Wireless Providers Offer Free Calls, Texts to Japan

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In an effort to help U.S. residents with loved ones in Japan, wireless providers including AT&T, Verizon, and digital home phone service provider Time Warner are offering free long distance calls and text messages to Japan from the United States and Puerto Rico, the companies reported in releases.

AT&T was the first to offer the service. Effective beginning March 11, and continuing through the end of the month, AT&T customers will not be charged for long distance calls to Japan. Text messages sent to Japan that originate from a U.S. number are also free of charge.

"We want to help our customers connect with loved ones in Japan in anyway we can," said Mark Collins, senior vice president, Voice and Data Products, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets in an AT&T press release.

Verizon soon followed suit with a similar offer. Free calling to Japan is available to customers through April 10, according to a release.

Customers using landline telephones can also receive up to 60 minutes of international call time between the U.S. and Japan with AT&T, while Verizon offers landline users a rate of $0.00 per minute to call Japan.

Additionally, AT&T is offering 24-hour Japanese network "TV Japan" free of charge for the month of March to U-Verse TV subscribers. Verizon has the same offer for FiOS TV customers.

Verizon is also waiving prepaid phone card charges for long-distance calls to Japan.

Time Warner Cable is offering free calls to Japan through April 15 for all Digital Home Phone and Business Class Phone customers.

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