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Verizon offering free domestic calls and device charging at retail stores in hurricane aftermath

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Verizon Wireless store (STOCK)
Verizon Wireless store (STOCK)

Cellular service has been spotty at best in the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, but Verizon wants you to know that it's working quickly to bring things back to full speed. The carrier says over 96 percent of its cell sites in impacted areas are operational and routing calls and text messages through as usual. Verizon has also taken the step of deploying what it calls Wireless Emergency Communication Centers (WECCs) that offer charging stations, computer workspaces, and mobile phones with which you can reach out to family and friends. Those have been distributed in Staten Island, New York, Monmouth University, and at two separate locations in Toms River, New Jersey.

If you're in need of a charger or perhaps a prepaid phone, Verizon has also established mobile stores-on-wheels that act as full-fledged retail locations. These can be found on Staten Island and in both Sea Girt and Howell, New Jersey. But you don't need to venture out to one of these spots to get help: Verizon is offering free domestic calls at all open stores; you'll also be able to plug in a device for charging while there. Verizon will continue to reopen stores that were forced closed by the storm and deliver additional device and accessory supplies in the days ahead.