India's Mobile Networks Restoring Services Affected by Cyclone Phailin
India's mobile networks have mobilized resources to restore communication facilities to the victims of the Cyclone Phailin which has severely affected the telecom networks of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
As of the 13th October, around 3,472 out of 12,163 telecom sites in Odisha and 74 out of 33,742 telecom sites in Andhra Pradesh, belonging to COAI member operators have been affected by the Phailin cyclone.
More than 40% of these sites have been restored within 24 hours of the storm hitting the region. The operators are working to evaluate the damage and restore the balance sites within the next 48 hours.
The mobile network operators have also made available additional mobile BTS and satellite terminals in the affected areas. Also, the operators have agreed to share their resources by implementing spectrum-sharing under the DoT guideline to deal with such emergency situations, so as to ensure that there is no interruption in services for the customers in case a particular operator's services get affected. The customer would be able to access the network of another operator through intra-circle roaming to avail the required telecom services.
Arrangements have been made for storing enough diesel to keep the BTS running to overcome the total power blackout in the affected areas.
Airtel has managed to restore all sites at Andhra Pradesh within 24 hours and more than 500 impacted sites have been restored within Odisha. Vodafone has managed to restore 593 out of its 1289 sites in the affected regions of Odisha. 1,502 sites of Aircel were affected in Odisha due to the cyclone out of which they have restored 622. Idea has restored 242 out of the 733 sites affected in Odisha. In Andhra Pradesh, all affected sites of COAI members have been restored including 6 affected sites of Uninor.
Operators are facing problems in some areas in restoring operations due to non-accessibility by road in affected areas/sites. The Ganjam district in Odisha, for example, is the most severely hit and the service providers have requested assistance from the government for restoration of grid power, availability of diesel and opening up of road access to flooded areas there.
Mr. Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI stated, "Despite all the difficulties, the operators are working 24x7 to restore the services and help reach out to the people in affected areas. We are optimistic that in 48 hours, most of the network in the affected areas will be restored to normalcy in terms of mobile connectivity and services."