A group of carriers, handset makers and infrastructure vendors have donated equipment and thousands of phones to Haitian operator Voila as part of the country’s ongoing earthquake relief effort.
T-Mobile USA donated 10,000 cell phones, 42 generators, 10 cells on wheels, seven trucks, and about 500 cell phone solar chargers. AT&T provided 8,000 cell phones and 150 fixed wireless terminals together with Brightstar, Sony Ericsson and Motorola.
LG, Samsung, CT Miami and Research In Motion (RIM) provided additional cell phones and BlackBerry devices while Sprint donated two portable cell towers.
Voila, a subsidiary of Trilogy International Partners, was the first major wireless carrier to restore service after the earthquake. Nearly 90 percent of its cell sites are back in operation. Voila already has donated tens of thousands of phones to relief agencies and deployed temporary cell sites.
The donations announced today will allow Voila and its parent company to continue rebuilding its network without interruption. The operator says demand for communications services in the wake of the earthquake is “unprecedented.”
Trilogy Chairman John Stanton said in a statement that the company was “very grateful” for the industry’s support. “[Fellow carriers and equipment suppliers] know that to recover from a catastrophe you need a reliable communications system,” he said. “[They] have been generous in offering the equipment that’s essential for Voila to continue serving the Haitian people and the thousands of volunteers who have arrived to provide assistance.”
Wireless technology has come to the aid of the Haitian people in other forms. Overall donations made on mobile phones for Haiti earthquake relief reached $35 million across all the short codes reported to the Mobile Giving Foundation. The foundation reports that carriers have advanced payments on donations made through mobile giving to relief efforts, reducing the traditional wait period from weeks to a matter of days. The donations are already in use.
The Mobile Giving Foundation is a non-profit group dedicated to helping other non-profits raise funds through the mobile channel.