Here’s How Telecom Companies Are Helping Customers During Coronavirus

Wondering what the country’s biggest cable and wireless providers are doing to lend a helping hand to customers during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic? Here’s a sampling of what some firms are doing to assist customers who are forced to work from home during this crisis.

Staying Up And Running

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has sparked a new IT challenge: Making sure most or all employees and students are able to work from home. To do that, citizens are relying on their home internet to stay connected during the outbreak.

To help with this unprecedented problem, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week announced an initiative -- the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge -- that carriers can join to help mitigate any issues associated with the work-from-home movement by promising not to terminate service, keeping public Wi-Fi hotspots open, and waiving any late fees for residential and small business customers while employees attempt to hunker down to curb potential spreading of the virus.

Here are seven U.S. carriers that have joined the pledge, and what the biggest carriers in the country are doing to aid customers that are practicing social distancing or are quarantined during the coronavirus outbreak.


AT&T, one of the first carriers to join the pledge, revealed last week that it would suspend data caps for some broadband internet customers as more employees are forced to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many of our AT&T internet customers already have unlimited home internet access, and we are waiving internet data overage for the remaining customers,” the Dallas-based carrier said in a statement. “Additionally, through Access From AT&T, we’ll continue to offer internet data to qualifying limited-income households for $10 a month.”

AT&T also said that business customers currently on or those that purchase an AT&T World Connect Advantage package will receive 50 percent off the current rate in a monthly bill credit. Businesses, universities and schools can also take advantage of Cisco Webex Meetings with AT&T for free for 90-days.

Charter Communications

Like AT&T, Charter Communications signed on to the Keep Americans Connected pledge last week.

Stamford, Conn.-based Charter also said that starting Monday and running for 60 days it will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access to households with K-12 or college students who do not already have a subscription and who now are taking classes online. Charter said that installation fees will be waived for new student households and the service level is up to 100 Mbps.


Cable giant Comcast last week announced it would up the data speeds for low-income internet customers and offer new customers 60 days of free service for its Internet Essentials program as more consumers are asked or mandated to work or take classes online from home.

Specifically, Philadelphia-based Comcast is increasing internet speeds for its Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers, which the company said will be the speed of the service going forward. The new speeds will be rolled out nationally to customers over the course of the week, Comcast said.

Cox Communications

Atlanta-based Cox Communications, in addition to signing the pledge, has activated its Business Continuity Plan for pandemic situations. The plan ensures the continuation of services during times of crisis, the carrier said.

Cox is upgrading internet speeds for its Starter, StraightUp Internet and Connect2Compete residential packages for the next 60 days. Additionally, Cox is extending its Cox Complete Care remote desktop support at no charge to residential customers. The service will provide remote helpdesk and assistance for loading new applications that customers might need, such as online classroom support applications and web conferencing services, according to the company.

"As learning and work for many shift to the home, we want customers to have access to the internet speeds and resources that help them to remain productive,” said Pat Esser, president and chief executive officer of Cox Communications. “During these uncertain times, we don’t want our residential customers to worry about their internet connection. Our network is built to handle peak use day and night to meet the full needs of families’ demands for entertainment, school assignments and late-night deadlines.”


Overland Park, Kansas-based wireless carrier Sprint last week signed on to the pledge to help its consumer and small business customers stay connected while working remotely. As part of the plan, customers with metered data plans can expect this week to receive unlimited data per month for 60 days at no extra cost. Sprint also said it will provide customers with an additional 20 gigabytes of mobile hotspot data per month for 60 days at no extra charge.

In addition to the pledge, Sprint told customers last week that T-Mobile, it's merger partner, has expanded roaming access for Sprint customers to use the T-Mobile network. Sprint’s network will have expanded coverage and capacity, which includes rural areas, over the next 60 days, the carrier said in a statement.


T-Mobile last week pledged to provide unlimited smartphone data across all mobile plans, including for its T-Mobile and prepaid Metro customers. The carrier is providing an additional 20 gigabytes of its mobile hotspot service for the next 60 days and is also offering free international calls to any Level 3-impacted nations worldwide.

The Bellevue, Wash.-based carrier said that effective this week, T-Mobile will temporarily close all indoor mall retail locations. The carrier said it will be maintaining compensation for its teams and supporting independent operators through the end of March.


Like its competitors, Verizon is helping its customers transition to teleworking and remote learning by signing the pledge and promising not to overcharge customers during the outbreak.

Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon has also increased its capex guidance by $500 million, or nearly 3 percent, to a range of $17.5 to $18.5 billion for this year. The carrier said its additional investment will “accelerate Verizon’s transition to 5G and help support the economy during this period of disruption.”