Wireless carriers waive charges for Florida customers during Irma aftermath

Posted at 9:40 AM, Sep 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 17:33:19-04

TAMPA, Fla - Smart phones are a lifeline for many when it comes to news updates - and if you’re concerned about running dry on data, many of the major cell phone carriers have you covered during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile will not be charging its customers in Hurricane Irma's path and aftermath for calls, texts and other data.

AT&T is automatically issuing credits and waiving fees to provide unlimited data, talk and texts to AT&T wireless customers and unlimited talk and texts to AT&T PREPAID customers in Florida through at least Sept. 17.

AT&T also announced it is extending payment dates for its prepaid plan with voice and text service through Sept. 17. 

Verizon is also waiving overage charges for talk, text and data for customers in specified zip codesthrough at least Monday while prepaid customers will receive an extra 3 GB of data.

"During this time you may still receive data overage charges, but don’t worry, we’ve got them covered on your next bill," Verizon posted on its website. "Just ignore any overage alerts you may receive during this time."

Sprint is waiving all text, call and data overage fees for Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile customers in Florida through Sept. 15.

T-Mobile also is offering free calling/texting, as well as unlimited data, for Florida customers not on T-Mobile ONE (customers on T-Mobile ONE always have unlimited calling/texting/data).

The Florida offer applies to T-Mobile and MetroPCS customers in the following area codes until Sept. 15:

  • 239
  • 305
  • 321
  • 352
  • 386
  • 407
  • 561
  • 689
  • 727
  • 754
  • 772
  • 786
  • 813
  • 850
  • 863
  • 904
  • 941
  • 954

Dave Deal remembers the exact time when power went out in his Safety Harbor home.

"Everything just went black,” he said.

That was the case for thousands of people in the state.

"You don't know what you got until it's gone,” said Deal. Although he has 4 gigs of data, he still fears he and his family could run out with how much they’re using them.

The other challenge? Keeping those smart phones alive.

A lot of people are getting thrifty, sitting in their car for hours so they can charge their phone, even using power inverters to plug other devices in.

Deal is sitting at local businesses too and making friends with the neighbors who do have power. He also bought a power device before the storm that holds power for an extended period of time.

"I can go a couple months without having to charge the thing up,” said Deal.

Karen McAllister says AT&T is showing up with charging stations in neighborhoods all over the bay area. But there are some devices you can get too, like solar powered chargers that will help keep your cell phone charged next time the lights go out.

"If your family has multiple devices or maybe several tablets this is a helpful charger to have where you can charge several devices at once,” said McAllister, an AT&T spokeswoman.

WATCH: Wireless carriers waive charges for Florida customers during Irma aftermath