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How carriers are helping those affected by California wildfires

While the California wildfires continue to burn, carriers are stepping in to help. Here's what all four carriers are doing for their customers.

Published onOctober 12, 2017

Wildfires in California are currently ravaging the state with over 100,000 acres burned. Due to strong winds and dry conditions, the fires have spread quickly and displaced more than 20,000 people. 17 are confirmed dead and more than 600 missing persons reports have been filed. At times like these, staying updated on the situation and in contact with friends and family is extremely important. To help ease the suffering and aid those affected, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have all stepped in to help.


AT&T is automatically issuing credits and waving charges from October 9 to October 14 to provide unlimited data, voice, and text messaging. It is also extending the payment date for affected AT&T Prepaid customers with voice and text service through October 14. This applies to customers in Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Solano, Sonoma, and Yuba counties. AT&T Wireless customers must have a billing address in one of these counties, while AT&T Prepaid customers must have a phone number in one of the counties.

AT&T points out that customers may still receive data alert notifications, but their bills will reflect the correct charges.


Sprint is waiving fees for texting, calls, and data overages through October 12. Not only does this apply to Sprint customers, but also to Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile customers as well. According to Sprint’s Regional President for Northern California,  Suehyun “Johan” Chung, “Some customers might be experiencing service issues due to damaged fiber resulting from the fires. Our team is in the area and on standby awaiting clearance to restore service as quickly and safely as possible.”


T-Mobile is not offering any kind of bill credits to affected customers, but it is trying to help out in other ways. The carrier is remaining focused on restoring cell service to affected areas as quickly as possible and has deployed emergency equipment to set up temporary cell sites. It has also deployed trucks stocked with water, snacks, respiratory masks, as well as charging stations and portable chargers.

T-Mobile says that it is “continuing to evaluate ways to support both our customers and employees as recovery progresses.”


Verizon is waving all overages for postpaid customers for talk, text, and data and prepaid customers are receiving an extra 3 GB for talk, text, and data. This offer extends from October 10 to October 12 for qualified counties in Northern California. Verizon has set up disaster relief websites for both postpaid and prepaid customers where you can find out if you live in a qualifying area.

Verizon’s Pacific Market President, Jonathan LeCompte issued a statement on the situation that reads, “We know how important it is for you to stay connected with your loved ones when disaster strikes. This offer is one way that we can show our commitment to the Northern California community as these powerful wildfires continue to rage in the area.”

If you would like to help out, you can donate to the victims right from your phone. Text CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross for the California wildfires relief efforts.

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