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Operators struggling to restore Mobile service after earthquake.

Following the mega earthquake on Baishak 12 and the series of aftershocks afterward, Nepali telecom operators are working hard to recover their mobile services in the affected areas. The earthquake not only made a huge loss of life and buildings, but it had also brought a significant impact on the telecom infrastructures which is owned separately by the operators.

In several places, Operators used alternatives like Diesel Generators, Mobile BTS van, Satellite links, and Temporary cells on vehicles to resume the services on one hand whereas, on the other hand, the house-owners are putting a lot of pressure on the operators. As most of the telecom tower reside in people’s homes over their rooftop in City areas, it is giving a tough time for the operators to resume their service as the house owners are complaining to remove the towers from their houses.

There are some buildings where the damage is serious and that demands the immediate removal of the tower to prevent additional loss of life and property. But the house-owners whose buildings are not any way damaged, are also demanding to remove the towers. Fearful of additional damage from the recurrent aftershocks, such complaints from house owners are growing big. As communication in the emergency period is of utmost importance, Government bodies and regulators are asking operators to retain the basic mobile service at any cost.

NTA even provided additional frequencies in GSM 900 MHz to help the operators resume their services, this will be of avail if the operators could not operate their towers in people’s houses. With the increasing complaint letters from the rigid house-owners, operators (mostly NT, Ncell, and UTL) took it to the regulator NTA (Nepal Telecommunication Authority) for this issue which was already taken there by some house owners.

Civil engineers Team from the operators (along with support from NEA) have been assessing the telecom towers and they assured house-owners for no future damage in their property only due to the telecom towers, as it already withstood the major earthquake on Baishak 12 and have no significant damage in it. Being a responsible citizen, the house-owners should also cooperate with the operators to keep the communication alive in this emergency situation.

Photo: People using mobile at night inside their tents. Many people are still sleeping under tents, due to fear of recurrent earthquakes and the mobiles are their all-time companion.

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