (OK), Tulsa (OK), Dallas/Ft. Worth (TX), Austin (TX), Lubbock (TX), Houston (TX), San Antonio (TX), Corpus Christi (TX) and McAllen (TX).

Additionally, cash donations are being accepted for the American Red Cross relief effort in CompUSA stores across the USA.

Alltel wireless customers can support Hurricane Katrina relief efforts by text messaging donations to the American Red Cross. Customers can make a $5 donation by sending the text message (SMS) "give" to the number "24357" (2HELP). Text donations can be made through 31 October 2005. All donations are tax deductible and will appear on customers' monthly bills.

Verizon Wireless continues the urgent work of maintaining and restoring wireless service in the New Orleans and Gulf Coast regions in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The company has dispatched teams of network technicians who are making progress in strengthening communications in many of the affected areas.

Service in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Pensacola, Florida; and Jackson, Mississippi has returned to normal, while service improvements continue in Mobile, Alabama, along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including Biloxi, and in New Orleans and surrounding areas, including Mandeville, Lacombe, Hammond and Covington, where technicians have been able to move in and begin restoring the network. Service has also been restored at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International airport where helicopters are transporting those that have been rescued from roof tops.

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