Some Telecom Companies Free Up Calling to Japan

by Jordan Richardson on March 16, 2011

In the wake of the tragic events in Japan and in light of the ongoing nuclear radiation threat, many telecommunications companies around the world are introducing special rates or freeing up calling to the country outright.

In the United States, calling to Japan is “free across the board.”

T-Mobile has introduced no international long distance charges on calls to Japan, free Wi-Fi calls to and from Japan and free text messaging as well. These rates are retroactive to March 11 and run until March 31. Sprint is waiving and crediting fees for wireless calls and text messages to Japan retroactive from March 11 and running until April 10. Verizon says residential and wireless customers can make free calls to Japan until April 10, while postpaid customers can send and receive text and multimedia messages to and from Japan for free.

AT&T is offering free calls from the United States and Puerto Rico to Japan. Text messaging is also free.

Other providers in the U.S. are offering similar deals with similar timeframes, with the regional carriers also following up with deals of their own to help customers communicate with loved ones in Japan.

In Canada, Telus announced a donation of $100,000 and said that they’d match what their employees raise. They’ve also freed up all voice calls to Japan (but not text messages) until the end of March. “We’re doing what we can. This touches Telus in a very personal way; we’ve got team members with ties to Japan as well as customers with strong ties to Japan and we want to do what we can for them,” said spokesman Shawn Hall.

WIND Mobile has reduced calling to Japan to 10 cents per minute, down 40 cents from the previous 50 cents per minute rate.

From what I could tell, Rogers and Bell Canada aren’t offering any particular special rates as of yet. If they are, they’ve yet to be advertised at press time.

It’s good to see the telecommunications companies coming together on this. It’s not so much a matter of comparing offers to see who’s doing the most as it is a matter of opening up lines of communication for customers to get in touch with loved ones in Japan. Here’s hoping that this sort of corporate charity makes a difference.

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