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Major US Carriers Open Free Calls And Texts To Brussels (androidheadlines.com) 58

An anonymous reader quotes from a report on AndroidHeadlines: Following the attacks at Brussels International Airport and the Maelbeek Subway Station in Brussels, Belgium earlier this morning, all four major U.S. carriers have announced that they will be offering their customers the opportunity to make free calls to Brussels, as a means of letting customers keep in contact with friends and loved ones who live or are traveling within the city, a gesture which both Verizon and Sprint offered to customers last year following the attacks in Paris, France. As the city of Brussels begins and continues to mourn in the wake of the attacks, Sprint, T-Mobile, ATT, and Verizon Wireless will all offer free calls and texts to Brussels from the U.S., beginning today and lasting throughout the next few days to a week.
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Major US Carriers Open Free Calls And Texts To Brussels

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  • Just Brussels? (Score:4, Informative)

    by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi@noSpaM.smokingcube.be> on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @04:26PM (#51756029) Homepage

    Brussels is not a country (as some Americans think) but a city. Not sure how they differentiate calls to 'Brussels' (old area code 02) from calls to Belgium (+32) since 'area codes' there have been portable for at least a decade and most of them are on mobile phones (area code 04).

    • by XXeR ( 447912 )

      (as some Americans think)

      There's no need to be an asshole.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I live in Grimbergen, work in Brussels. The Caller ID on my parent's phone in the US knows which city I'm calling from, so I suppose it must be possible somehow. To be frank, though, international calls US and Brussels are only like $0.20 a minute on the most expensive plans, many plans have them for less than $0.01. It's a pretty empty empty gesture, but at least it's a gesture.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Brussels is not a country (as some Americans think) but a city.

      A few things -
      1. Most Americans know it is a city. Some of us have "gasp" actually been there.
      2. You are truly an asshole. Trying to score "anti-American hipster cred" by using a tragedy is disgusting.
      3. The Belgians deserve better than to have you among them (yes, I noticed your e-mail domain).

      • by guruevi ( 827432 )

        1) most Americans don't even know their own country; plenty of people I talk to think Brussels is a country or encompasses Belgium. Even the (very sloppy) reporting seems to conflate the two. Looking into it, it's all of Belgium although this particular article says Brussels which means neither the "journalist" nor the editors seem to have a clue what the difference is.

        2) it's anti-American to point out huge flaws in your education system? Muslims and Christians have the same mindset as you in that sense, i

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          My wife is a high school teacher in Brussels, College Saint Pierre (Jette). Every yearI go to her classes once sobthe kids can hear a native English speaker. The exercise I do is to have the kids fill out a questionaire. Almost never do they know the country with the largest English speaking population (it's India, but the most popular answer is always England). Every year some cannot place the US on the map.

          They are graduating students in their last year. I think Europeans like you overestimate the quality

    • Major US Carriers Open Free Calls And Texts To Brussels. All your calls and texts will be rerouted to Utah, though, with no chance of them arriving at Brussels.

  • Calls from Brussels will be changed at roaming rate unless they also say both ways. and you may have to pay for incoming txts.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @04:31PM (#51756073)

    ...people are encouraged to minimize (cell)phone usage because the networks are overloaded.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The most interesting question, though, would be to know which service providers went under. I am on Mobile Vikings, an MVNO that resells the BASE network. I had no issue sending or receiving calls, texts or data all day, even though I avoided it; the guy next to me on Mobistar lost service around 10.00. We were in the downtown area around 1KM from Maelbeek. I've heard other people on the outskirts of the city lost all service from 8.30 until late this evening. My hypothesis is that since BASE has fewer sub

  • Email, texts, video chats are all "free" when travelling through the Internet, but standard long distance telephone calls are charged by the minute.

    And in most cases they travel through the same gear on the way from origin to destination.

    Why is is that they can get away with charging for long distance telephone service as a separate line item at all? Is it just because people are used to the idea? Crank Crank Crank... "Hello, Mabel? Please ring George at the corner store."

    • Because no one thought of it when they built the Internet because it wasn't originally commercial. CompuServe/AOL/etc DID charge by the minute to use their networks. If Microsoft, etc had their way you WOULD be paying for the Internet by the minute.
    • Why is is that they can get away with charging for long distance telephone service as a separate line item at all?

      Because people have no choice. All the carriers charge the fees. In theory, these charges would be competed away as they lowered prices to get or protect market share. But all the carriers have significant share ownership from the same investment banks and mutual funds, these organizations control many board seats, and they are opposed to competitive practices which would reduce aggregate profit.

  • Does this mean I can order waffles and it won't cost me anything?

    • by ShaunC ( 203807 )

      Yes. Dial any number in Brussels, speak your order into the phone, and the NSA will be around in a few minutes with their delivery van.

  • Cool advertisement for the phone companies Slashdot.
  • Calls to Belgian ground lines are $0.02/min [voip.ms] for VOIP retail users.. but calls to cell phones are about $0.20/min. .. unless the cell providers in Belgium are also giving users a discount. Given the number of Americans likely in Belgium right now, this is probably not going to cost these cell providers more than a couple of thousand dollars a day, for a log of good publicity.

    Not that I think it's a bad idea, or anything -- It's just not as big a deal as it might seem, unless you compare this to their nor

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