7
Jul
2005

Mobiles in Emergency: London mobile networks overwhelmed

Published in Telecomworldwire on Thursday, 07 July 2005 at 12:19 GMT

Copyright (C) 2005, M2 Communications Ltd.

(Have they got the date wrong or is this inside knowledge?)

Mobile networks in the UK capital have been gridlocked after the blasts throughout central London. According to the BBC, Vodafone has announced that it has reserved some network capacity for the emergency service workers dealing with the disaster.

According to Vodafone, all of its switches are at capacity and it is having to free up a portion of the network to ensure that police and emergency services can communicate, which means that regular customers will not be able to use a proportion of their local base station. The company added that this only related to a section of the network across London, so people can still make calls but it will be much more difficult to make a call than usual.

According to the BBC, Orange and O2 said there was "congestion" on their networks making it hard to get through on the first attempt. In addition, Virgin Mobile has stated that as there are so many people making calls it is taking a while for customers to get through successfully.

The problems with the mobile networks has had a knock-on effect on fixed lines phones, said the BBC. In addition, the BBC has revealed that a spokesman for BT has announced that as so many people were turning to fixed line phones once they found that the mobile network was down that it too was running near to capacity. BT are asking that people only make essential calls to limit the congestion.

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UK Officials Expected Attack but Lowered Threat Level
//www.truthout.org/docs_2005/070805Z.shtml

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I have just heard on Sky News that signals to ordinary mobile phones is blocked. In an emergency such as we are seeing at the moment in London. There are special phones for emergency personnel which contain a chip (which cannot be purchased) enabling them to receive the signal.

Could this also be to block any potential mobile phone bomb?? We know mobiles were used in the Spanish bombings, which highlight another downside to mobile phone technology, along with the muggings, bullying, criminal activity and pornographic usage - not to mention the health implications!

Sylvia

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I heard exactly that in one of the earliest reports, that no-one could get a signal, and the journo thought that this was to reduce the risk of bombs being detonated by mobiles!

Amanda

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Very true, Jane. It is still not certain that these latest bombs were not detonated by mobile phone. A terrorist expert was on ITV news this morning saying that, on looking at the type of explosions, he thought they were.

The BBC especially have been "promoting" mobile phones throughout their coverage of this attrocity. A reporter even highlighted the fact last night that extra medical staff were called in "by text" (and he repeated the fact twice!). Quite blatant free advertising - or perhaps not free!

I dread to think of the level of emissions the victims were having to cope with in addition to the obvious pain and distress.

Sylvia

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As usual I am very sceptical about the reports but my feelings are to try to shame the BBC on their blatant advertising of mobiles. Now I wonder what will happen about the plans to install a massive network of masts in the tube system. Will the argument be that this situation has proved the need for mobiles or will anyone have the guts to say that it will be handing terrorists a gift. I believe that the system was well 'scouted' in order to find where a good signal was. All stations except the beeb said the the cell system had been shut down as a precaution.

For many years now I have said that mobiles were a terrorists dream especially pay as you go because they can't be traced, they are used once then thrown away, or sent to India perhaps or Africa!, add to this the fact that I was warning MP's of the risks of camera when the pre-advertising of them first started.

I really hate it when I am proved right. Maybe we should start a hard publicity campaign using the fact that the government and MP's were warned of what kids and terrorists would do with this phones but yet again didn't listen. Perhaps the cartoon of the big dog with the puppy saying I told you this would happen!. Just a thought.

sueferg

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The BBC have been falling over themselves in their reporting to wax lyrical about mobiles, I agree. I have heard the statement that the devices couldn't have been detonated by mobiles as they do not work in the Underground. Not true. There are certain areas of the underground that receive reception, and I would have thought the train was above ground at the entrance to a tunnel.

Amanda

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They must have had a signal because we have seen and heard images taken by people who were on the train - and in the tunnel as they were making their way out.

Sylvia

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Could we include

The epitome of bystander apathy - a perverted individual who walked around filming the carnage with a mobile rather than going to the assistance of the many people needing attenion?

The amnesiacs - those adults who saw that a 12 year old girl had been trying to text her parents, who have themselves relied on mobiles for so long they did not think to explain to her what a Phone Box was?

Amanda

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I still think after everyone saying they couldn’t get signals AFTER the bombs its because they automatically turn networks off cause they know most of these bombs are now detonated by MPhones.

Panarama last night said clearly the train bombs were all detonated by mobile phones.

Cheers

Lisa

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Other clarification of if, and how:
//www.silicon.com/0,39024729,39150177,00.htm

Andy
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