Mobile phone carriers offer free talk, text and data to residents impacted by Hurricane Ian

Nearly all LTE and 5G cell phones can use roaming for multiple carriers, no matter what company you have phone service with, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management Friday.

"The network will automatically determine if roaming is needed," the division said in a tweet.

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Joe Wilson, 71, said he "learned my lesson" after staying on his sailboat in Fort Myers Beach during Hurricane Ian. He was rescued by the Coast Guard on Sept. 29, 2022. “I’m not going to even be on my boat during a tropical storm. I’m done with that. I’m so done with that."
Joe Wilson, 71, said he "learned my lesson" after staying on his sailboat in Fort Myers Beach during Hurricane Ian. He was rescued by the Coast Guard on Sept. 29, 2022. “I’m not going to even be on my boat during a tropical storm. I’m done with that. I’m so done with that."

Here's what each phone carrier has to say:

AT&T

Talk, text and data overage charges for those in area impacted by Hurricane Ian are waived through Oct. 28.

AT&T is also waiving the following charges for residential and business wireline orders placed now through October 29, 2022:

  • Service charge for installation of service at the temporary or new permanent location of the customer and again when the customer moves back to the original premises.

  • Fee for one jack and associated wiring at the temporary location regardless of whether the customer has the Inside Wire plan.

  • Fee for up to five free jacks and associated wiring for Inside Wire Plan customers upon their return to their permanent location.

  • Fee for one jack and associated wiring for non-Plan customers upon their return to their permanent location.

  • One-time activation fee for establishing Remote Call Forwarding, Remote Access to Call Forwarding, Call Forwarding features and AT&T Unified Messaging services.

  • Monthly rate for one month for Remote Call Forwarding, Remote Access to Call Forwarding, Call Forwarding features and AT&T Messaging services.

For assistance, customers in affected areas can call 800-288-2020 (consumer) and 844-429-1875 (small business).

Verizon

Active customers in area impacted by Hurricane Ian will have access to unlimited domestic talk, text and data through Oct. 4.

Verizon’s network is seeing service impairments particularly in the Southwest areas of Lee County, according to the carrier.

Here's what has been done so far in Lee County:

  • On Thursday, fiber rings were repaired in Fort Myers and Cape Coral which turned up multiple sites serving those areas.

  • Technicians are being deployed to repair generators as able and deploy mobile generators when repairs can not be quickly made.

  • Mobile assets have been deployed to support first responders and public safety teams throughout Lee County.

  • They have deployed satellite technology to replace damaged fiber to cell sites in Fort Myers.

  • They have deployed satellite supported temporary cell sites in Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Marco Island.

  • They have other temporary mobile assets being deployed in additional locations in southwest Florida.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile is offering unlimited talk, text and data to customers in area impacted by Hurricane Ian through Oct. 3.

"We have teams on the ground checking equipment where it’s safe to do so, and we’re also working in the hardest hit areas of Lee County, Sanibel and Pine Islands, and Fort Myers Beach to restore service," the carrier said Thursday.

Nikki Ross covers education for the Fort Myers News-Press and Naples Daily News. She can be reached at NRoss@gannett.com, follow her on Twitter @nikkiinreallife, Instagram @reporternikkiinreallife or TikTok @nikki.inreallife.

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Hurricane Ian: Cell phone carriers offer free talk, text and data