TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Cell Phone Outages During Disasters

Re: Cell Phone Outages During Disasters

Mr Joseph Singer (
Sun, 4 Jun 2006 11:05:45 PDT

Lee Sweet <> Fri, 02 Jun 2006 09:16:45 -0400 wrote:

> This may have been covered here last fall at the time of Katrina or
> perhaps even before, but the topic came up for us recently as we're
> doing some Disaster Recovery planning and I didn't recall the answer.

> Is it true that roaming cell phones can't work independently of
> resources in the home market? I would have assumed that the databases
> they need to refer to make outgoing calls (and perhaps the ones for
> inbound calls to be redirected to them in another market) wouldn't be
> centralized in the phone's home market, but be located elsewhere. For
> instance, perhaps Verizon Wireless would have one or more of these
> database resources around its coverage area, not one for each home
> market where it's prone to damage in a disaster.

Sure, if the infrastructure at the location where inbound calls are
sent is damaged or unavailable the call wouldn't be delivered. This is
no different than normal wireline service. I couldn't get through to
any calls in NPA 504 for days and days after the 29th of August. I
don't think that's any different than for any other kind of traffic
into a disaster area. If you're a cellular subscriber who has a number
in the area affected it's not hard to see why calls to a subscriber
would not be able to be completed since the call has to be routed from
the originating switch and if incoming traffic to the switch isn't
possible it can't be routed out of the switch to find the cellular
subscriber whereve that subscriber is located. If the originating
switch is out of commission it would be sort of impossible for the
switch to send the call. As far as outgoing services there should not
be any problem at all since you'd be using the infrustructure of the
area you are in rather than of your "home" switch. Mr. Cuccia could
probably tell you about that.

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