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In Wake of Earthquake, Wireless Carriers Offer Free Calls to Nepal

Verizon, AT&T, Skype and others have all waived fees.

iStockphoto / Maxphotograph

Since the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, people across the globe have been trying to reach friends and family in the region.

To make it easier, U.S. wireless phone companies are officially waiving the fees for all calls and texts to Nepal.

The four big American carriers — Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile — have all confirmed that they won’t be charging customers for calls or SMS messages to Nepal. The companies are also publicizing a variety of text-to-donate options for their customers, initiatives like the one that raised millions of dollars for the American Red Cross after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

There are also a number of other calling and messaging services that are joining the carriers. Google Voice is charging 1 cent per minute instead of its normal 19 cents per minute rate, and Viber is also offering free calls. Microsoft said any Skype communication to the country would be free of charge, and the company also committed more than $1 million to relief efforts. For its home phone and business customers, Time Warner Cable also said it would be canceling fees for calls to Nepal.

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