Beryl kicks U.S. telcos' hurricane recovery plans into high gear

  • Hurricane Beryl is the first hurricane of the season to make landfall in the U.S. this year
  • The storm caused deaths and major power outages in Texas, as well as mobile and internet outages
  • AT&T T-Mobile and Verizon gave us an update on their networks after landfall

Hurricane Beryl made landfall in the U.S. as a Category 1 storm near Matagorda, Texas, at 4:30 a.m on Monday morning. The first hurricane of the 2024 season to hit the U.S. had already torn through parts of Grenada and Mexico, spiraled 80 mile per hour winds through Houston, Texas, and is now heading northeast and beyond.

More than 14 people have died so far, including at least four in Texas. As of Tuesday morning, more than 2 million people in Texas are without power. There are reports of outages on the AT&T and Verizon cellular networks in Texas in the wake of storm, as well as disruptions to Internet service providers such as Xfinity.

Here’s what’s going on with the big three mobile operators:


A spokeswoman for AT&T told Fierce in an email that AT&T teams are “working round the clock” and will provide updates as the recovery work progresses. “Now that Beryl has completely cleared from southeast Texas, we have crews working as quickly as possible to restore service to customers,” the spokeswoman said. “With widespread power outages affecting the area, our primary focus will be on deploying and refueling generators. “

She noted that the operator’s network disaster recovery and drone operations teams deployed a Flying COW (Cell on Wings) in Matagorda County, Texas, “yesterday to provide critical wireless service to a local hospital and customers in the surrounding area,” the spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman noted that AT&T had fulfilled 18 FirstNet emergency support requests made by public safety organizations — spanning federal, state and local agencies. Also, “We’re waiving talk, text and data overage charges for our wireless customers in affected areas through July 17,” the AT&T spokesperson added.


T-Mobile said that it had been been providing Beryl updates on its newsroom since Friday evening and will continue to post updates as restoration continues. "There are significant and widespread power outages in the area, and our emergency teams are focused on working with local utilities and bringing in network equipment," a T-Mobile spokeswoman told us.

This includes equipment like satellite cells on trucks (SatCOLT) and a satellite connected cell on wheels (SatCOW). "They’ve also deployed a fleet of generators to help with power and are refueling/topping off batteries. These will all help to restore connectivity until commercial power is restored," the spokeswoman said.

Like AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile said it was working closely with federal, state and local officials to identify and prioritize restoration needs. "We have our team in person at the Texas division of emergency management (TDEM)  facility in Austin coordinating statewide. And we’ve begun bringing Wi-Fi, power and charging to cooling centers and shelters in Houston and surrounding areas," the spokeswoman added.


Verizon offered up a similar response to the damage caused by hurricane Beryl. “Due to Hurricane Beryl’s thunderstorms and subsequent power outages, some customers may be experiencing service interruptions,” a spokesperson told us. “Verizon is working with the local public utilities, focusing efforts and resources to fully restore service for impacted customers.”

Despite the trouble caused by Beryl. Verizon said that its networks “are primed to maintain connectivity even in the face of extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes,” the operator said. “Verizon engineers have prepared by conducting thorough checks, ensuring backup systems like batteries and generators are operational and refueled,” the Verizon spokeswoman told Fierce. Much like AT&T, Verizon is waiving usage costs incurred by postpaid consumer and small business customers hit by the storm through July 17.

This is only the first storm of the hurricane season in the U.S. Mobile operators will likely have plenty more opportunities to test their networks against the extremities of the weather as what forecasters say will be an active season.