Verizon, AT&T Say Calling Surges, See No Network Damage
Stock Chart for Verizon Communications Inc (VZ)
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), AT&T Inc. (T) and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) experienced a surge in phone calls after an earthquake struck Virginia today, while Web users rushed to discuss the disaster on social-networking sites.
“There has been high call volume,” Peter Thonis, a spokesman for New York-based Verizon, said in an interview. “You have to call several times to get through some places. It’s very temporal. I know of no network issues at this time” on the wireless or land-line networks, he said.
A 5.8-magnitude earthquake, the biggest to strike Virginia in more than a century, hit about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest of Richmond, rocking buildings from Washington to Boston. Residents used their phones to communicate about the earthquake and went to websites such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. to chat about the topic.
Following the quake, Facebook had the term “earthquake” appear in status updates for almost 3 million people in the U.S., the company said in an e-mailed statement. Within a minute of the temblor, Twitter users sent more than 40,000 earthquake- related messages, known as tweets, according to Jodi Olson, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Twitter. Tweets were being sent at a rate of about 5,500 per second, a faster pace than when Osama bin Laden died, she said.
In addition, tweets tagged “#earthquake” were some of the most popular along the East Coast, she said.
Scott Sloat, a spokesman for Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint, said the company is “experiencing an intermittent mass calling event, as is expected following an incident of this nature.” Sprint Nextel has had no reports of “impact to its network” and encouraged customers to send text messages rather than place calls to reach family and friends, he said.
There were no reports of network damage at AT&T, “but we are seeing heavy call volume,” said Mark Siegel, a spokesman for the Dallas-based company.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com
Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.