Mobile networks holding up in Christchurch following aftershocks

Update: Telecom urges customers to ration mobile phone use, Vodafone reports two sites down

Vodafone, Telecom and 2degrees have confirmed that their networks are functioning after today's 5.5 and 6.0 magnitude aftershocks in Canterbury.

However at 5.45pm Telecom was warning its mobile and fixed networks in Christchurch continue to be affected by this afternoon’s aftershocks and earlier Vodafone reported that seven cellsites were down.

At 9pm Vodafone issued a media statement in which it said its mobile network in Canterbury were operational following the aftershocks and that power has been restored to most sites, with only Southshore and Shirley sites still down.

On Tuesday morning Telecom continued to ask customers to confine mobile phone use to important calls and use text messages instead. It has made its payphones in Christchurch free for local, national and mobile calling until the end of the week and provided 50 free WiFi hotspots so residents can access the internet.

Tuesday 9.45am update Telecom

"A number of fixed and mobile network sites are operating on backup power due to widespread mains power loss and more generators have been brought in overnight.

Telecom continues to ask customers to confine mobile phone use to important calls only, and to use text messages as an alternative to calling in order to conserve backup power supplies.

As an alternative, Telecom payphones across the city will be free for local, national and mobile calling until the end of the week.

Telecom has also set up more than 50 free WiFi hotspots across Christchurch so residents can access the internet for free. A map of the WiFi hotspots can be found online here. To use Telecom’s free WiFi in Christchurch, people can configure their mobile and computing devices by looking for the WiFi address (SSID) ‘Telecom Free WiFi’.

Telecom reminds customers who are without mains power that they can use analogue phones which do not require power to operate. Telecom’s two Christchurch data centres remain operable."

9pm update Vodafone

"Vodafone’s mobile network in Canterbury is operational following the aftershocks today. Power has now been restored to most of the sites, and all are fully functioning except Southshore and Shirley. We have eight sites operating on generator and a re-fuelling schedule planned for the night.

Cellsites on Wheels (COWs) and extra generators are already deployed around the region, by the technology team who will be monitoring the situation overnight.

All Vodafone retail stores are closed until structural and electrical damage has been assessed Tuesday morning. In tomorrow’s update we will publish the list of the shops who are trading, none are expected to open before 11.30am. The Vodafone Hornby temporary Head Office is structurally sound and will be opening as normal on Tuesday. All Vodafone people in the Canterbury region have been contacted and are safe.

Some customers experienced delays receiving TXTs between Vodafone and other networks immediately following the major aftershocks. Although this backlog is clearing, it may take a little time to clear completely. New TXT messages are getting through.

Until power is restored across Christchurch, we recommend people txt rather than call, and only use their phone for emergency calls to preserve both battery power of their handset as well as reduce capacity on the network. A full list of tips on how to make best use of telecommunications during an emergency is available here."

5.45pm update Telecom

"Mobile networks continue to be congested, and a number of fixed and mobile network sites are operating on backup power due to widespread mains power loss.

Telecom continues to ask customers to confine phone use to emergency calling only, and to use text messages as an alternative to calling in order to conserve capacity on the network as well as backup power supplies.

Telecom reminds customers who are without mains power that they can use analogue phones which do not require power to operate.

We will monitoring the situation closely overnight and will provide a further update on the state of the network tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Canterbury."

5pm update Vodafone

Vodafone says 27 sites are operating on back-up power, 2 sites are operating just with 3G capacity and 7 sites are not operating at all.

“The sites that are down are in Sydenham, Southshore, Hagley Park, New Brighton Road, Shirley, Waltham, Avondale North, McCormacks Bay and Woolston.

Cellsites on Wheels (COWs) and extra generators are now being deployed around the region, by the technology team who will be working throughout the night. Vodafone technical staff are visiting inaccessible areas via helicopter to assess the damage.

All Vodafone retail stores are closed until damage has been assessed, and Vodafone’s temporary headquarters in Hornby has also sustained structural damage. All Vodafone people in the Canterbury region have been contacted and are safe.

Some customers experienced delays receiving txts between Vodafone and other networks immediately following the major aftershocks. Although this backlog is clearing, it may take a little more time to clear completely. New txt messages are getting through.”

3.30pm update

A statement from Vodafone says: "Following this afternoon’s latest aftershocks in Christchurch, Vodafone’s mobile network in the region is fully operational but due to the current demand we are experiencing some congestion. Due to mains power loss, 27 sites are currently working on back-up power and three sites are down. All Vodafone staff in the Christchurch area are safe and accounted for.

"We continue to recommend customers only use their phone for emergency calls to preserve both battery power of their handset as well as reduce capacity on the network.”

Telecom's statement reads: "Telecom’s mobile and fixed networks continue to be congested following this afternoon’s earthquakes.

"Widespread mains power loss is also affecting mobile and fixed networks, with a number of sites operating on backup power.

As a result of this disruption Telecom continues to ask customers to confine phone use to emergency calling only, and to use text messages as an alternative to calling in order to conserve capacity.

"We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to provide updates as the situation develops."

2Degrees' statement says: "The 2degrees network continued to operate after today’s big aftershocks.

"No sites are out of service.

"The 2degrees network in Canterbury experienced some minor congestion for a short period of time after each aftershock."

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Tags christchurchEarthquakeaftershocksVodafone

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