Following AT&T and Verizon Wireless' lead, T-Mobile, Sprint, Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS have adjusted their new policies toward customers trying to reach friends and family in Japan.
T-Mobile postpaid customers can now place calls to Japan free of charge, retroactive from March 11 through March 31. Additionally, they can place WiFi calls for free, to and from Japan, and send free text messages, also through the end of the month. (Earlier in the week, T-Mobile was only offering free text messaging.)
"During this difficult time, our thoughts are with the people of Japan," Philipp Humm, CEO and president of T-Mobile USA, said in a March 15 statement. "Many of T-Mobile's customers, their friends and families have been directly impacted by this disaster, and our promise is to help them connect with their loved ones."
Sprint also is now waiving or crediting fees for wireless calls and text messages to and from Japan, from March 11 - the date a monstrous 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan - through the month's end.
In a March 15 statement, the carrier added that "during times of emergency, it has been shown that text messages may go through when calling capabilities aren't available and may help free up networks for critical communication between first responders, other emergency personnel and aid workers."
Ralph Reid, Sprint's vice president of corporate social responsibility, added, "It is Sprint's hope that this continued support of the relief efforts in Japan will further aid family, friends and emergency personnel affected by last week's earthquake - helping them stay connected, safe and informed."Cricket, a San Diego-based carrier that offers only unlimited plans, similarly announced March 16 that it is offering free unlimited calls to Japan through March 29, and MetroPCS has confirmed, according to March 14 report from PhoneScoop, that it is also supporting customers with free landline and mobile calling to numbers in Japan over the next 30 days.Cricket, like the others, also is waiving the fee of text messages sending donations to support organizations. While most texts are understood to result in a $10 donation, Cricket officials said users can contact the following organizations to make donations in the amount of their choice:- American Red Cross - (800) 733-2767 or online at www.redcross.org- World Relief - (800) 535-5433 or online at www.worldrelief.org- Convoy of Hope - (417) 823-8998 or online at www.convoyofhope.org- Global Giving - (877) 605-2314 or online at www.globalgiving.orgThe short message "REDCROSS" sent to 90999, "WAVE," sent to 50555, "TSUNAMI" or "SUNAMI" sent to 50555 or "JAPAN" sent to 50555, will result in a $10 donation to the American Red Cross, World Relief Corp., Convoy of Hope or Global Giving, respectively.Google, as it did with last year's earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, as well as with the BP Gulf Oil Spill, is providing real-time updates on the disaster and a "person finder" tool to help people find friends and loved ones they were separated from. The dedicated 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami page also accepts donations for efforts by the Japanese Red Cross Society, Unicef, Save the Children, the American Red Cross and Mercy Corps.