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article imageSprint, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast offer free calling to Japan

By Kim I. Hartman     Mar 15, 2011 in Business
AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and Comcast have announced they're offering free international phone service and texting to Japan to help customers connect with family and friends following the tragic earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country.
"Verizon is making calls to Japan free for most wireless and residential customers from March 11 through April 10. Prepaid Phone Card charges for all long-distance calls placed to Japan from the United States will also be waived until the April 10 deadline."
AT&T is "offering wired and wireless billing relief for calls made on AT&T between March 11th and March 31st, from the United States or Puerto Rico to Japan. Text messages to Japan, originating from a U.S. wireless number are also included in the offer. Residential wire-line customers can seek credits for up to 60 minutes of direct dialing to Japan."
Cathy Avgiris, a Comcast senior vice president and its general manager of communications and data services, said on Comcast blog Tuesday "During this extremely difficult time, we want to help our customers stay in close contact with loved ones in Japan. Therefore, we're offering our Xfinity Voice and Business Class Voice customers free calls to Japan from March 11 through April 10."
Sprint announced that "In the wake of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan, they will be waiving text-message fees for Sprint customers who send mobile donations to the relief and recovery efforts. Messages sent to and from the list of short codes will not be charged standard text-messaging fees."
These include:
•Text “REDCROSS to “90999” to donate $10 on behalf of the American Red Cross.
•Text “TSUNAMI to “50555” to donate $10 on behalf of Convoy of Hope, Inc.
•Text “WAVE” to “50555” to donate $10 on behalf of the World Relief Corp. of National Association of Evangelicals.
•Text "JAPAN" or "QUAKE" to 80888 to donate $10 on behalf of The Salvation Army.
"Google has set up a new service to help people reunite with those missing since Japan's earthquake and tsunami. Google Person Finder allows people all over the world to set up profile pages for loved ones. Anyone with information can simply search for the person's name and then post an update. There are more than 140,000 records on the site," according to ABC News.
The offer by the phone service providers and Google will make locating people easier for customers in the United States who are concerned about the safety of family in Japan after the country was leveled by the recent disaster.
AT&T said “We want to help our customers connect with loved ones in Japan in anyway we can,” according to Mark Collins, senior vice president, Voice and Data Products, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Connecting with family and friends is most important at times like this— we want to make it as easy and worry free as possible for our customers.”
Check out the press releases for each company for specific details on the free service provided. Offers are subject to cancellation or change and may be extended for a longer period of time. Changes should be posted on their respective websites, call your provider if you have any questions.
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