Hurricane Sandy did a number on the eastern seaboard of America, and it sure feels like these times bring people together in a way that they otherwise wouldn't. Heck, even rival carriers are coming together. AT&T and T-Mobile, two companies that could have been bedfellows had a proposed merger gone through last year, are joining hands in order to make calling a bit easier for those in dire situations. In the wake of destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, AT&T and T-Mobile have entered into an agreement to enable roaming on their networks to customers of both companies in the heavily impacted areas and where capacity is available and for subscribers with a compatible device.
AT&T and T-Mobile customers will be able to place calls just as they normally would, but their calls will be carried by whichever network is most operational in their area. This will be seamless for AT&T and T-Mobile customers with no change to their current rate plans or service agreements even if the phone indicates the device is attached to the other carrier's network.
T-Mobile and AT&T both utilize network technology based on GSM and UMTS standards, which allows for this sharing of voice and data traffic. Neither carrier has said when the deal will cease, but hopefully they'll hold out long enough for most folks to find normalcy.