COVID-19: Our Response / Nuestra Respuesta

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation evolves, AT&T's response to it evolves in real time. / Mientras desarrolla el estado de Coronavirus (COVID-19), la respuesta de AT&T al virus también evolucionara en tiempo real.

For our latest updates in English, please visit: about.att.com/pages/COVID-19.html.

Para nuestras últimas actualizaciones en Español, visite: about.att.com/pages/COVID-19_spa.html.

UPDATE: April 6, 2020

As our company responds to COVID-19, the health and safety of our colleagues, customers and communities remains our top priority. How we respond is critical to millions of people and companies around the world, and we’re committed to being there when they need us most. And we have a special responsibility to America’s first responders and public safety community, who rely on FirstNet, the nationwide wireless broadband communications platform dedicated to them, built and managed by AT&T.

Although this is an especially uncertain time, AT&T devotes enormous resources into planning for the unexpected. We maintain an ongoing continuity plan to ensure that every one of our internal teams – including my team – can continue to operate safely during this time. We also have a world-class Network Disaster Recovery organization designed to ensure the integrity of our physical network remains reliable.


OUR LATEST

Monday, April 6

FirstNet Supports New York City’s COVID-19 Emergency Response

In New York City, the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are being acutely felt. So, when Governor Cuomo implemented a plan for sharing healthcare resources across hospitals and health systems in the state, FirstNet stepped in to help ensure EMS and other first responders have the interoperable connectivity they need.

  • Hundreds of ambulances from outside the region have entered the city through mutual-aid efforts. Our team has equipped all ambulances with FirstNet Ready™ ultra-rugged Sonim XP8s with AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk (ePTT) Integrated Dispatch. And at their base location, we deployed FirstNet portable cell sites and new, temporary in-building solutions to increase network capacity for first responders and emergency staff
  • We are also working with public safety officials to help ensure connectivity for the USNS Comfort, a Navy medical treatment facility sent to relieve pressure on the city’s overburdened hospitals. With Band 14 spectrum on the port, this VIP communications lane means FirstNet subscribers are protected against commercial traffic congestion. That’s unique in the industry and something public safety won’t get anywhere but on the FirstNet network.

From activating devices, deploying FirstNet portable cell sites, installing microwave and more, the FirstNet team was able to take action the same day public safety requested support from their network. FirstNet provides a common, interoperable platform to enable reliable communication across multiple agencies and jurisdictions. That means city, state and federal, as well as extended mutual-aid users are all able to reliably and efficiently communicate. Read our latest blog to learn more about how we are supporting first responders across New York City.


April 2, 2020

HBO Encourages Viewers to #StayHomeBoxOffice with Hundreds of Hours of Free Programming

To provide some entertainment relief for those doing their part to keep everyone safe and healthy in this time of social isolation, HBO is making almost 500 hours of top programming available to stream for free for a limited time on HBO NOW and HBO GO – without a subscription – starting Friday, April 3. The list of free programming includes every episode of nine iconic HBO series such as The Sopranos, Veep, Six Feet Under and The Wire; major Warner Bros. blockbusters from HBO’s current catalog like Pokémon Detective Pikachu, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and Crazy, Stupid, Love; and 10 riveting HBO documentaries and docu-series including McMillion$ and The Case Against Adnan Syed.

All of the programming will be available to stream without a subscription starting Friday by downloading the HBO NOW or HBO GO apps or by visiting HBONOW.com or HBOGO.com. The content will also be made available for free via participating distribution partners’ platforms in the coming days. This is the first time HBO has made this volume of programming available outside of the paywall on HBO NOW & HBO GO.

Viewers can join the conversation and participate in interactive stunts throughout this offering by following @HBO on Twitter and Instagram and sharing the hashtag #StayHomeBoxOffice.

These aren’t circuits, but are lifelines in the war against COVID-19

We continue to be impressed by stories from the field about how our teams are being there for customers in these difficult times.

That certainly includes all the heroic doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals out there battling this unseen enemy. We’re counting on them to get us through this crisis. And they’re counting on us for connectivity and devices to change the way they operate, stand up new facilities, and keep serving those in need.

Check out a few examples of how we’re making a difference in the latest blog here.

AT&T Supports First Responders, Medical Personnel with Nourishing Meals During Pandemic

Across the country – and around the world – first responders and medical personnel are playing a critical role in helping care for their communities during the COVID-19 crisis. In recognition, AT&T is committing $5.5 million in much needed support – in the form of nourishing meals – for these heroes and others in need because of COVID-19 impacts. The effort begins now with a $1.5 million contribution to World Central Kitchen.

World Central Kitchen uses the power of food to heal and strengthen communities in times of crisis and beyond. The nonprofit organization activates restaurants and kitchens to feed marginalized and vulnerable communities in times of need. In the face of COVID-19, their team of food first responders are delivering individually packaged nourishing meals to the nurses, doctors and EMTs working around the clock to serve our communities during these unprecedented times.

We’re also supporting Feeding America, the Salvation Army and Team Rubicon. AT&T will also be collaborating with a host of additional local organizations in communities most impacted by the pandemic. Together, these organizations will help create a network of expertise in food security, disaster response and community engagement to deploy the resources needed to reach the most vulnerable populations across the country.

For more information on these efforts, please visit our full announcement here.

Software-Centric Network Keeps Business Customers Connected in a Highly Safe Manner

You don’t design a network for a pandemic. But it turns out that building your network on software and open hardware specifications can help make it ready for just about anything. Check out the latest blog from AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch, who explains how AT&T’s network transformation journey is helping companies around the world connect their employees to their corporate networks in the middle of a pandemic.

Learn More


April 1, 2020

How to Request Waiver of Late Fees and Overage Charges

We know that many people are experiencing economic hardships as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. AT&T is keeping you connected 24/7. As part of this effort, we'll waive:



Late payment fees for postpaid wireless, home phone or broadband residential customers  


Domestic postpaid wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential postpaid wireless customers  

The waiver applies to these fees or charges you may incur between March 13, 2020, and May 13, 2020, due to economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic. Have your user ID and password ready and click here to submit a waiver request.

Please allow one to two billing cycles to see your credit, if applicable.


March 31, 2020

New mobile traffic patterns emerging; businesses are rapidly adopting the new “remote work” norm and schools are implementing the “learn from home” norm

As people are doing their best to self-isolate, AT&T’s network is keeping people connected. With many now at home, people have increased their reliance on broadband and voice, and finding various ways to collaborate with their colleagues and customers, teachers and students.

And of course, people are also finding different ways to entertain themselves while at home. We’ve seen an uptick in kids, family and news viewership in recent weeks as well.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen new and vastly different mobility traffic patterns set in. In the last three weeks, here’s what we’ve seen on our mobile network alone:

Voice calls: +33%  
Instant messaging: +63%  
Text messaging: +41%  
Emailing: -18%  
Web browsing: -5%  
Video: +4% (also accounts for over half of all mobility traffic)  

And on the other hand, how businesses and schools are communicating has steadily increased the usage of conferencing tools, which are at an all-time high. Here’s what we’ve seen over the last few weeks:

AT&T’s global audio-conferencing solution: +200%  
Audio, web and video conferencing tools: +400% more minutes
Large-scale webcast events: +200%  

And don’t overlook that latter point on large-scale webcast events. Many companies are now more reliant than ever in virtual townhalls and events to communicate what’s taking place during this pandemic. And schools are using them to create virtual classrooms to educate their students.

Despite these dramatic shifts in traffic patterns, our network continues to perform well. We’ve invested billions of dollars in our software-defined network, and it has paid off. We’re able to respond rapidly to surges in traffic and help meet the quickly evolving needs of our customers. When we see stress, we are proactively augmenting where needed.

Through our journey to a software-defined network, we’ve built in AI capabilities to help us move to a 5G world. And some of those tools are helping us optimize our wireless network during this crisis.

For example, we’re actively using AI to:






Reset our 4G and 5G cell sites: When cell site issues are detected, we have an automated process to collect data, analyze and reset the site. AI is also helping us conserve energy, by “waking up” some cells more frequently as traffic increases, while others, such as in office parks and buildings that are less occupied now, go to sleep more.  




Detect customer equipment issues: AI is also helping us remotely troubleshoot and diagnose problems with customer equipment, by identifying the cause or even proactively identifying a potential issue before it occurs.




Avoid network traffic congestion: We’ve expedited deployments of new AI capabilities in certain markets that will allow us to balance the traffic load within a sector and across sectors to help avoid overloading specific cells and improve the experience.

And of course, we're doing other things to support more people working and learning from home, such as adding additional spectrum (capacity) to cell sites to improve customers' experience. This is a new world, and it seems to change daily. But one thing’s for sure: you can count on us.

FirstNet Communications Platform Celebrates Connecting First Responders for 2 Years

The COVID-19 health crisis illustrates precisely why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet, the only nationwide high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders. And as the nation continues to combat the spread of this disease, the FirstNet® communications platform – built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – is bringing advanced capabilities to first responders across the country.

  1. First responder public safety agencies on FirstNet can get premium FirstNet Ready™ smartphone devices for free for their agency paid users to connect them to critical communications when and where they need it most. All they have to do is get a new FirstNet Mobile – Unlimited for Smartphone line of service or eligible upgrade with either a 2-year service agreement or a new AT&T Installment 30-month agreement and meet some other conditions.
  2. We're delivering new capabilities to first responders. Developed from the ground up specifically for and with public safety, FirstNet Push-to-Talk (PTT) is the first-ever nationwide mission-critical standards-based push-to-talk solution to launch in the U.S. FirstNet PTT is designed to enable public safety to use their smartphones, feature phones, and specialized ultra-rugged devices like they would use a two-way radio, with highly reliable, high-performance calling.

Read more about both here.

VitalTech and AT&T Business Offer Free Telehealth Services

In the past week, The President of the United States and the Department of Health and Human Services both strongly urged the use of Telehealth as a preventive and proactive public health measure. Further, The Telehealth Government Funding Package for COVID-19 was just passed, which enabled through significant government funding and lifting constraints on Medicare’s payments for telehealth so beneficiaries can freely consult their doctors remotely, avoiding hospitals and physicians’ offices where they might risk exposure to the virus.

Today we announced a collaboration with VitalTech, a rapidly growing market leader in virtual care, telehealth and remote patient monitoring, to provide 60 days of free telehealth services through the VitalCare® platform.

This collaboration will allow AT&T and VitalTech to help deliver patient-centered care when and where they need it most. AT&T will bring highly secure connectivity and data analytics, while utilizing AT&T and VitalTech’s innovation capabilities to bring a reliable end-to-end Virtual Care solution to the industry. Read more about this collaboration here.


March 30, 2020

We’re Doing More to Help our Wireless Customers Stay #ConnectedTogether

Since staying in touch virtually with friends, family and colleagues has never been more important, we’re giving more relief to our AT&T wireless customers during this time of crisis.

Our newest benefits include more mobile hotspot data, accessory discounts, flexible return policy, curb-side pick-up, door step delivery and free express shipping.

Offers include:






More mobile hotspot data – We are automatically increasing mobile hotspot data by 15GB a month for each line on an unlimited plan that currently includes a monthly tethering allotment. That means if you’re on AT&T Unlimited Elite you’ll automatically get 45GB a month of tethering per line. Click here to see how to setup your mobile hotspot.  





What you want online, even easier – When you purchase or upgrade your device online, we’ll give you free express shipping, as well as waive or credit the activation, upgrade and restocking fees. We’re also giving wireless customers 20% off accessories when you order through att.com/accessories. Exclusions and restrictions apply.  

For more information on these new benefits, click here.


March 26, 2020

Bonus for Frontline Managers

We are recognizing first-level managers who supervise our non-management employees and first-level managers who are required to leave their homes to complete their work with a monthly appreciation bonus of up to $1,000 for time worked, effective March 25 and until further notice. We will share more details on eligibility and the payout date soon.


March 25, 2020

AT&T Gives 20% Bonus to Front Line Employees

We have a responsibility like few other companies during the coronavirus pandemic. Doctors and healthcare providers, our FirstNet first responders and all our customers depend on us to stay connected.

Thank you to all our employees, but particularly our front-line employees who are working hard serving customers during this challenging time.

To show our appreciation for these employees, effective March 25 and until further notice:





We’ll pay a 20% bonus above the regular hourly base rate of pay to bargained-for employees for all time worked in the field, office or at home. That bonus will be included in their regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating overtime rates.  

We appreciate our employees' commitment to being there for our customers and each other.

CWA Recognizes AT&T Actions to Support Employees
(See Statement)

Our members are doing incredible work under extraordinary circumstances, and the bonus pay we negotiated with AT&T recognizes that work. We have also worked together to reach agreements for enhanced safety procedures and sick and family leave protection for all CWA-represented AT&T workers.

Our priority is to ensure worker and customer safety, solve problems, and provide reliable essential service to our customers. We continue to work collaboratively to address issues as they arise.

AT&T’s response to this crisis should be a model for other corporations. Concrete actions like this bonus, enhanced safety procedures, sick and family leave protection, and suspension of stock buybacks prove that AT&T cares about its employees and their customers.

Connecting Military and Family at No Cost

We’re helping keep our military and their families connected during this difficult time. We’ve worked out an agreement with the Navy Exchange Command that allows military personnel stationed on selected Navy ships to make calls to their loved ones through April 30 at no cost to the Navy or its sailors.

Be on the Look Out for Scammers

Scammers are trying to take advantage of the global health emergency. While we have not seen an increase of suspicious robocalls across our network, an increasing percentage of fraudulent robocalls are using coronavirus as bait.

Here are some of the things we do to fight bad robocalls, and how you can help.





We recently added AT&T Call Protect for millions of AT&T wireless customers at no charge. It’s a network-level service that automatically blocks suspected fraud calls. It also labels spam and other categories of calls so you can choose to answer or not.  



To block more unwanted calls, send them straight to voicemail, or customize the service, you can download our free accompanying app of the same name – AT&T Call Protect.  



You can report unwanted robocalls that get through – to help us make our blocking services even stronger. Just click on the bad call in the app’s call log.  

HOW WE'VE BEEN RESPONDING

AT&T is proud to support our customers by pledging that, for 60 days, we will:

  1. Not terminate the service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer because of their inability to pay their bill due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  2. Waive any late payment fees that any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer may incur because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic.1
  3. Waive domestic wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers incurred because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic.
  4. Keep our public Wi-Fi hotspots open for any American who needs them.

1 The coronavirus pandemic is causing many hardships. If you find yourself in financial trouble and unable to pay your bill, we’re here to help you. Please contact us at 800-288-2020 for AT&T broadband, residential wireless or small business services and 611 from your AT&T device for wireless.

To provide further relief and support, AT&T previously announced: 

Unlimited AT&T Home Internet

All AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data. Additionally, we’ll continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through our Access from AT&T program. We’ve expanded eligibility to Access from AT&T to households participating in the National School Lunch Program and Head Start. Additionally, we’re offering new Access from AT&T customers two months of free service.

Helping You Work and Learn Remotely

Businesses, universities and schools can keep their teams and classrooms connected through conference calls and video conferencing with Cisco Webex Meetings with AT&T for 90-days, and seamlessly forward calls to both mobile and landline phones with AT&T IP Flexible Reach. We’re also offering schools a way to save on unlimited wireless broadband connectivity for students. Through May 22nd, qualified schools activating new lines on qualified data-only plans for school-issued tablets, 4G LTE-enabled laptops and hotspot devices will get the wireless data service at no cost for 60 days.

Distance Learning

We’ve created a new $10 million Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund to give parents, students and teachers tools they need for at-home learning. The fund also will provide resources to maintain meaningful connections and bonding opportunities for those isolated from family and friends. Our first contribution of $1 million will go to Khan Academy. This collaboration will improve and expand online learning resources to meet growing demand from parents, teachers and students, including those who rely on free resources and need Khan Academy the most. AT&T is also funding 60 days of free access and unlimited usage of Caribu, a video-calling application that allows family members to read, draw, and play games with one another while in distant locations.

AT&T is underwriting expenses for a “one-stop” resource center to support eLearning Days from the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) available to all educators in schools to help them handle school closures and the increase in virtual learning due to COVID-19.

Serving Those who Serve

AT&T is redirecting more resources to provide communication services and tools for first responders, health care professionals, educators and other essential customers. This additional support will help ensure these customers can continue providing critical support to the country and their communities, particularly to first responders using the FirstNet network.

As first responders across the country stand on the front lines to support our nation’s response to COVID-19, they can have confidence knowing that with FirstNet they’ll have the unthrottled connectivity and priority communications they need to respond during this public health emergency. It’s this type of unparalleled emergency support that distinguishes FirstNet, the only nationwide wireless broadband communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders and public safety community, from best-effort commercial wireless networks built for consumer use.

Extending Paid Leave for our Employees

As we continue to assess the impact of COVID-19 on our business, our people and our communities, we recognize some of our employees have specific needs and cannot fulfill their roles either at the workplace or from home during this time — so we want to continue to help. We are extending our original 80 hours of paid, excused time off to up to a total of 160 hours for the following scenarios:

  • Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and remain quarantined.
  • Employees who are at higher risk due to an underlying health condition.
  • Parents or guardians of children whose schools or daycares have closed for COVID-19 and for whom another child care option is not yet available.
  • Primary caregiver for someone diagnosed with COVID-19 who is unable to provide self-care.

Reducing Retail Locations

Due to coronavirus, we will begin to close additional AT&T stores across the nation, significantly reducing our retail footprint to a minimum number of locations required to serve first responders, healthcare workers, government users and our customers. Where possible, we will keep at least one retail location open within a 20-mile radius in urban and suburban areas, and just over a 30-mile radius in rural areas. To locate a retail store that will remain open to serve your area, please visit our store tracker at www.att.com/stores.


AT&T continues to work internally and with community partners to find additional ways to keep people connected. That’s what we have done for 145 years.

You can find more information and the latest updates about AT&T’s response to COVID-19 at about.att.com/pages/COVID-19.html.

And to help make better sense of the headlines, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been hosting a CNN Podcast: “Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction.” Listen here: www.cnn.com/audio/podcasts/corona-virus.

For more information on how to protect yourself from COVID-19, please keep informed through the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Please stay safe and healthy,

AT&T


Download our one-pager that highlights the portions of our response pertaining to FCC Chairman Pai’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge”

Descargue nuestro localizador único que destaca las porciones de nuestra respuesta relacionadas con el compromiso "Mantener a los Estadounidenses Conectados" del Presidente de la FCC Pai.

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