T-Mobile said it would give free internet access to millions of students as part of its $10.7 billion Project10 commitment, aimed at helping underserved children and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement will see the company, which recently merged with Sprint, provide "free wireless hotspots, up to 100GB per year of free high-speed data, and access to at-cost tablets and laptops, or the equivalent value of approximately $500 annually per student household" over a 10-year period, according to a press release.
"Education is the great leveler, but without internet access, kids will be left behind," T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said in the statement. "T-Mobile has a big goal – to deliver connectivity to every child who needs it across the U.S. Starting now with our historic Project 10Million commitment, we’re going to help open A LOT of doors to opportunity that might have previously been closed."
Sievert added the issue is "even more critical" due to the pandemic, which has shifted in-school learning to virtual learning, or a combination of both.
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"Big issues need big solutions, and that’s exactly why we’re not just launching but significantly enhancing Project 10Million and giving flexibility to educators so they can best address the unique needs of their students with plans that offer more data," Sievert explained. As the supercharged Un-carrier, we now have the resources and network capacity to deliver reliable connectivity to students across the U.S. — and to tackle the critical homework gap and the schoolwork gap head-on!”
The idea to provide free internet access to 10 million low-income households was first mentioned in 2019 as part of a condition for its eventual merger with Sprint.
Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile will partner with school districts across the U.S. as a part of the program.
Shares of T-Mobile finished slightly lower on Friday, losing 0.48% to close at $114.29.