AT&T won't charge for Philippines disaster calls and texts

Carriers line up text-to-donate plans for Typhoon Haiyan relief

AT&T said Tuesday it is not going to charge its wireless customers for calls and texts from the U.S. to the Philippines through Nov. 30 to help with the relief crisis following Typhoon Haiyan.

The carrier also said it is giving $25,000 to AmeriCares to aid in relief, amid reports of food and water shortages after the typhoon swept through the island nation last week. Nearly 2,000 people have been confirmed dead; that number is expected to rise further.

AT&T said that customers on its conventional plans that are called "post-paid" (the great majority of its wireless customers) will not be charged for calls or texts from Nov. 8 to Nov. 30. AT&T's wired customers, including those on its U-verse service, will not be charged for up to 60 minutes of direct-dial calling to the Philippines for the same dates. They will either see no charge for the calls on their monthly statements or receive a credit in a later statement.

AT&T wireless customers can text to give a $10 donation to four different groups by texting the word "AID" to the following: 50555 to donate to Operation USA; 80077 to give to HOPE Worldwide; 27722 to give to World Food Program USA; and 80108 to give to mGive Foundation Philippines Typhoon Relief Fund (a U.S. State Department campaign).

Other U.S. carriers were planning various responses to the disaster. Verizon Wireless said its Verizon Foundation is donating to the Red Cross, but didn't say how much.

Verizon also said it has activated a text-to-donate program for its U.S. customers to donate $10 to three groups. To donate to World Vision, text: HOPE to 777444; to donate to UNICEF, text: RELIEF to 864233; and to donate to Catholic Relief Services, text: RELIEF/CRISIS to 25383.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is

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