Europe Braces for Mobile Network Blackouts

PARIS / STOCKHOLM / MILAN, SANA– Cell phones would be unimaginable in Europe this winter if blackouts or power rationing disrupted parts of mobile phone networks across the region.

Russia’s decision to halt gas supplies through Europe’s main supply route in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine has increased the chances of an energy shortage. In France, the situation has been made worse by the closure of many nuclear power plants for maintenance purposes.

Telecom industry officials say they fear a harsh winter could put Europe’s telecom infrastructure on the line, forcing companies and governments to try to mitigate the impact.

Four telecoms executives said there are currently not enough backup systems in many European countries to deal with widespread power outages, raising the possibility of mobile phone outages.

European Union countries, including France, Sweden and Germany, are trying to ensure communications continue even if the blackout ends with the spare batteries installed on the thousands of cellular antennas scattered across their territories exhausted.

Europe has nearly half a million telecom towers and most of them have battery backups lasting about 30 minutes to power the portable antennas.


Manar Salameh/Amer Dawa

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