Cellphone restoration continues Saturday post Hurricane Sandy

AT&T says 96.5 percent of cell stations in the region are working

Cellular telecom carriers spent Saturday working to restore wireless service to customers across the U.S. northeast, which is just beginning to pick itself up from the battering it suffered earlier in the week from hurricane Sandy.

AT&T said it had restored service to 96.5 percent of its cell sites in the impacted region as of Saturday morning and Verizon said its engineers were working 12-hour shifts to return service in the New York and New Jersey areas.

For consumers without service or without electricity, the major wireless carriers have established charging stations and are offering free telephone calls from several locations.

Most carriers are offering the service at their stores. Additionally, AT&T established such stations in 13 locations and T-Mobile said it is offering charging and calling service in American Red Cross shelters in the state of New Jersey.

Verizon said it is redirecting employees and resources to the New York and New Jersey area as it restores service in less-severely affected parts of the region.

"Fuel availability is a daily concern," Verizon said in a statement. "Verizon's command center continues to work with fuel suppliers and federal, state and local government officials to secure the fuel essential to keep generators and service vehicles running so Internet access and voice and data communications can continue to flow."

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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