US carriers offer unlimited data, expanded hotspot capabilities during coronavirus pandemic

More carriers and ISPs are committing to relaxing policies on overages and data caps as the coronavirus pandemic continues. As we reported on Thursday, AT&T is waiving overages and data caps for customers, but now companies including Sprint, T-Mobile, Comcast, and Verizon are joining in.

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All four of the major United States carriers — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon — have signed on to the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge. Under this agreement, carriers have agreed to take the follow action for at least the next 60 days:

  • 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.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile has announced its own set of efforts to help customers stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic. Starting immediately, all T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers will have unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days. T-Mobile will also “soon” give customers an additional 20GB mobile hotspot services.

The carrier also outlined the following efforts:

  • Working with our Lifeline partners to provide customers extra free data up to 5GB of data per month over the next two months.
  • Increasing the data allowance for free to schools and students using our EmpowerED digital learning programs to ensure each participant has access to at least 20GB of data per month for the next 60 days.
  • Offering free international calling for ALL current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers to Level 3 impacted countries.

Sprint has announced a nearly-identical set of initiatives as well. Starting next Thursday, customers will receive unlimited data for 60 days, as well as an additional 20GB of hotspot data “soon.” This includes customers who don’t actively pay for hotspot services, the carrier says.

Meanwhile, Comcast has increased the speeds of its “Internet Essentials” plan, which targets low-income earners. Customers can get 60 days of free service as well as increased speeds from 15/2Mbps to 25/3Mbps.

As detailed CNET in a roundup, Verizon says that it is “constantly monitoring data usage and the needs of our customers.” The carrier is putting its focus on “ensuring first responders in public safety, healthcare and government agencies have access to networks.” The carrier will also waive all late fees for the next 60 days and will not terminate services for affected customers.

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Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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