MANILA, Philippines – Globe Telecom said on Sunday, December 7, it implemented an interruption of its cellular service in Eastern Samar to minimize the damage that Typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit) could wreak on its network infrastructure.
Preemptive measures, Globe said in explaining why mobile phone signals were down since Saturday, December 6, in the province where the typhoon made its first landfall.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), though, approved the preemptive measures, which include a temporary service interruption of mobile coverage in Eastern Samar, now under Signal Number 3.
As such, SMS and data services will not be available to some customers in the area.
Globe’s shutdown involves a base station facility in Gigoso, Giporlos, Eastern Samar. This is affecting mobile coverage in 34 sites in the municipalities of Can-avid, Boronggan, Dolores, Eduard, Gamay, Hernani, Canceledes, Sulat, Julian, Lapinig, Lloren, Luis, Mabuta, McArthur, Maydolong, Mapanas, Oras, Salcedo, San Policarpio, Sulat, Taft, Balangkayan and Giporlos.
Reports from Rappler staff and volunteers indicated, however, that other nearby provinces, like Northern Samar, also lost their Globe and Smart mobile signals starting Saturday.
Prior to Ruby’s landfall, local telecommunication companies said they have activated their teams to ensure their network facilties are equipped with back-up supplies.
Yoly Crisanto, Globe’s senior vice president for corporate communications, said the company begun assessing the typhoon’s impact on network infrastructure on Sunday, but “actual field work” will start only after the weather gets better.
“We’re hoping to undertake actual field work by tomorrow (December 8),” said Crisanto.
Regional network operations teams in the Visayas, Greater Manila Area, and South Luzon are undertaking disaster-preparedness measures while those in Mindanao and North Luzon are currently on standby.
As the need arises, critical spares and equipment are being prepositioned to expedite recovery process.
Critical vendors, suppliers, and sub-contractors were already contacted to help augment field recovery as needed while satellite phones are also being made available, Crisanto said.
No forced shutdown for PLDT
Meanwhile, dominant carrier Philippine Long Distance and Telephone Company (PLDT) said its network services continued to operate in most of the areas affected by the typhoon “except for areas in the provinces of Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.”
Both provinces have experienced strong winds and extensive power outages, making assesment of damages to network facilities difficult.
“We are conducting more detailed assessments and are beginning restoration work as conditions on the ground allow us to. We are in touch with our people in the field who have been reporting via fixed line, mobile and satellite phones,” said Ramon Isberto, PLDT spokesperson.
The PLDT group is the parent company of Smart and Sun Cellular.
Initially, the telecommunication firms provided aid for emergency communication needs of government agencies, as well as provinces and municipalities affected by the typhoon. – Rappler.com
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