Houston – While widespread power and water issues continue, we’re hearing from some people that cell phone service is also a problem and it’s not just because we don’t have power to keep them charged.
KPRC 2 reached out to multiple cell phone providers to find out if they’re having any problems and if so, what is causing the issues and what they’re doing to restore service.
Here are response we’ve received so far:
We continue to closely monitor Winter Storm Uri as it moves across the country and remain committed to keeping our customers, their families and the public safety community connected. Overall our network across impacted areas is performing well at nearly 99% of normal. And in order to assist others in the industry, we continue to keep our network open to some other companies’ customers to aid in recovery efforts too. Commercial power outages and damage from snow and ice may be affecting service for some wireless and wireline customers. We have generators supporting numerous cell sites and teams in the field refueling these generators as needed. While some areas may be inaccessible because of storm debris, downed power lines and icy road conditions, we are working to restore service as quickly and as safely as conditions allow.
Meanwhile, our teams continue to deploy and stage an arsenal of additional network recovery equipment to support customers and first responders, including SatCOLTs coming on air in Texas and hundreds generators across the storm’s path. Our teams and FirstNet liaisons are in contact with federal, state and local officials on our deployment efforts to support public safety and the communities in the in impacted areas.
After Winter Storm Uri brought harsh conditions to the US, we are extending relief to AT&T Wireless and AT&T PREPAID customers impacted by the storm. We are waiving data overage charges for customers in 2416 zip codes across Texas from February 17 through February 21.
To make this possible, we will be automatically waiving overage charges for AT&T wireless customers with billing addresses and AT&T PREPAID customers with phone numbers in directly impacted zip codes.
Despite continued widespread power outages throughout Texas, Verizon’s network is continuing to perform well overall in Houston. While winter storms are anything but usual in this part of the country, our network engineers have planned for the potential with investments in battery backup and backup generators in the event commercial power is lost, our customers stay connected. Our backup generators and redundant fiber rings for cell sites and switching centers are serving their intended purpose and keeping the majority of the network in the impacted area running and customers and first responders connected. Power outages are causing service interruptions for some scattered cell sites throughout the area. However the majority of Verizon customers should expect minimal service interruptions thanks to overlapping coverage (service from nearby cell sites.)
The severe weather event is continuing to layer ice and snow on an already frozen Houston, so we are emphasizing the importance of safety for our teams. When roads are again passable, our crews will resume their efforts to deploy portable generators and refuel generators currently running in the midst of widespread commercial power outages.
Our engineers in the virtual command center are in close communication with city and state officials and first responders to prioritize our response efforts as soon as it is safe to get our engineers and technicians back out on the streets.
Yesterday, we began offering unlimited calling, texting and data to all of its prepaid and postpaid customers in Austin, Brazoria, Calhoun, Galveston, Kinney, Llano, Mason, Throckmorton, Waller and Wharton counties.
Customers do not need to do anything to take advantage of this relief and can verify their community is included by entering their zip code at: https://www.verizon.com/featured/relief/ Please note: the eligible zip codes will be added to this website by later today.
The unlimited calling, texting and data will run through February 20.
T-MOBILE STATEMENTS (posted online yesterday)
(There is no mention of Houston in the response we received.)
We are continuing to monitor the situation closely. This afternoon (Feb 15), we are seeing restoration progress in the Austin market, with some sites coming back online. Our teams will continue to work around the clock to restore further in markets impacted by winter storm conditions.
Over the weekend and continuing today (Feb 15), severe weather is impacting multiple regions of the country with snow and ice conditions that has lead to loss of power in some areas.
As a result, we are currently experiencing network impacts in the Austin, San Antonio and Rio Grande Valley areas of Texas, as well as parts of Oregon.
Our teams are working with local utility and transport partners as safety conditions allow.
If your mobile service is interrupted or spotty, we recommend you try the following:
If you have home broadband and power but no mobile service, try Wi-Fi calling, which allows T-Mobile and Sprint customers with capable devices to text and make and receive voice calls via any capable Wi-Fi connection. IMPORTANT: If you have to call 911 using Wi-Fi, be sure to give your address to the operator.
If your mobile service is working, please try to keep calls to a minimum and as short as possible. This helps reduce the load on our network so others can get through.
Send a text instead of making a call. Text messages get through easier during times of congestion.
*During congestion, customers using >50GB/mo. and Essentials customers may notice lower speeds than other customers due to data prioritization. Metro by T-Mobile customers using >35GB/mo. may notice reduced speeds and Metro customers may notice reduced speeds vs. T-Mobile due to prioritization