Telekom Logo
  • 2017 Corporate Responsibility Report

Disaster Response in the USA

2017’s hurricane season topped records on all fronts as Hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma did catastrophic damage to communities in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. To support customers and maximize network availability, T-Mobile USA activated extensive preparation, response, and fundraising efforts.

  • Hurricane Preparation: Before any hurricane forecasted to make landfall in the US or its territories, T-Mobile sets up an engineering command center near the expected area of impact and deployed rapid-response teams to minimize potential interruptions to wireless service. In addition, T-Mobile’s Geo-Redundant Network Operation Centers (NOCs) closely managed network traffic and further coordinate any response to an event.
  • Free Texting & Calling: During the hurricanes and for weeks following, T-Mobile offered customers in affected areas the ability to call or text anywhere in the US for free. Customers in affected areas who were not on the T-Mobile ONE plan were also given unlimited data (T-Mobile ONE customers always have unlimited data). 
  • Text-based Fundraising: T-Mobile promoted ‘Text to Give’ mobile phone fundraising to help those impacted by the hurricanes. To participate, any consumer could donate USD 10 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane disaster relief efforts by texting short codes to 90999. Several other nonprofit hurricane relief text-to-give options were also included.
  • Recovery Efforts: Once recovery efforts began, T-Mobile deployed equipment, supplies and disaster experts to all affected areas in all three disasters. Emergency equipment included portable generators, fuel trucks, Cell On Wheels (COWs), Cells on Light Trucks (CoLTS), fuel and diesel trucks and other vehicles.
  • Puerto Rico Response: Puerto Rico was especially hard hit by Hurricane Maria, and lacked the infrastructure and resources of the US mainland. Our immediate support to the island included a dozen cargo planes and multiple barges packed full of supplies and equipment, trucks, cells-on-wheels, cells-on-light-trucks and hundreds of portable generators. T-Mobile provided the Federal Aviation Administration a large generator to help keep the San Juan airport open allowing for the delivery of life-saving supplies. We sent hundreds of emergency and disaster relief experts specializing in the restoration of communications networks to the island.
  • Innovative Approaches to Service Restoration: T-Mobile also used several innovative technology approaches to restore service. One of the solutions was Project Loon, an experimental system that our engineering experts worked on with the team at X, Alphabet’s Moonshot factory. This balloon-based LTE access allowed us to deliver more limited data and texting services to customers in hard to reach areas. Another example is our partnership with Vanu, which deployed several self-contained portable cellular network units that provide voice, data and text capabilities in some of the hardest hit areas.