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T-Mobile Offers Relief for Hurricane Victims 299

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the good-samaritan-or-just-good-publicity dept.
lilrowdy18 writes "Eweek reports that T-Mobile is offering free Wi-Fi to areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. This relief will be free until Sept 2 and an evaluation will be done to see if it will continue after that. The hot spots are only available to residents of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi and does not include phone service. The article also includes a link to a map of T-Mobile hotspots. At least we can use some form of communication to get in touch with loved ones."
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T-Mobile Offers Relief for Hurricane Victims

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  • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:37PM (#13447160) Homepage
    I had a friend, located in Biloxi, MS contact me via SMS this morning to let me know that he and his family were all ok. Their house and their cars were flooded out. He had to turn off the mobile after a couple messages to conserve energy.

    Now, I saw this story ahead of time (and t-mobile's site was already snail slow) but I got to the page for Mississippi. My SMS to him:

    t-mobile is offering free wifi to hurricane victims: Flowood (Borders),
    Kinkos (Hattiesburg & Jackson), and Starbucks (Ridgeland & Southaven)


    Now, after I sent it, I thought about it. In the entire state of MS they have *5* wifi hotspots? Are these locations operational? Will they offer some electric draw for those that need it?

    I really think it's great that t-mobile is offering this to those people affected by the storm but so few locations and many w/o power? What good can it really do? Skype, where are you?

    Most of these people would probably prefer telephone service over Internet access. Luckily this guy was able to e-mail via SMS and get in touch w/those that care about him.

    I'm just glad that one of the people I know from the area is ok and I wish all those affected by the storm the best of luck for a speedy and safe recovery.

    I have put up a mirror of locations [lazylightning.org] in text format. Hopefully this will be easier to disseminate.

    • I really think it's great that t-mobile is offering this to those people affected by the storm but so few locations and many w/o power? What good can it really do? Skype, where are you?


      Exactly what I thougth, making a bad quote "what good is a free wireless when you have no power".
      • "what good is a free wireless when you have no power".
        Depends on your laptop battery life I suppose.

        Though overall this seems much less important a communications opening then cellphones and landlines...not to mention every other form of utility from basic sanitation to water to electricity.
    • Who needs a free hotspot when we can go "war boating"
      What I don't understand is why we aren't mobilizing Guard units from other states, for example, Ohio. I would love to go and help out. (One can't always leave work to go help the Red Cross, but when the Guard calls, you pretty much have to answer the pager, employer be damned....)
      Sort of makes one want a freeplay radio... at least to listen to what is going on. (ccradio.com)
      And I do feel for all the suffering, but although there were quite a few people
  • Only 3 days?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TurdTapper (608491) * <seldonsplan@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:37PM (#13447161) Journal
    This relief will be free until Sept 2

    That doesn't make any sense. Why would you only do it for 3 days and then "evaluate" whether you'll charge or not. Why in the world wouldn't you offer it for at least a week or two before evaluating? So if you are stuck in the disaster area and want to get a hold of someone that way, you've only got until Friday. After that you are out of luck or you might have to pay.

    I think it's good they are helping out, but that's almost a cheap way to get some good press.

    If you are a company like that and you really want to help, then go in whole-heartedly.
    • Re:Only 3 days?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trusty Penfold (615679) * <jon_edwards@spanners4us.com> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:40PM (#13447193) Journal
      Exactly - if they want to help then they'll help. If their PR department wants something to do then they'll do this.
    • Perhaps they are afraid of a mad rush of people clamboring to their wi-fi spots - which are businesses that may or may not be able to handle it.
    • Re:Only 3 days?? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Is 3 days really insufficient to *contact* someone? Your post looks like a troll to me: "for any x, complain that it's not >x".
      • We are talking about tens of thousands of people at their 5 spots. If you think you can get tens of thousands of people through those spots in 5 days I'd be very interested to see how you plan to do that.
        • Re:Only 3 days?? (Score:3, Informative)

          by joeljkp (254783)
          Like others have said, I can't see how this is going to do any good. Any little bit helps, I guess, but free Wi-Fi? 80% of Mississippi is out of power, last I heard. My parents are in Ridgeland (next to Jackson), and official word was that they won't get power at all until the 2nd. Does Starbucks have a Wi-fi generator or something? I can understand shipments of food, a rush of temporary cell phone towers, free pay-as-you-go phones for people in the area... but free Wi-Fi for 3 days in flooded areas with no
    • Re:Only 3 days?? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stienman (51024) <adavis@ub[ ]cs.com ['asi' in gap]> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @02:04PM (#13447466) Homepage Journal
      Why would you only do it for 3 days and then "evaluate" whether you'll charge or not.

      One word: Spammers. Or, more generally, idiots who *will* abuse the system. It's not like a food line where you can pretty easily evenly distribute scarce resources and prevent people from poisoning the stew.

      After three days they'll have a pretty good idea of patterns of usage and optimize the service to weed out the abusers. They will also likely tweak the caches so that most frequently used resources will be readily available without tying up the backbones so much.

      Chances are good it was sold to higher management as a good publicity stunt, but managment is afraid that it'll either become very costly, or they'll destroy the service for users who actually pay for it. So the 3-day completely free is a good compromise. They can gauge complaints and usage, and then make a longer term decision.

      -Adam
      • Re:Only 3 days?? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tachyonflow (539926) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @02:57PM (#13447920) Homepage
        Um... there are already gazillions of free wi-fi hotspots that are free. Spammers don't have to wait for T-Mobile hotspots to become free. Besides, many hotspots (probably including T-Mobile) firewall port 25 for good measure.

        Free hotspots may not be common in most areas of rural southern MS, but chances are that any area yuppified enough to have a T-Mobile hotspot probably also has free hotspots nearby.

        In fact, just last night as I was walking around my neighborhood in Denver, I came across a freakin' laundromat advertising free wi-fi [davidsimmons.com]! I had to take a picture. :)

    • Re:Only 3 days?? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vought (160908)
      How big of them.

      Why don't they offer free service to their customers in afffected ZIP codes for a month?

      Why don' they donate some time andd money to the Red Cross?

      For fuck's sake, most people who survived this don't have power, and may have gotten away with a laptop.

      Thanks, Slashdot, for amplifying T-Mobile's limp-wristed PR move. Maybe they'll breate a breath for New Orleanians next!
      • How big of them.

        [rest of bitch whine moan... snipped]


        And what are you doing for the victims of Katrina?

        Just curious.
        • by vought (160908)
          Well, asshole, since you asked, I've given as much as I can afford to the Red Cross, and my mom and dad, both Baton Rouge residents (I lived in NEw Orleans for several years and I'm from Lousiana) are participating in the rescue effort.

          Sorry I can't make it, as I live here in California, but T-Mobile's "gesture" is more for the benefit of of their own PR than for any storm victims.
          • Re:Only 3 days?? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by That's Unpossible! (722232) * on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @03:40PM (#13448224)
            Well, asshole

            Priceless.

            You're mad at me because you didn't like someone criticizing you for not doing enough to help the victims of Katrina, when in fact you are doing something.

            Sound familiar? [slashdot.org]
    • Re:Only 3 days?? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Phroggy (441) * <slashdot3@nOSPam.phroggy.com> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @02:20PM (#13447605) Homepage
      That doesn't make any sense. Why would you only do it for 3 days and then "evaluate" whether you'll charge or not. Why in the world wouldn't you offer it for at least a week or two before evaluating?

      Why don't you think it makes sense to evaluate it after 3 days? That doesn't mean they'll turn it off or start charging money, it means they'll look at it to see what's going on - are people actually using the free service? If not, why not? If so, are they using it to communicate with loved ones, or downloading porn?

      Hopefully their review in 3 days will show that people are using the service the way it was intended, and they'll decide to continue the program.

      As others have pointed out, people need food and water... but T-Mobile doesn't have food and water on hand. They have this, so they're giving this.
    • Why would you only do it for 3 days
       
      Because after three days everyone has had time to decide whether they're going to have regular services restored to their area fairly soon or their area is an utter disaster and they should relocate for a few months.
  • Whew! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Geekenstein (199041) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:39PM (#13447181)
    Well that's good. What people without electricity, food, drinking water, and a roof over their heads really need is internet access!

    So, exactly how does someone without power get a computer working? Are they really that hard up for porn?

    Hey T-mo! Stop pushing your products and instead give something that could really help. Like phone service so people can call loved ones, or cold hard cash to help bring relief.
    • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:55PM (#13447375) Homepage
      T-mobile does not have electricity, food, drinking water, or building materials. They could possibly buy such things, but it isn't what they have on hand. What they have is wireless communication services. They are a cell phone company. They are giving what they have.

      I'll agree that perhaps this isn't going to be the most realistically useful thing ever. But at least they are doing something.

      Yes, free cell phone service would have possibly been something that t-mobile has which would be even more useful, but there are practical barriers there. That is, most people don't have cell phones which you can just reassign to a different cell phone carrier at will, and even with phones with such features most people don't know how to use them. It seems likely either you're an existing t-mobile customer and can already use their network, or you're not easily going to be getting on their cell network anyway. Wifi may have a more limited utility than cell service, but there's fewer logistics involved in letting people use it.

      In the meantime, if you or anyone else reading this is really concerned with being productive, something easy to do to help would maybe be instead of complaining on slashdot, take the time in the next couple of days to donate blood [nctimes.com]
      • Donate blood? Isn't that we were all encouraged to do after 9/11 and then something like 80% of it got dumped because there really wasn't a need for a sudden influx of 28 gazillion units of whole blood?

        If you really want to help, contact your local Red Cross or Salvation Army about how you can best make a donation.

        Oh, and you should donate blood every 56 days, all year round - not just when there is some major catastrophe.
        • I guess none of the groups relax the 56-day-minimum, even for biggish guys who (I would guess) could spare an extra pint or so?

          Course my blood is B positive anyway, not as useful as most other types.
      • What about phone cards? T-Mobile's a phone company, they can give away phone card numbers to people so they can get ahold of loved ones, even if it's just 20 minutes; long enough to say "Hi Mom, I'm still alive, I love you." Besides, phone service is much more ubiquitous than Internet service, and phone cards are cheap.

        It really feels like a promotion instead of general charity. I mean come on, WiFi? How many people would even be able to use this service verses general telephony, or even handing out "dis
      • They don't need Blood, they need money, food, water, and places for shelter. Donate THAT via Red Cross, your church, Salvation Army, and here at work our company is using the charity matching benefit to double what we give.

        Even if they had wi-fi access, how long will your battery last w/o some way to recharge it via the wall charger or your car chargeer. Cell phones can work on different carriers networks, they have to for 911 calls. It would take a little reprogramming and some co-operation among the compa
        • Cell phones can work on different carriers networks, they have to for 911 calls.

          This is true -- in an extremely limited sense. In the US, every major carrier traditionally used different technology. AT&T/Cingular Orange uses TDMA. AT&T/Cingular Blue (their newer network), and T-Mobile use GSM (the same as the rest of the world). Verizon uses CDMA, Sprint uses PCS (a CDMA variant running on a different frequency). Most Verizon, Sprint and Cingular Orange phones can fall back to AMPS -- the old

      • Hey, don't get me wrong, I'm all for donating blood in principle.

        But people are dying of exposure and drowning. Blood transfusions will do nothing for them.

        I'm sure there are some injured people around who do need some blood, perhaps more than normal. But given that there aren't refrigerated trucks to get the blood there (hell, there isn't even gas), what good is this influx of blood really going to do?

        Honestly, cell phone service would probably be more useful than blood in those areas right now.

        Cue the ham
    • From CNN, I believe they are providing this service to try to help find loved ones; earlier I was listening in, and it sounds like tonnes of E-mail services, and website forums are being flooded by people looking for their families online.

      If T-Mobile set up a centralized "find-me" server, drove around with some laptops and actually tried to lend a helping hand, I'd love to support them, but yeah, at this point, it does look like a PR move.
    • Are they really that hard up for porn?

      Is that a trick question?
    • I'd like to see proof showing the dollar amounts you have personally donated to the cause. By the way, I haven't made any donations (yet), but I welcome T-Mobile's contribution and I hope it spurs many more companies to follow suit.

  • Woo Hoo! (Score:5, Funny)

    by maccroz (126399) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:39PM (#13447183)
    We may not have a house, a vehicle, or any earthly posessions for that matter, but at least we have free WiFi with our frappuccino!
    • Yep, because that is the one thing everyone grabbed, or has, is their laptop before hitting the road. I bet half the people that have one forgot it all together on that mad dash out of town.
  • This is just great, this is just what these people need. Free WIFI for a couple of days

    Actually this is a clever PR stunt by T-Mobile, it is not like anyone actually has electricity to use these hotspots.

    These victims need water, food, clothing and shelter. And of course money to rebuild, why not donate a couple days of revenue instead of free WIFI?
  • Uhmm... (Score:3, Informative)

    by SpaFF (18764) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:41PM (#13447202) Homepage
    T-mobile does realize that there's no power, right?

    If they want to help, they can get more manpower working on the phone system. I evacuated from New Orleans to north Alabama, and my t-mobile phone service has been spotty at best. I haven't been able to make outgoing calls for the last 3 days and I've only been able to get a few incoming calls.

  • Ham radio (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wumpus188 (657540) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:42PM (#13447231)
    Another option is to go meet your friendly neighbor ham radio op. I'm sure there is an emergency net operating right now.
    • Re:Ham radio (Score:2, Informative)

      by wumpus188 (657540)
      Adding to my post... Go here [arrl.org] to search for ham radio operators in your area.
  • by scovetta (632629) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:42PM (#13447233) Homepage
    Krispy Kreme is offering residents whose homes were destroyed a chance to win a free dozen donuts.

    Similarly, Pizza Hut is offering a Buy-1-Get-1-Free offer for anyone who lives in New Orleans (good until tomorrow morning).
  • Great.. VOIP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nostriluu (138310) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:42PM (#13447234) Homepage
    I'm sure this will help many people deal with the emergency by using the net to communicate.. an interesting side effect, since phone service isn't provided, is people will probably use more VOIP programs such as Skype, which are an alternative to T-Mobile's regular service..
  • its like saying.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dotpavan (829804)
    Fantasy World is giving free lapdances at their nearest location.. do they really need it at that hour? they could set up some more towers or join other mobile operators and provide a blanket coverage all over these states for greater accessibility (free roaming or so)
  • OT: Good news (Score:4, Informative)

    by bersl2 (689221) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:45PM (#13447270) Journal
    • Re:OT: Good news (Score:2, Informative)

      by tazanator (681948)
      12:11 P.M. - Army Corps: Water has become level with the Lake in the city so no more water should flow into the city, except at high tide. okay it's seems better the way you said it...
    • Re:OT: Good news (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tcopeland (32225) * <tom@thomaslYEATS ... d.com minus poet> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:54PM (#13447362) Homepage
      > Water has become level with the Lake
      > in the city so no more water should flow
      > into the city, except at high tide.

      Yup, but looks like that's only because the water levels have equalized, not because the levee breaks have been plugged. Argh.
      • Re:OT: Good news (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Xzzy (111297) <sether@@@tru7h...org> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @02:06PM (#13447479) Homepage
        But it eases the rebuilding of the levees, which is a prerequisite to pumping water out of the city.

        Building a barrier in standing water is a lot easier than building one in rushing water.
      • Yes, but the lake level is actaully droppingback to normal so water may start flowing the other way!! Which complicates things, then they have to get the pumps back working which may be underwater, I guess they could bring in some huge oil rig mud pumps on barges and start with that. It's good news but it's a long way from the crisis being over. I wonder about the Mississippi river levees when all the rain in the TN and OH Valley areas gets down there.
  • What great guys they are at T-Mobile! Reaching out with free wifi. I'm touched. Its a great marketing move, and during the next catastrophe they can plan ahead and hand out free 6oz bottles of water with a "T-Mobile" label.

    At really big emergencies, they can give out free "T-Mobile" blankets

    For the next terrorist attack, they can hand out bandages with "T-Mobile" subtly stitched in.

  • Nextel (Score:2, Informative)

    by L. VeGas (580015)
    A coworker told me that he has been using Nextel to communicate with people in the area without any problems whatsoever. Not free, but he said it works.
  • by BYC(VCU.EDU) (831956) * on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:47PM (#13447294) Homepage
    It's better than going to Six Flags. Free Admission to KATRINA Evacuees Over Labor Day Weekend http://www.sixflags.com/parks/astroworld/ParkPress /Katrina.html [sixflags.com] Hey! House under water? Everything you own destroyed? Come eat overpriced food, spend your last $80 and watch other people have fun!
    • You joke about it, but honestly, as a parent of a young child, something like this would be very nice. Try spending the past few days with kids cramped inside your car because you can't find any open hotels, with several more days to look forward to. You'll be glad for the opportunity to give them something to do.
      • Yup, that was the hardest part about not having power for a few weeks after 2 'canes here in Fl. last year.

        Imagine, if you can, my sweet little 4 year old looking up at me and saying "Daddy, I want to watch Nemo..."

        Now imagine daddy (me) looking down at her with sad eyes and saying "I wish you could watch Nemo too sweetie...."
    • If you were evacuating from a hurricane would you move:

      A. Inland

      B. Along the coast
      Might as well be Graceland. Memphis is about as close to the heart of the damaged areas as Houston....

      *sigh*

  • by major.morgan (696734) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:54PM (#13447367) Homepage
    While others are donating real money out of their personal pockets, T-Mobile is donating a couple of hundred dollars worth of Wi-Fi. How about handing out some of the cheap pre-paid phones with service. Or better yet, some communications centers with computers and phones that people can come and try to get a message out to their families.

    A couple of trucks with personnel, generators, multiple GPRS data connections, computers and a dozen cell phones - might cost $50-60,000 (being generous). Far less than one television ad with what's-her-name, and would actually be of some use to those in Louisiana.

    Oh yeah, bring some bottled water with you.
    • How about handing out some of the cheap pre-paid phones with service.

      Because most cell towers were wiped out in the hurricane. T-Mobile didn't have that strong of a signal down here as it is, and now it's nonexistent. Any gifts of cell phones would have no value for weeks, if not months, and people need communications now.

      Same with your suggestion about trucks with GPRS data connections. The trucks won't have signal - end of story. You need satellite phones for most areas right now, and that's not so
    • ...after all, when fleeing a storm, the first thing you grab is your laptop and wifi card!

      major.morgan makes a good point. This to me seems to be a marketing ploy with little actual value (I didn't say no value) to those that have fled.

      I was watching the news, and there are folks in Baton Rouge looking for family members. How come the gov hasnt set up a database driven site to enter names of those rescued, nationally available, so that folks can find each other? In an information driven age, this is a pr
      • How come the gov hasnt set up a database driven site to enter names of those rescued, nationally available, so that folks can find each other?

        It's simple. Government (and gov't employees) don't move that fast.

        I can only assume that you're talking about the Feds, because the state governments involved don't have the infrastructure to do much anymore. Here's the secret -- the Feds don't employ many programmers. It's all outside contractors. It would take weeks just to get the bidding process for such

      • ...after all, when fleeing a storm, the first thing you grab is your laptop and wifi card!

        Depends on how much advance notice you have. If you're house is on fire and you need to get just the important stuff, you get people out first, then pets, and probably don't worry about belongings.

        The people in the storm area had several hours to get out. Easily enough time to decide what to get. My laptop is certainly one of the items I would take. It's small, so it takes little room, and is tremendously valuable.

  • by matth (22742)
    And where exactly do I get the power for my laptop?
    • I know it may be after the fact for some, but there is something to be said for having backup power. Granted, I live in Alaska and it is far more common to have weather and/or power related issues that require backup power. However, you can get a small rollup solar panel for ~$100 which can power a phone, laptop, a light or two, etc. (1 at a time of course). While its natural disaster use may be few and far between in the lower 48, it can come in handy in all sorts of situations such as traveling cross
  • and an evaluation will be done to see if it will continue after that.

    Relax, complainers. It's not that T-Mobile is deciding whether or not they WANT to continue it. They just don't know whether their network will hold up after a few days. And this has nothing to do with the hurricane, just business as usual at T-Mobile. When I use their Starbucks hotspots, I'm lucky to have one workday without a service interruption, let alone a few days.
  • by Y-Crate (540566)
    It's nice to know that someone can get reception with T-Mobile. ;)

    (Yeah, I'm jaded. Hey T-Mobile, another tower in the higher elevations of 34689 would make me the happiest man alive)
  • Ya know -- we sit here and make jokes about hurricane victims not really needing WiFi services, but let's look at a more relevant "web community" issue...

    Apple.com and Amazon.com jumped on the donation (Red Cross and other charities) bandwagon within a day or two of the tsunamis last December. I really admired them for doing that -- it spoke highly of their awareness of the powerful community of online customers/users that they could tap for donations to help the victims of the tsunamis.

    I e-mailed them tod
    • Give it all time. I remember it took about a day before Apple's page was updated with the Tsunami information, I would suggest it might take a bit longer in this case as things are just now starting to get organized in the disaster relief front.

      But, I'm glad others are donating as well. Well worth the hundred twenty bucks left at the bottom of the bank account.
    • Thanks for the informative and insightful post.

      But, "[Apple.com and Amazon.com] have a real opportunity to stem the relief effort tide now rather than later.

      If they don't stop the relief efforts now, no one will!

  • by digid (259751) * on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @02:13PM (#13447548)
    Cingular Wireless has set up free emergency calling stations at its open company-owned retail stores across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to help the many individuals and families who are without power and phone service due to Hurricane Katrina.

    Free phone calls to friends and family anywhere in the United States can be made at Cingular stores during normal store hours. The calling stations are available to anyone who simply needs to use a phone.

    The company has also set up a free mobile calling station at the Cajundome in Lafayette where thousands of evacuees are being housed.

    All Cingular stores will offer free calls as they open.
    • Now THAT is disaster aid. Thank you Cingular, you're doing a great service to the community.

      T-Mobile, take a look at Cingular; they're putting you to shame. All people want to do is to tell their loved ones that they are alright. The Internet may have that capacity (if they can find their loved ones), but is a terrible medium in which to have to search, or email and hope. Phone calls will always be better in that respect.

      I'm glad to hear my phone company's doing some good for a change. Money well spen
  • Relief my a$$..... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DangerTenor (104151)
    Relief is what you get when someone takes over for you.
    Relief is what you experience when you get something you badly needed.
    Relief is what you feel when your pain is removed or reduced.
    Getting free WIFI access in a few limited locations where there is no freaking power to charge a laptop (or probably even run the hotspot) is not relief, it is a PR move.
  • by Humorously_Inept (777630) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @02:23PM (#13447630) Homepage
    Office Depot: $1m
    BP: $1m cash + $/$ match of employee donations
    Capital One: $1m cash
    Anheuser-Busch: $250K cash + 875K cans of water
    Eli Lilly: $1m cash + $/$ match of employee donations + $1m in insulin
    Kellogg: $500k cash and food
    Home Depot: $1.5m cash
    Wal-Mart: $1m cash
    Exxon Mobil: $2m cash
    Amerada Hess: $1m cash + $/$ match of employee donations
    Chevron: $5m cash
    JP Morgan Chase: $1m cash + $/$ match of employee donations
    DuPont: $1m cash
    GM: $400k cash + vehicles
    Culligan: 5 semi trailers of water
    CVS: $250K cash + $254K in food and water
  • by Skeezix (14602) <jamin@pubcrawler.org> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @02:30PM (#13447706) Homepage
    In related news, Taco Bell has announced that if the water level in New Orleans reaches a certain mark on their Taco Bell FloodMeter(tm), everyone in America wins a free taco.
  • This is a generous (marketing) move by T-Mobile. But a bit of an empty gesture in much of the area. New Orleans is now Atlantis, at least 80% submerged. Without power. Anyone with the money for a computer has fled the city, probably not to return for weeks or more. Power won't be restored, certainly not to most of the city, for days or weeks - maybe months, knowing New Orleans, and the possibility that the city won't ever be repopulated. None of the desktops will work without power, and laptops will be dead
  • Meh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @02:46PM (#13447831)
    I see all these people getting pissed at T-Mobile... it's understandable, yeah. I mean, their entire life just got blown to shit, no pun intended.

    But T-Mobile is not an energy company, or a grocery store chain, or Goodwill. They are a telecommunications company, and that's what they know. Just like I'm a geek. If I were a company, I'd be doing exactly the same thing: doing what I can to help out. I wouldn't be flying helicopters, I'd be setting up communications. I have a bunch of computer hardware, not medical supplies. I wouldn't expect Motorola to jump in with Insulin, or Apple to show up at the stadium with 9k people stuck inside with fresh food -- and if they did, I bet the same shout would come up. "It's all a big PR stunt."

    They're a company with a bunch of wireless access points in various cities. And now they're opening them up so you can email whoever and let them know you're okay (or look at pr0n, or troll Slashdot, or whatever).

    And you're complaining about it.

    I bet if their cellular network could handle it, they'd open that up, too.

    (FD: I'm a T-Mobile customer.)
  • Eweek reports that T-Mobile is offering free Wi-Fi to areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

    Well, I can't imagine the offer is as welcome by the locals as bottled water, or a few porto-lets would be. Perhaps T-Mobile thinks websurfing will occupy the homeless who would otherwise be looting. Ofcourse they have no power or computers. What are these idiots thinking?

  • Free advertising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bill0755 (692856)
    While it is difficult to fault a company for offering assistance to disaster victims, I am tempted to risk my karma and point out that the real motivation is likely p/r and free advertising.

    Cell providers (like Sprint for one) and other companies have in place mechanisms for providing account credit to allow for cost-free service for any disaster situation. The difference is they don't require wide-spread recognition for their contribution.

    Okay, I said it. Open up the black clouds and clobber me with li

  • This offer is for the displaced populations, not for the destroyed areas. That 's why it overs all of three states (and needs to cover SE Texas too.)

    Considering the entire 600K+ population of greater N.O. is going to be dispersed to random places all over the South for an extended period of time, this is useful, assuming you have a laptop. Because it's going to be a long long long time before your DSL works again.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

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