The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people to stay home in order to try and combat the spread of the virus. For many, it has been a perfect time to binge some new shows on Netflix or Disney+. Others have turned increasingly to videoconferencing to work from home.
In response, Verizon announced that it is giving all of its wireless plan subscribers 15GB of high-speed data. Moreover, the company will waive overage charges and late fees for those directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. These, among several other efforts, echo what most major telecom companies have done to ease the lives of consumers as the world battles the coronavirus from home.
Nearly two weeks ago, the Federal Communications Commission launched the 60-day Keep Americans Connected Pledge. It sought to keep U.S. Internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile carriers from cutting the connections of consumers and small businesses. The pledge also asks providers to waive late fees that occur because of the pandemic.
Verizon, along with several other carriers, have adhered to the pledge, giving consumers peace of mind that their service will remain intact.
Ronan Dunne, CEO of Verizon’s Consumer Group, says, “We understand the hardships that many of our customers are facing, and we’re doing our part to ensure they have broadband internet connectivity during this unprecedented time.”
He adds, “With so many Americans working and learning remotely from home, having access to reliable and affordable internet is more important than ever before.”
Customers who have a metered data plan will see 15GB credited to their account starting on March 25. It can then be used through April 30. Those who already have unlimited data are getting an additional 15GB of 4G LTE data for their hotspots. That will be especially useful for those who rely on their hotspot for home internet. The data gifted to non-unlimited consumers can be used on their device or as a hotspot.
Although Verizon won’t charge for data overages, it isn’t removing data caps like some other carriers. Fortunately, the extra 15GB should mean that most consumers won’t need to worry about going over their limit. Those who do will likely need to call Verizon to have the charges removed.
Following the Trend
Verizon’s announcement, while still beneficial, does come significantly later than the moves of other carriers. Comcast is temporarily suspending its data caps for 60 days. Likewise, T-Mobile is removing data caps and also giving customers an additional 20GB of hotspot data. The fourth big carrier, AT&T isn’t suspending caps but is waiving overage charges.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai claims that every major ISP and telecom carrier has committed to his agency’s pledge.
Indeed, the tech industry has been incredibly active, giving consumers a multitude of ways to keep up during the coronavirus pandemic.
Zoom, a popular videoconferencing tool, is offering free connections for K-12 schools that need to carry out their education online. Meanwhile, major entertainment studios are either releasing big films early in a digital format or sending them to their streaming services. Disney’s “Frozen 2,” “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” and Universal’s “The Invisible Man” highlight the list.
As the world continues to ride out the coronavirus, actions like those of Verizon and other tech companies are making life a little easier.