Exclusive: Europe prepares for mobile network outages

Exclusive: Europe prepares for mobile network outages

PARIS/STOCKHOLM/MILAN, Sept 29 (Reuters) – As soon as unthinkable, cell phones may die out this winter in Europe if energy cuts or power rationing disrupt components of cell networks within the area.

Russia’s determination to chop off fuel provides by way of Europe’s key provide route following the battle in Ukraine has elevated the chance of energy shortages. In France, the scenario is aggravated by the shutdown of a number of nuclear energy crops for upkeep.

Telecoms trade officers say they concern a harsh winter may take a look at Europe’s telecoms infrastructure, forcing firms and governments to attempt to mitigate the impression.

At the moment, there usually are not sufficient backup methods in lots of European international locations to take care of widespread energy outages, 4 telecommunications officers mentioned, citing the potential for cell phone blackouts.

European Union international locations, together with France, Sweden and Germany, try to make sure the continuity of communications even when energy cuts ultimately exhaust the backup batteries put in on the 1000’s of mobile antennas unfold over their territory.

Europe has nearly half one million telecommunications towers and most of them have backup batteries that final round half-hour to function the cell antennas.


In France, a plan proposed by the electrical energy distributor Enedis gives for energy cuts of as much as two hours within the worst case, two sources accustomed to the matter mentioned.

Common blackouts would solely have an effect on sure components of the nation in flip. Important companies akin to hospitals, police and authorities won’t be affected, the sources mentioned.

The French authorities, telecommunications operators and Enedis, a unit of the general public utility EDF (EDF.PA)held talks on the matter over the summer time, the French authorities and the sources mentioned.

The French Telecoms Federation (FFT), strain group representing Orange (ORAN.PA)Bouygues Telecom (BOUY.PA) and Altice’s SFR, shined the highlight on Enedis for its failure to exempt antennas from energy cuts.

Enedis declined to touch upon the content material of the discussions held with the federal government on this topic.

Enedis mentioned in an announcement to Reuters that each one common clients have been handled equally within the occasion of remarkable outages.

He mentioned he was capable of isolate sections of the community to provide precedence clients, akin to hospitals, key industrial services and the navy and that it was as much as native authorities so as to add operator infrastructure telecommunications to the record of precedence clients.

“Perhaps we’ll enhance our information on the topic by this winter, however it isn’t simple to isolate a cell antenna (from the remainder of the community),” mentioned an official from the French Ministry of Finance knowledgeable. talks.

A spokesperson for the French finance ministry declined to touch upon talks with Enedis, telecoms teams and the federal government.


Telecom operators in Sweden and Germany have additionally raised issues about attainable energy shortages with their governments, a number of sources accustomed to the matter mentioned.

Swedish telecoms regulator PTS is working with telecoms operators and different authorities companies to seek out options, he mentioned. This consists of discussions about what is going to occur if electrical energy is rationed.

PTS is funding the acquisition of transportable fuel stations and cell base stations that hook up with cell telephones to deal with longer energy outages, a PTS spokesperson mentioned.

Italy’s telecoms foyer has informed Reuters it desires the cell community to be excluded from any blackouts or energy saving and can elevate the problem with Italy’s new authorities.

Energy outages improve the chance of digital parts failing within the occasion of sudden interruptions, telecommunications foyer chief Massimo Sarmi mentioned in an interview.


Nokia Telecom Tools Producers (NOKIA.HE) and Ericsson (ERICb.ST) are working with cell operators to mitigate the impression of an influence scarcity, three sources accustomed to the matter mentioned.

Each firms declined to remark.

European telecom operators have to overhaul their networks to scale back extra energy consumption and improve gear to extra energy-efficient radio designs, the 4 telecom leaders mentioned.

To save lots of power, telecom firms are utilizing software program to optimize site visitors circulation, make towers “sleep” when not in use and switch off totally different frequency bands, folks accustomed to the matter mentioned.

Telecom operators are additionally working with nationwide governments to examine whether or not plans are in place to take care of essential companies.

In Germany, Deutsche Telekom has 33,000 cell radio websites (towers) and its cell backup energy methods can solely assist a small quantity on the identical time, an organization spokesperson mentioned.

Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE) will use cell backup energy methods that rely totally on diesel for prolonged energy outages, he mentioned.

France has round 62,000 cell towers and the trade won’t be able to suit all antennas with new batteries, mentioned FFT President Liza Bellulo.

Accustomed to an uninterrupted energy provide for many years, European international locations typically should not have backup turbines for longer durations.

“We could also be a bit spoiled in giant components of Europe the place electrical energy is kind of steady and good,” mentioned a telecoms trade official. “Funding in power storage might have been lower than in another international locations.”

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain in Paris, Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm and Elvira Pollina in Milan; Extra reporting by Inti Landauro in Madrid; Modifying by Matt Scuffham and Jane Merriman

Our requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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