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Katrina – Recovery: Verizon Explains Text Messaging Is "Most Efficient Use of Wireless Networks"

Connecting with Hurricane Katrina Survivors Through Text Messages Uses Less Bandwidth

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Verizon Wireless is urging anyone experiencing intermittent communications with friends and family that remain in the Gulf Coast area to try 'texting' them instead, reminding them of the technical advantages, when networks are under pressure, of reaching out by sending a text message instead of making voice calls.

"If getting through to a loved one's mobile phone has proved challenging," says the company in a statement released today, "we suggest reaching out by sending a text message, as these messages are a more efficient use of wireless networks than voice calls and have a higher success rate of getting through in many areas where service has not returned to normal."

In some instances, the company adds, text messages are stored and forwarded, so if the person you are trying to reach is moving in and out of a wireless coverage area, the network will store the text message and try to resend it until they return to a wireless coverage area.

Verizon then offers a quick Text Messaging 101:

Text messaging requires the recipient of the message to have a text messaging capable phone, but the messaging feature is so prevalent on today's mobile phones that even many of the most basic phones have text messaging capabilities.

Sending Messages

Most Americans have two ways to text message family and friends -- messages can be sent from a text messaging capable wireless phone or any email address. To send a text message from a wireless phone, simply input the 10-digit wireless number in the address line. Since wireless customers can exchange messages with customers of other carriers, you do not need to have the same wireless service provider as your friend or relative.

To send a text message from an email address, you need to know which company provides their wireless service, as each company has a specific format for wireless numbers. For example, Verizon Wireless customers can send TXT Messages via email to loved ones using the person's mobile number and the extension "@vtext.com." If the Verizon Wireless mobile number is 123-456-789 then the email should go to [email protected].

If you know the person's wireless provider but are unsure of the format, contact the wireless carrier's customer service department -- wireless customer service representatives stand by ready to help customers with the basics of text messaging. James Nelson, director of customer service operations for Verizon Wireless' Texas/Gulf Coast region, said, "You can really make the difference in someone's life with a kind word or sincere thought."

Composing Messages

To write a text message from a wireless phone, select the text messaging feature on their phones. Verizon Wireless customers should go to the Messages section and select New TXT Message. From there, simply type in a message using the phone's keypad. Many wireless phones allow you to type messages using one of three text modes:

  • T9Word (T9) Mode: Use this mode to type text using one keystroke per letter. The phone translates keystrokes into common words by using the letters on each key and a compressed database.
  • Abc (Multi-tap) Mode: Use this mode to type words using the letters on the phone's numerical keypad. You'll need to hit each key from one to three times to get the letter you want.
  • 123 (Numbers) Mode: Use this mode to type numbers, using one keystroke per number.

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