Hawaii and its people have long held a special place in the heart of our company. It’s a 27-year (and counting) love affair.
Back before we were T-Mobile, we were VoiceStream Wireless. On February 29, 1996, the company launched with Hawaii as our first market. In 2003, we rebranded as T-Mobile and began celebrating the recipients of our company’s highest annual award, PEAK, on the beautiful shores of Maui.
During those trips is when I found my personal connection to this island paradise. I have always loved slipping away for a local bite at Lahaina Grill and Captain Jack’s. Great food, great people – I looked forward to it every year and will always treasure those memories.
Over the years we have grown to more than 300 employees and 27 retail locations in the Aloha State, but we’re still a close-knit family. And families take care of their own. So, when the wildfires flashed through Maui last week, upending lives and destroying property, we knew our family needed us. And we responded to that call.
It came in the form of getting critical connectivity up and running (our amazing network team has been working day and night to get us back to 100% coverage). Hand-delivering supplies. Making financial donations … and simply doing our best to reduce the burdens on the Hawaiian people. This is an island that has given so much to us, and we’re here to return the favor.
As the people in Maui begin the long work of restoration, rebuilding and renewal, we’ve been stepping up in every way we can. SpaceX donated equipment to help us set up Starlink satellite internet at Kapalua airport for the airlines to process ticketing and baggage faster. We did the same at a makeshift medical tent at the Hyatt Regency to support patient check-ins, patient record access and prescription orders to pharmacies.
One of the stories I heard from our team was when the owners of Best Chinese Food in Lahaina (a restaurant that has been fueling a team of T-Mobile engineers) told us that they were struggling to stay in business without connectivity, we were able to set up a Starlink satellite modem for them and their customers. The owner was not only able to take credit cards again, but also FaceTime his son who is deployed in San Diego.
Another customer who had lost five businesses in the fire was finally able to sign important electronic documents from his insurance company.
Restoring our network is just one part of the ways we show up. Dozens of members of our team have been on-site at shelters and other locations handing out basic, but important, items that many of us take for granted every day – things like chargers, cords and water. After learning that our Lahaina store was undamaged, we got to work to repurpose it as a Community Support Center to serve as a hub for people to get free phones with two months of service, portable chargers, charging cables, headlamps and N95 masks (while supplies last).
Some of the people directly impacted include our employees. To help as they begin their own rebuilding, we’re providing special pay supplements, access to our Employee Relief Fund, and more.
The kind people of Maui have a long and difficult road ahead and we will continue to stand beside them every step of the way. Now it’s our turn to say, “mahalo nui loa,” – thank you very much.
If you’d like to join us in giving, T-Mobile customers can “text-to-give” $10 donations simply by texting the organization’s keyword to the number below to have a one-time $10 donation added to their T-Mobile bill.
- American Red Cross: Text HAWAII to 90999
- Hawaii Community Foundation: Text WILDFIRES to 501501
- The Salvation Army National Corporation: Text WILDFIRES to 52000
- Information Technology Disaster Resource Center: Text CONNECT to 20222
T-Mobile customers can also donate directly from the T-Mobile Tuesdays app.