After Puerto Rico hurricanes, AT&T and T-Mobile provide SMS queue services
The United States territory of Puerto Rico will need years and years to recover from the direct impacts of two category 5 hurricanes that hit the island over two weeks. Part of that comes down to the communications infrastructure and a slice of even that is the cell towers that will need days at the least to repair, if not replace and power back up.
National carriers have time and time again zeroed out charges for international calls during terrorist attacks and disastrous weather events. But what can they do when there are few or no relays to deliver important messages from loved ones to island residents?
AT&T and T-Mobile have offered a solution, if only a rudimentary one, through a web-based SMS queue service. You can access it through the source link below the story. All you need to put in is the AT&T or T-Mobile number you want to reach in Puerto Rico along with your number and name. The respective networks will then queue a text with your contact information and send it once the number is reachable — the send requests will not expire. AT&T will also send network coverage updates to customers who drop in their email address.
Even with the network limitations, what would really help was if a short user-generated message could be sent alongside the information, but alas, we don’t have that in these services, which will expire at some point when the recovery has picked up enough.
All the carriers are playing parts from helping the region rebuild with funds to providing temporary relief such as charging stations and unmetered data.