AT&T, T-Mobile Team Up to Help Those Affected by Hurricane Sandy

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Posted 5 years ago

In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, two of the biggest carriers in the U.S. have agreed on a temporary partnership to provide cellular service to those affected.

AT&T and Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile will work together to restore their damaged networks and will also be sharing network access for the time being. Make no mistake, the two carriers are still competitors, but due to the communication disruption caused by the historic storm, a deal has been struck to allow customers of both companies the chance to roam on the other’s network.

The service is set to go to those in the areas of New York and New Jersey where capacity is available, and customers will be able to send texts and makes calls as usual, though calls will go through whichever network is most operational at the time.

“We are looking to collaborate more broadly on the restoration effort so that we can bring up complete services in an area in a faster manner than if we were working on our own,” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile in an interview published by total telecom.

The idea, he said, is to “divide and conquer” and “have two companies working to bring up one network, rather than two companies working to bring up two networks.”

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, The Federal Communications Commission announced on Wednesday that wireless service is slowly being restored to locals in Sandy’s path, but one in five cell towers are still out of service between Virginia and Massachusetts. The arrangement between AT&T and T-Mobile is only likely to last until network coverage is fully restored, although no one knows exactly when this will be.


The partnership has been made possible thanks to GSM and UMTS standards network technology that is used by both AT&T and T-Mobile. This will allow for the sharing of data and voice traffic.

AT&T customers that have 4G LTE plans may not receive the service they are used to though, as T-Mobile does not currently have an LTE network in place.

In the aftermath of such tragedy, it is nice to see that two rivals have agreed to come together for the greater good, even if it is for a short period of time.

– Anthony Carter

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