U.S. carriers waive fees to call, text Japan

Verizon waiving charges through April 10; AT&T, through March 31

Major U.S. wireless carriers are waiving fees on calls and text messages to Japan as well as texted mobile donations made to emergency relief efforts in Japan.

Verizon Wireless on Monday announced that calls and text and multimedia messages to Japan will be free for post-paid customers (who receive a monthly bill from Verizon) through April 10.

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Also, all calls made from residential landline phones to Japan will be billed at zero through April 10 as well, without using any minutes from time-allotments, Verizon said. Verizon prepaid phone charges to Japan through April 10 will also be waived.

AT&T said a similar offer for its customers will apply through March 31. It is waiving wireless postpaid charges for calls and text messages to Japan.

Residential landline customers with AT&T will receive 60 minutes of credit for direct dial calls to Japan through March 31. Both AT&T and Verizon Wireless joined Sprint Nextel in waiving text-message charges for making donations to various relief and recovery groups working to provide aid to Japan.

The number of groups varies by carrier, although all three carriers support free texting of "REDCROSS" to 90999 to donate $10 on behalf of the American Red Cross.

Verizon listed 10 organizations where mobile text charges are waived, the most of the three carriers, in a statement .

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

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