All eyes are on Japan this week, after the country’s north east coast was devastated by a tsunami following an offshore earthquake
The quake damaged vital subsea cables and knocked out mobile networks, resulting in massive difficulties for search and rescue teams, and people trying to locate relatives or friends.
NTT DoCoMo reported that nearly 2,500 of its base stations were down by early Tuesday, as all three mobile carriers reported outages and severe congestion across all networks.
Global bodies including the ITU rushed to deploy satellite phones to aid the rescue effort, while carriers sent out portable base stations and generators in a bid to restore services.
Tech firms rallied round the stricken country. Amazon and Google set up Red Cross donation functions on their website, while the search giant set up a people finder service similar to operator’s own disaster message boards.
Nokia made a donation to the Red Cross, and pledged to match any donation made by employees to the charity’s disaster fund.
While stock markets got jittery about potential disruptions to consumer electronics manufacturer’s supply chains, European tech stocks bore up well in Monday trading.
Elsewhere, the European Commission demanded Spain and Hungary comply quickly with directives covering the re-farming of spectrum in the 900MHz frequency for mobile internet. In a separate move, the Commission called for both countries along with France to drop so-called ‘telecoms taxes’.
Sources revealed Nokia Siemens Networks could drop disputed GSM assets from its acquisition of Motorola Solutions, to appease Chinese antitrust authorities.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology revealed it will take three to five years for large scale commercial rollout of LTE services to happen.
The final quarter of 2010 was the most successful since 4Q07 in terms of net subscriber additions. Figures from TeleGeography show 196 million new mobile users were signed up during the quarter, with Asia Pacific driving much of the growth.
Meanwhile, China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier by subscriber numbers, announced a 4% rise in net profit to 119.6 billion yuan ($18.2 billion) in 2010, on the back of a near 50% increase in mobile Internet revenues.
And Ofcom’s decision to cut UK mobile termination rates 80% in the next four years drew a mixed response from carriers.