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Kerala Floods: Mobile Operators Fail To Connect During Disaster

Kerala, which is facing huge economy crisis on account of unprecedented flood due to heavy rains, expects telecom operators to beef up their mobile network in the state.

Any additional investment in telecom network will assist 42.395 million plus mobile phone customers to connect with their friends and family members during emergency. All 14 districts in Kerala are facing break down in the communications system impacting the rescue efforts.

Most of the phone subscribers lost connectivity in the past several days because mobile operators did not receive power or alternative fuel resources to support their telecom infrastructure in the state.

“Instead offering free calls to their subscribers, mobile service providers should ensure that we can connect with people via voice and data services. In most places, mobile networks are not available for several days,” said a State government official.

Subscribers of all mobile networks can dial toll-free number 1948 to receive last known location information of the missing person over an SMS.

Idea Cellular said its engineers are working 24×7 to restore connectivity in the flood-hit regions.

Airtel’s network teams and telecom tower partners are making efforts to ensure the network is up and running despite the challenge of lack of power supply and disruption in movement of fuel supplies.

Airtel will deploy VSAT at five major relief centers in Kerala to provide free Wi-Fi and voice calling facility to people.

Idea Cellular is offering Emergency Talktime credit of Rs 10 for pre-paid customers in Kerala. Customers can dial *150*150# to get the Talktime instantly.

All Idea pre-paid customers will get 1 GB data free valid for 7 days. This benefit will be automatically credited to customers.

Idea will extend the due date for bill payment for all post-paid customers to ensure they continue using the services, uninterrupted.

Idea subscribers on unlimited packs whose validity is expiring on 16, 17, 18 August will get an additional two days of validity.

Airtel is offering auto approval of Talk Time credit of up to Rs 30 for all Airtel pre-paid mobile customers in Kerala.

Airtel is offering free 1 GB mobile data for all Airtel pre-paid smart phone users for seven days.

Airtel has extended bill payment dates for all Airtel post-paid and home broadband customers to ensure they have uninterrupted access to services.

Google said people in Kerala do not need an active Internet connection to search for missing persons. Customers can use Google Maps on smartphones and dial code numbers available there to make voice messages or SMSs. – Telecom Lead

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