With regard to base station equipment, the earthquake and tsunami caused disruptions to the commercial power supply and equipment failure, primarily in the Tohoku and the Kanto Koshinetsu regions. As of 5:00 p.m. on March 12 (JST), 6,720 stations were inoperable.
DOCOMO, with the help of other NTT group companies and construction companies, mobilized a total of some 4,000 people to make an all-out effort to restore its communication services. By 2:00 p.m., March 28 (JST), approximately 90 percent of the stations have been restored along with the recovery of the commercial power supply, leaving 690 stations remaining to be restored.
Many of the base station equipment yet to be restored include those that have suffered entrance circuit disruptions, submersion and physical damage of equipment, and those that are difficult to access due to the nuclear power plant incident.
Number of base station equipment with disrupted services
For restoration going forward, DOCOMO has formulated a restoration plan for 375 base station*, equivalent to approximately 530 base station equipment with disrupted services (FOMA) in the three prefectures, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. As for the 307 base stations in the Fukushima prefecture, excluding the 68 stations that are difficult to access due to the nuclear power plant incident, DOCOMO is endeavoring to restore a total of 248 stations (150 stations by mid-April and another 98 stations by late April) through restoration of transmission lines using optical fiber, micro-wireless circuits and satellite circuits and utilization of large zone schemes (a method to cover areas normally covered by multiple stations by utilizing a single station) by installing base stations at mountaintops and other locations.
As for the remaining 59 stations, due to delays in restoration from physical damage to mountain areas and facilities within road tunnels, among other factors, satellite mobile phones and other devices will be provided at meeting places/centers.
For specific details on the restoration plans, we intend to make the information available on the “Restoration Area Maps” in early April.
|* Base station||:||A base that has base station equipment installed. There may be instances where there are multiple base station equipment (2 GHz and 800MHz, etc.) installed on a single base station.|
Number of base stations expected to be restored (FOMA) and the expected restoration dates
After the earthquake struck, communications traffic increased dramatically and it was difficult for calls to get through. To address this, DOCOMO implemented maximum capacity restrictions on voice calls of 80 percent (90 percent in certain areas) around the Tohoku and Kanto regions to ensure that important communications could go through. In Miyagi prefecture, DOCOMO temporarily implemented maximum capacity restrictions on packet transmissions of 30 percent immediately after the earthquake, however, there has been no restrictions since.
With regard to DOCOMO Shops, immediately after the earthquake, 159 out of 195 shops in the Tohoku region were forced to close temporarily, but as a result of the efforts to reopen quickly, all shops, other than those in buildings that were severely damaged or those within the evacuation area around the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, have reopened. As of March 28, 21 DOCOMO Shops still remain closed.
Restoration status to date in the areas that were mainly impacted
Immediately after the earthquake struck, DOCOMO established a Disaster Countermeasures Office in its headquarters office and the Tohoku Regional Office, thus creating an organizational structure capable of close collaboration 24-hours-a-day. These Disaster Countermeasure Offices then commenced efforts to understand the extent and nature of the damage and initiate restoration.
In Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the three prefectures where the damage was the greatest, DOCOMO headquarters and branch offices, as well as group companies, are cooperating to the utmost in endeavors to restore services as quickly as possible.
To provide people affected by the earthquake and its aftermath with a means of communication, DOCOMO has been providing a “Disaster Message Board service” since immediately after the earthquake. In order to enable even more people to use this service as a means of communication with those affected, the regions eligible to post messages were expanded to cover the entire nation on March 17, and starting March 18, in addition to posting messages using i-mode, posting of messages from smartphones was also enabled. As of 12:00 midnight on March 28 (JST), the number of messages posted reached approximately 3.79 million.
For areas where mobile phones cannot be used, DOCOMO has deployed approximately 30 mobile base station vehicles in efforts to secure communications. Further, to secure communication for the people affected by the earthquake, DOCOMO is renting to local administrative agencies and installing at evacuation shelters approximately 870 satellite mobile phones, approximately 1,440 mobile phones and approximately 180 tablet PCs, and has also established approximately 210 stations where mobile phones can be recharged for free using multi-chargers, solar chargers and AC adaptors. (As of 1:00 p.m., March 28 (JST))
For Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, which suffered the greatest damage from the earthquake, “Restoration Area Maps”, which enable one to confirm such details as areas where FOMA service is available, areas that have been restored or are planning to be restored through the use of mobile base station vehicles, locations where satellite mobile phone and free recharging services are available and DOCOMO Shops’ store information, as well as conduct searches using municipality names, were newly released on March 20. Furthermore, for specific details on the restoration plans, we intend to make the information available on the Restoration Area Maps in early April.
In order to support the affected areas, DOCOMO launched a website to collect donations from its customers. The collected contributions will be donated to a specified non-profit corporation, Japan Platform (the total donations made as of March 28 amounted to 751,315,192 yen).
For customers living in the areas where DOCOMO’s communication facilities were unavailable* due to failures caused by the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean Earthquake, DOCOMO will refund basic monthly fees for the periods when the service was not available.
|Extension of walk-in payment deadline for charges (extension of approximately one month)||Payment deadline is already extended for March bills (to May 2), but DOCOMO will also extend the payment deadline for April bills to May 31.|
|Mobile phone repair charges for half the regular price||Services will be further extended until May 31 (previously until April 11).
Service applications are accepted at DOCOMO Shops anywhere in Japan.
|Free data restoring service for soaked mobile phones|
|Special discount at time of mobile phone purchase (maximum of 10,500 yen)|
|No fee for FOMA card reissuance|