This winter, mobile phone networks are at risk of being cut: this is what you should know

This winter, mobile phone networks are at risk of being cut: this is what you should know

Winter is going to be hard in Europe due to the energy crisis. In the worst case, the French mobile networks of Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR could be offline for several hours. This would result in degraded or even completely disconnected mobile service.

The current energy crisis, which raises the price of electricity considerably, could have even greater repercussions, due to the power cuts planned by RTE and Enedis in the event of cold winters and low availability of nuclear facilities. The consequence could be a blackout in mobile phone networks as reported Reuters.

The hypothetical power cuts could deprive the repeater antennas of the mobile operators (Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR) of electricity. for up to two hours. Mobile operator sites are not considered ” sensitive “, unlike hospitals or certain high-risk industries.

30 minutes of autonomy thanks to the batteries

You should know that in the event of a power outage, the mobile network antennas can remain active for about 30 minutes thanks to an integrated battery. But if the outage lasts longer, the mobile network in the affected area will no longer be accessible.

It is planned that the power outages will be rotating, that is, district by district, and with a maximum duration of two hours. In the event of an outage in one area, service may not be completely cut off, but severely degraded, if another antenna still powered covers the area.

What solutions?

Enedis, which runs the French power grid, the government and the French telecommunications federation are trying to find a solution. It is up to the government to add mobile operators to the list of sensitive sites. But according to an expert on the matter from the Ministry of Finance, “it is not easy to isolate an antenna from the rest of the network “.

In Germany, Deutsch Telecom plans deploy diesel generators to power mobile phone antennas in the event of a prolonged power outage. In France, accordinginternet Diary,orange is workingwith prefectures and the entire ecosystem so that as many sites as possible are labeled as essential to reduce the impact of load shedding on mobile networks“.

Orange wants”the chosen restriction zones allow to continue providing coverage there through antennas installed in adjacent areas“. The fixed network will not be affected by the cutssince Orange indicates that the backup batteries can supply the historical network for several hours.

Mobile operators also complain about the extremely tight time between Enedis’ announcement of the upcoming shutdown and the start of the shutdown. The manager of the electrical network plans to notify the operators the day before for the following day. In this case, it is difficult to plan a service continuity plan, even downgraded.

Sobriety measures by mobile operators

An expert announces that mobile sites represent approximately 1% of total electricity consumption in France. Orange continues to intend to reduce the weight of its mobile network in the electricity network in order to reduce the risk of rotating load shedding, for “changing several thousand installations from fixed network to batteries one hour a day. This will save up to 20 MW in this period of time, that is, the instantaneous consumption of an average city of 40,000 inhabitants.“.

For its part, Iliad wishes to extinguishcertain frequency bands at night by expanding your current system to frequencies of 2100 MHz in 4G, 2100 in 3G and 3.5 GHz in 5G“then allow”a reduction in site electricity consumption of more than 10%“.

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