T-Mobile US officially launched an emergency services connectivity programme unveiled late in 2019, pitching the offer as a life-saver for local and state-level providers in terms of easing their financial burden.
The Connecting Heroes programme provides fire, police and medical agencies with priority network access and unlimited talk, text and data for ten years. Access to 5G will be available to those with compatible devices.
International coverage of Mexico and Canada is included, along with 1GB of free 4G hotspot data: once this allowance elapses, coverage reverts back to T-Mobile’s 3G infrastructure, though there’s an option to upgrade to 20GB of LTE hotspot data and broader international coverage for $15 per month.
In a video statement, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert (pictured) said the programme could save emergency service providers up to $7.7 billion. He played up the service’s longevity, noting it is “not some temporary promotion” available during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic: “This is our commitment for the next decade”.
T-Mobile announced the plan in November 2019 alongside offers of budget tariffs for low-income consumers and home broadband access for 10 million households with school-aged children, as it sought to overcome objections to its then pending merger with Sprint.
It originally planned to launch all three programmes following the close of the merger, but brought forward the introduction of the low-cost tariffs in response to the pandemic.
The emergency services play comes as T-Mobile aims to earn goodwill and stake a claim in a public sector market largely dominated by AT&T and Verizon.
AT&T, which is building a dedicated emergency services network at the behest of the US government, previously panned T-Mobile’s offer as a marketing stunt.