AT&T Inc. (T - Free Report) – the second-largest telecom operator in the U.S after Verizon Communication Inc. (VZ - Free Report) – recently enhanced its weather emergency service by implementing different measures to deal with devastating storms and providing accurate information to its subscribers.
The emergency measures includes improvement in network capacity to take more calls during emergency, better battery backup at cell sites, making proper use of natural gas in order to re-fuel generators and proper safety of generators during heavy storm. These are all pre-storm measures, which should be effectively implemented before the storm.
The post-storm recovery measures include emergency communications vehicles, tent, food and medical facilities to help the storm affected areas, mobile cell sites and activate mobile command centers.
Such measures will not only allow AT&T customers to stay linked during natural disasters, but also to recover quickly afterwards. At present, the program will be implemented in Alabama.
In 1991, AT&T had set up a Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) program to act promptly in case of any emergency that includes any natural disaster or terrorist attack. The company has already spent $600 million for the program. The program was very helpful when l distressing storms like Hurricane Katrina, Rita and Sandy hit the country in 2005, 20011 and 2012, respectively.
Thus, we believe that such value-added services by the company will not only retain its customer base but will also help the company to win new subscribers. Even DIRECTV , the largest satellite TV operator in the U.S., offered similar services when Hurricane Irene wrecked havoc in the country.
DIRECTV provided graphical details to its subscribers regarding potential evacuations, closures, event cancellations and additional critical information.
So, AT&T needs to upgrade its service features in order to stay ahead of its competitors.
Currently, AT&T Inc. has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Telus Corp. (TU - Free Report) has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and is worth considering.