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What if the mobile network stops working?

12.11.2012 14:18

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In a crisis situation, it is very important to be able to call out or receive calls. Therefore, you should familiarize yourself with the precautions you should take – and what options are available – if the mobile network does not function.


The mobile network may be vulnerable in a crisis. It may become overloaded if many people in an area make calls at the same time. Crises sometimes also have a physical impact on the mobile network, for example as a direct result of floods and slides, or as an indirect consequence of extended power outages.


Overloading the mobile network

The mobile network is vulnerable to overloading when major accidents or crises occur, and many people try to make calls at the same time. If the mobile network is overloaded, you may experience problems when calling out, and others may have difficulty calling you.


This is what you should do when the mobile network is overloaded:

  • Call only if essential. Remember that repeated attempts to make calls causes even more overloading of the mobile network.
  • Call if you have essential information. When the mobile network is overloaded, it may take a long time for SMS (text) messages and e-mails sent from your mobile phone to reach recipients.
  • Call from a land line, if possible.


Loss of mobile network

In some situations, the mobile network can be lost entirely. This can be due to physical damage to base stations or other network equipment, system errors on the part of the operator, or extended power interruptions.


What you can do yourself:

  • Check which mobile network your provider uses. Get a back-up SIM card – for example a cash card – from a provider that uses a different mobile network than the one you use regularly. TeliaSonera Norge AS (NetCom) and Telenor Norge AS own the nationwide mobile network in Norway.
  • If there are power outages, you can use a battery-powered mobile charger. Many people can also charge their mobile phones in their cars.
  • If there are other people around you, you can inquire whether anyone has a functioning mobile network, and ask if you can borrow their mobile phone for essential conversations. You can also check whether land-line phones are available nearby.
  • You can call the emergency number 112 even if your mobile network has no coverage in the area, as long as you are within another mobile network’s coverage area. You may have to remove your SIM card before dialling 112. Please note that you cannot ring 110 (fire) and 113 (AMK) without a SIM card. If you are trying to reach the fire service or AMK, the 112 centre will assist in conveying your message.


Physical damage to the mobile network

Natural events such as extreme weather, floods and slides may, in some cases, damage the cables essential to electronic communication. A single cable can carry traffic from multiple electronic communications services at the same time. It can often take some time to repair damage to infrastructure.


What you can do to determine the scope:

  • Seek information on service interruptions on your provider’s website.
  • Many providers actively use social media such as Facebook and Twitter in connection with service interruptions.
  • Contact your provider’s customer service department by telephone, if possible. Remember that there may be a long wait and many inquiries.
  • Online newspapers are usually quick to provide information in the event of major service interruptions.