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Katrina Update: Cingular Wireless Reports Service Fully Restored in Many Areas

Improved Coverage in Areas Hit Hard by Hurricane Katrina

Cingular Wireless, a joint venture between SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corporation,  reported on Monday that cell phone coverage continues to improve in those areas hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. Service in Mobile, Ala. and Jackson, Miss. is fully restored, and the majority of coverage capacity has been reestablished in and around Biloxi, Miss.

Cingular crews are on the ground in New Orleans. Some calls are going through in the city and surrounding areas, including Hammond and Houma, La., but at reduced levels. New Orleans remains the company's top priority, and more than 800 network technicians are deployed across the Gulf States to support full service restoration as soon as possible. Cingular also is using microwave and satellite connections to restore service in parts of New Orleans, and is re-rerouting calls outside of New Orleans as needed.

The company also continues to make substantial progress in restoring service in Meridian, Hattiesburg, and Gulfport, Miss. Customers can send and receive calls in those cities, but at reduced levels. Since many of the remaining service outages are primarily due to power and T1 lines, we are working closely with power and wireline companies and have deployed generators where possible in affected areas.

Supporting Cingular's service restoration efforts are more than 500 generators and 240,000 gallons of fuel and more than 30 COWs (cell sites on wheels).

Cingular continues to offer free phone calls at its retail stores throughout Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana for any customer needing to get in touch with family or friends. The company has also provided more than 1,000 phones to emergency agencies throughout the Gulf States.

In addition, Cingular has created initiatives to raise millions of dollars for Katrina victims and to assist its own employees who have been affected by the disaster. These include:

  • The Cingular Cares Initiative, which will provide immediate relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina and will also establish a sustainable fund for providing assistance in future natural disasters. Cingular Cares is a multi-million dollar effort to be funded through the company's employees, with a focus on providing assistance to them and others affected by disasters.
  • A text messaging campaign by which Cingular customers will receive messages on their phones and other wireless devices asking if they would be interested in making a contribution to the American Red Cross's hurricane relief efforts.
  • Use of the company's more than 2,300 retail stores nationwide as collection points for donations to the American Red Cross. The stores will be able to accept cash, checks, credit cards, or debit cards. 

    WBT readers can visit http://www.cingularhurricaneupdates.com/ for regular updates.

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