T-Mobile USA, Inc. is preparing for the potential impact of Hurricane Ike, anticipating landfall in central South Texas, but also preparing for impacts as far south as Brownsville and in the metro areas of Houston and San Antonio. The company is fully mobilizing all necessary resources to restore service to its customers and emergency first-responders if its cell sites are affected by the storm.
The T-Mobile Incident Command Team stands ready in Houston and two other Command Centers are assisting in New Orleans and Mobile, Ala. to mobilize teams of T-Mobile technicians and engineers as soon as post-hurricane conditions permit. The company’s Network Operation Center (NOC) in Frisco, Texas will also be responsible for managing network traffic during this event.
Additionally, T-Mobile is offering complimentary Wi-Fi Internet service making access free of charge for customers and non-customers alike. T-Mobile HotSpot Wi-Fi access will be available at participating locations beginning at 8:00 p.m. CDT tonight, September 11, throughout coastal Texas and up to 300 miles inland as well as in the New Orleans and coastal Louisiana areas.
Free Wi-Fi access will be available until noon CDT on the second day after Ike makes landfall to help people stay connected, especially for those who have evacuated their homes.
People can access complimentary T-Mobile HotSpot service during this limited time in the following locations where T-Mobile has agreements to offer HotSpot service:
- Airports: George Bush International Airport, Houston (Lufthansa Club); and Louis Armstrong International Airport, New Orleans (Delta Club)
- Over 170 Starbucks coffee shops in Texas and Louisiana
- FedEx Kinko’s
- Borders Books & Music stores
- Hyatt Hotels
- Red Roof Inns
- T-Mobile retail stores
T-Mobile is taking the following additional steps to prepare the company’s network for the storm:
- In the event of widespread power outages, T-Mobile has thousands of gallons of fuel accessible and ready-to-roll into the affected areas to power cell site generators and company repair/transport vehicles, and for other emergency circumstances.
- Backup generators and fuel tanks for regional network switch operations are in place, have been tested and fuel has been topped off.
- To further supplement the fixed and portable back-up generators, T-Mobile currently has in place at its cell sites throughout the region dozens more portable generators, ready to be transported to impacted areas.
- Microwave radio equipment has been trucked into the region to facilitate data communication from the cell sites to T-Mobile's network switches, as backup, in the event T1 fixed line service fails.
- T-Mobile has several Cells-On-Wheels (COWs) pre-staged in neighboring markets to move in and provide additional wireless communications capacity in the hardest-hit areas.
- T-Mobile will monitor evacuation efforts and routes, and will take steps to increase wireless capacity in those areas as customers move inland.
- The company also is coordinating recovery efforts with local, state and national officials.
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