AT&T, Verizon, Others Prepare for Hurricane Sandy’s Wrath

As Hurricane Sandy gains steam and gets ready for an assault on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the major phone companies are doing what they can to get ready for prepare for outages and to help customers get through the storm.

Verizon says its company-owned and -operated stores have increase stocks of car phone chargers and portable universal charging devices. Weather permitting, those retail outlets will remain open.

The carrier, in a news release Sunday, said it has suspended most non-emergency activity in the East, such as non-essential construction projects and internal training programs, as one of the biggest storms in years is predicted to blast the region in the next couple of days.

Verizon wireline and wireless business units have activated national and regional command and control centers, enabling Verizon operations teams to monitor the storms progress and company operations, including network performance. Verizon says it has established communications with power and other service providers to ensure proper coordination in the event of storm damage, and also has contacted vendors and other outside partners so that critical communications equipment and supplies can be prioritized, stocked and shipped quickly.

In addition to communicating with customers and ensuring that we will be working to keep the network operating and responding quickly to issues as they arise, we have reminded our employees of the need to work safely, be alert, and help our customers in any way they can,” said Bob Mudge, president of Verizons consumer and mass susiness division. “But our people know this well and are at their best in these critical situations when our customers depend on us the most.”

In a statement released Friday, T-Mobile said it has made significant investments throughout the year in supplemental cell site backup generators, microwave technology equipment and cell-on-wheels (COWs), along with other tools and equipment to enhance the stability and, when necessary, the recovery of network operations.

Additional steps the company is taking include: close monitoring of evacuation efforts and routes, and taking steps to increase wireless capacity in these areas; close coordination with the recovery efforts of local, state and federal agencies in the areas affected by the potential storm; and, for employees, T-Mobile has crisis plans in place for those in the path of a storm, and will respond quickly to help safeguard  employees and company facilities.

Sprint, America’s third-largest carrier, is preparing its network, mobilizing network disaster recovery staff, and strategically staging Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) personnel and resources to serve customers and mitigate storm impact, the company said on Sunday.

The company is monitoring the continued path of Hurricane Sandy and the noreaster while instituting flood prevention measures at Sprint network facilities and retail stores; it’s fully fueling all permanent generators and mobilizing portable generators into threatened areas to ensure theyre available to meet response needs based on the current track and intensity of Sandy and the noreaster; and is providing any local public safety agency in need of emergency communications assistance with 14 days of service free of charge for 25 Sprint ERT wireless devices in states where an official state of emergency” has been declared, including Connecticut Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

AT&T has a page on its website dedicated to tips helping customers deal with storms. The company says it will “help you prepare for bad storms ahead and will be there for you after disaster strikes. In the case of damaged cell sites and loss of commercial power, AT&T works around-the-clock until service is restored for all customers.”

Among the tips: Keep your wireless phone batteries charged at all times; keep your phone dry; have a family communications plan in place; and program all of your emergency contact numbers and email addresses into your mobile phone.

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