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article imageTech giants & Telcos chipping in to aid Japan relief efforts

By Bill Lindner     Mar 15, 2011 in Technology
Following the devastating earthquake and tsunamis that destroyed Japan last week, and the rising number of casualties, some of the world's largest technology and telecommunications companies have joined the relief efforts.
In the wake of the devastating earthquakes and tsunamis wreaking havoc on Japan, Verizon has announced that making calls to Japan to contact loved ones will be free for most Verizon wireless and residential customers through April 10.
A Verizon press release states that all Verizon wireless post-paid customers will receive free calling to Japan from March 11 through April 10. Post-paid customers are those who receive a monthly bill from Verizon. Post-paid Verizon customers will also receive free text and multimedia messaging to Japan for the same time period.
All calls to Japan made from a Verizon residential landline will be rated at $0.00 per minute from March 11 through April 10 according to the Verizon Press release. Customers with Verizon's World Plan (300, 500, or unlimited minutes of long-distance calling) can also call Japan without using any minutes from their allotted time blocks during that same time frame.
Verizon customers need to note that only long-distance usage charges associated with calls from residential landlines to Japan will be waived. All other fees including taxes, surcharges, monthly recurring charges (MRCs), minimum spending levels (MSLs), monthly minimum charges (MMCs), etc. will continue to apply.
Post-paid Verizon customers need to check their bills when they come in. If long distance calling fees were charged, credits should be issued in a future bill statement according to the Verizon Press release.
Verizon Prepaid Phone Card charges for all long-distance calls placed to Japan from the U.S. will also be waived from March 11 through April 10.
Verizon wireless customers can easily make a $10 donation by sending a text message and may choose from 10 organizations helping those in need in Japan. For Verizon customers, donating $10 is easy - simply text the specific word to the Organization's designated short code:
•ADRA Relief: text SUPPORT to 85944
•American Red Cross Relief: text REDCROSS to 90999
•Convoy of Hope: text TSUNAMI or SUNAMI to 50555
•GlobalGiving: text JAPAN to 50555
•International Medical Corps: text MED to 80888
•Mercy Corps: text MERCY to 25383
•Salvation Army: text JAPAN to 80888
•Save the Children Federation, Inc.: text JAPAN or TSUNAMI to 20222
•World Relief Corp. of National Association of Evangelicals: text WAVE to 50555
•World Vision, Inc.: text 4JAPAN or 4TSUNAMI to 20222
Text messages for donations to any of these organizations are free and Verizon says 100 percent of each $10 dollar donation goes to those relief organizations. Post-paid Verizon customers will see the $10 charge appear on their next bills. Prepaid Verizon customers donations will be deducted from the user's prepaid balance.
Users of Verizon's FIOS TV service who are not subscribed to TV Japan (channel 1770) will have free access to it through March 17.
Apple iTunes and AT&T
Apple is reportedly accepting donations through iTunes over the weekend, with a link to donate on the iTunes Store, and the AT&T is offering its U.S. Customers free calls and texts to Japan through the end of March.
ITunes users can donate in amounts of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and $200 through their accounts. A donation through iTunes will be acknowledged with an email from the iTunes Store. According to Apple Insider, all donations will go to the Red Cross but personal information will not.
AT&T is offering the free calls and texts effective March 11 through March 31. AT&T wireless post-paid customer will not be charged for international long distance from the U.S. and Puerto Rico to Japan or text messages to Japan from a U.S. wireless number. Texting "redcross" to the number 90999 allows AT&T wireless users to donate $10 to the Red Cross with no text message fees.
Residential AT&T customers can receive up to 60 minutes of international calling to Japan. Residential and Wireless customers will either see no charges on their monthly statement, or they will have a full credit applied according to the report.
AT&T U-verse TV customers will also have free access to TV Japan through March 17.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Mashable
Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Mashable are also offering digital ways to donate to Japan relief efforts. Zynga, the world's largest social gaming company is reportedly hoping to raise $2 million for Save the Children's Japan Earthquake Tsunami Emergency Fund.
Information on donating to the Red Cross on Facebook through its Causes Fundraising Project can be found here.
All kinds of Information and organizations you can donate to from Google's Crisis Response page can be found here.
Other options for donating digitally from Mashable can be found here.
Information from Twitter in Japanese and English on where to go to donate or get more information is available here.
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