Following news of Tuesday's deadly terror attacks in Brussels, many of the world's largest telecommunications companies said they will waive fees for customers trying to reach people in Belgium and Turkey. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, which killed at least 30 people in the Belgian capital.
In what has become a pattern for the telecom industry, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile and Canada's Telus announced that all calls and texts to and from the surrounding area could be made free of charge for specific periods of time. (Telus has the most generous policy, lasting until April 5.)
Verizon and AT&T issued press releases, while other companies limited their announcements to statements on Twitter.
— AT&T (@ATT) March 22, 2016
— MarceloClaure (@marceloclaure) March 22, 2016
Please connect with your loved ones in #Brussels. All calls and texts to and from the area are free until Apr. 5.
— TELUS (@TELUS) March 22, 2016
— Virgin Mobile USA (@virginmobileusa) March 22, 2016
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) March 22, 2016
Verizon vice president of global corporate communications Jeffrey Nelson told Adweek, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to colleagues and customers with friends and family in Belgium and Turkey." He added, "We all mourn for their loss. Our customers are diverse and globally connected with loved ones around the world, and our employees are honored to support them in our community by having charges waived for the days following the attacks in both Turkey and Brussels."
An AT&T spokesperson directed Adweek to an announcement in its online newsroom.
Tech giants Google and Skype have not announced similar pricing changes, although they each did so after the November 2015 attacks in Paris.
Airbnb activated its "disaster response tool" Tuesday as it did last year, waiving fees for hosts and travelers in need of somewhere to stay through March 25. And Uber waived its surge pricing in and around Brussels.
We have activated our disaster response tool in Belgium for those in urgent need of somewhere to stay. https://t.co/8W2FCW5XCo
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) March 22, 2016
Due to recent events, our service is affected. Demand is high, surge pricing is off, drivers are busy. Be safe and thanks for your patience.
— Uber Brussels (@Uber_BXL) March 22, 2016
Facebook also activated its "safety check," which allows users near the attacks to mark themselves and loved ones as safe.