Telecoms are scheduled to end their quarantine benefits today. The FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge is set to expire on June 30. Companies initially agreed to the pledge March 13, and added benefits. Carriers like T-Mobile, Verizon, and others said they would not discontinue service or charge late fees for those unable to pay because of the coronavirus. They also agreed to open their WiFi access points for free.
So far, the FCC has not publicly said that it would extend the pledge, though agency Chairman Ajit Pai recently urged carriers who could, to continue helping consumers. Certain carriers have given some subscribers more data under their existing plans.
Consumers who have been riding out the quarantine by streaming may also find that their unlimited data expires June 30. On that day, AT&T and T-Mobile are scheduled to resume normal service, and once again impose data caps, according to PCWorld.
AT&T pledged not to terminate the service of any customer who can’t pay their bill, and will waive the fees associated with late payments (Waivers can be applied for here). That expires today. The company will continue to waive domestic postpaid wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers. AT&T will also keep its public WiFi hotspots open to everyone, and has automatically increased hotspot data by 15GB per month, per line.
Frontier Communications does not have data caps, and this will continue through the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said. It also plans to increase its capacity.
Starry-Wireless broadband ISP Starry made Starry Connect, a broadband program for public and affordable housing owners, free through May. Normally, the program, which provides 30 mbps symmetrical speeds, is $15 per month. Starry agreed to suspend cancellation of service due to nonpayment due to the coronavirus. It does not charge additional fees or late fees. Starry’s service does not include data caps, either, according to the account.
All current T-Mobile plans with data were granted free unlimited data through June 30, excluding roaming. T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers gained additional 20 GB of mobile hotspot and tethering services through June 30 as well. “We do not have an offer available for 60 days of free service and encourage consumers to be cautious of social media posts that may include fraudulent numbers,” T-Mobile added. The company posted resources to help protect customers from scammers.
T-Mobile extended its commitment to the FCC pledge through June 30, continuing to offer support for postpaid wireless, residential and small business customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Verizon waived late fees and kept residential and small business customers connected if negatively impacted by the global crisis. Verizon says on a consolidated COVID-19 response page, its waiver plan will run until June 30. Verizon added 15 GB of 4G LTE data to consumer and small business plans for free, and added some free overseas calls to some countries.