Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

AT&T and T-Mobile Team Up for Free Roaming in Sandy-Affected Region

Denied the right by federal regulators to merge last year in what would have been a $39 billion blockbuster of a combination, wireless service providers AT&T and T-Mobile at least get to pretend like they’re on the same team for a while, thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

The two companies just announced that they’ve struck a deal that lets users on both networks roam on the other’s for free in storm-struck areas.

I’m no expert on the finer points of roaming agreements, but I know that the two use the same basic wireless technology — GSM/UMTS — that makes it relatively easy for this to happen. Usually what happens when a T-Mobile user wanders into AT&T territory and vice versa, there’s some money that changes hands between them. For the duration of the storm emergency within the areas of New York and New Jersey, that won’t be the case.

Their announcement is below.

AT&T and T-Mobile Open Networks to Customers of Both Carriers in New York and New Jersey

DALLAS & BELLEVUE, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In the wake of destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, AT&T and T-Mobile are taking extraordinary measures to make sure our customers can stay in touch.

AT&T and T-Mobile have entered into an agreement to enable roaming on their networks to customers of both companies in the heavily impacted areas and where capacity is available and for subscribers with a compatible device.

AT&T and T-Mobile customers will be able to place calls just as they normally would, but their calls will be carried by whichever network is most operational in their area. This will be seamless for AT&T and T-Mobile customers with no change to their current rate plans or service agreements even if the phone indicates the device is attached to the other carrier’s network.

T-Mobile and AT&T both utilize network technology based on GSM and UMTS standards, which allows for this sharing of voice and data traffic.


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