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     the "KEEP AMERICANS CONNECTED" plan.  This plan has been signed by pretty much every cell phone carrier available.  It gives almost anyone with a cell phone the availability to turn their phone into a hotspot with free data.  It has not been advertised that well, but I want to make sure you know about it.  We are trying to do everything we can to make sure that every student can work from home, and we think this will take care of a lot of needs.  If you need data at home, or you know of a student who does, please make sure everyone tries this, and we will check in to see how it is going.

    Below is a listing of every cell phone carrier and what they are offering at no charge.  If your cell phone provider is not listed, or you have additional questions, I would contact your provider to find out specifics.

    The Keep Americans Connected Pledge

    So far, the telecommunications industry’s most broad and important response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been the Keep Americans Connected pledge. This pledge was drafted by the FCC and reads:

    “Given the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on American society, [Company Name] pledges for the next 60 days to:

    • not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;

    • waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and

    • open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.”

    The 60-day period began on March 13, so it should be valid through at least May 6. The pledge has been signed by more than 550 companies and associations, including the largest cell phone companies.

     

    AT&T’s COVID-19 response

    Besides signing the pledge, closing stores, and offering bonuses to frontline employees, AT&T has rolled out some new plans and perks.

    Starting on March 27, AT&T will offer the following:2

    • A new $15 plan with 2 GB of data and unlimited talk and text

    • For 60 days all phone plans will receive an automatic 10GB per month of additional data

    • All users with an Unlimited Plus plan with tethering will receive 10 GB of additional tethering per month for 60 days

    Sprint’s COVID-19 response

    Sprint has limited its store hours and is working with T-Mobile to get its users access to T-Mobile’s network. But the main changes that Sprint customers will probably notice are the following:

    • Customers on limited-data plans now receive unlimited data for 60 days, beginning March 18

    • 20 GB of free mobile hotspot data to eligible customers

    • Per-minute toll charges are waived for international long-distance calls from the U.S. to CDC-defined Level 3 countries (which includes most of Euro

     

    T-Mobile’s COVID-19 response

    Beginning on March 17, T-Mobile closed about 80% of its retail stores to safeguard employees and customers. But the mobile company is also offering additional benefits to new and current customers, like the following:4

    • All T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers will get unlimited data for the next 60 days.

    • These customers will also get 20 GB of mobile hotspot data.

    • Free international calling to all Level 3 countries

    • T-Mobile has launched a new, low-cost plan called the Connect plan.

     

    Verizon’s COVID-19 response

    Verizon Wireless has been a bit slower than other companies to offer things like free unlimited data to all customers. But the company has started to roll out some benefits and relief for its customers. These are the steps that Verizon has taken so far:5

    • Unlimited domestic calling for all by-the-minute plans

    • Free calling to CDC-designated Level 3 countries

    • A tripling (3x) of wireless bandwidth to aid schools that are doing remote teaching.

    • Wireless customers get a free, automatic 15 GB of data added to their plans.

     

    Other carriers’ COVID-19 responses

    It’s not just the Big Four that are reacting to COVID-19 with swift action. Here’s a roundup of how mobile virtual network operators (MNVOs) and prepaid carriers are responding:6

    • Mint Mobile is offering free unlimited data to all customers until April 14.

    • Boost Mobile is giving customers free international calling to Level 3 countries, waiving reactivation fees, and giving an extra 20 GB of data to limited-data customers.

    • Metro by T-Mobile is giving customers unlimited data for 60 days and free international calling to Level 3 countries.

    • Consumer Cellular has signed the Keep Americans Connected pledge and has increased its 25 GB plan to a 55 GB plan.

    • Cricket Wireless Yes, we’re giving new and existing customers an extra 10 GB of data, temporarily, on select smartphone plans to keep you connected. After two bill cycles, your extra 10 GB will be removed.