AT&T, Vonage offer free international calls and texts to Japan

As Japan's earthquake and tsunami disaster continues to unfold, telco AT&T and VoIP provider Vonage have moved to offer free calls and texts to US customers trying to get in touch with friends and family in Japan.

According to a press release from AT&T, posted by Engadget, wireless postpaid customers will not be charged for international long distance or text messages to Japan from the US and Puerto Rico between March 11 and 31. Wired homeline customers can receive up to 60 minutes of international call time to Japan.

Vonage is offering a similar deal according to Slashgear, with all call charges from Vonage home phones to Japan to be waived from March 11 to 8.30pm on March 18.

24-hour news channel TV Japan has also been made available for free until March 17 to all U-Verse TV subscribers.

As Engadget notes, there's a certain amount of free publicity in this for AT&T - and the same for Vonage - but there are certainly worse ways to earn some free PR.

Google's Crisis Response project has a page set up with a variety of key information as the recovery effort begins, including links to relevant government agencies, Google's Person Finder service and disaster message boards.

People looking to donate to the recovery effort can do so through the Google Crisis Response page, via the iTunes Store or the American Red Cross website.

Meantime, Microsoft has been forced to apologise after the software giant pledged to give $1 to Japan quake victims for every re-tweet of a message from the company's Bing account. A user backlash quickly ensued and within hours the company had apologised and donated US$100,000 to the American Red Cross disaster fund.

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