Restoring mobile services post tsunami

Restoring mobile services post tsunami

Summary: Japan's largest telecommunications company, NTT Docomo, lost 5000 mobile base stations in the horrific earthquakes and subsequent tsunami that hit northern Japan in March, but some services were restored within two days.

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Japan's largest telecommunications company, NTT Docomo, lost 5000 mobile base stations in the horrific earthquakes and subsequent tsunami that hit northern Japan in March, but some services were restored within two days.

Docomo services 48.2 per cent of all Japanese mobile customers, accounting for more than 58 million customers overall. While the devastating earthquakes and tsunamis destroyed a number of Docomo shops in the Tohoku area, as well as the top floor of the Tohoku call centre, Docomo was able to quickly mobilise and restore services in many areas quickly, according to Atsushi Ohara, Docomo's manager of information systems.

"Within many areas, mobile services were available within two days, and all Docomo services on April 26th," Ohara told the G-Force 2011 conference in Melbourne today.

To help restore services, 400 employees were brought to the area, he said, and many of the local staff even came in to work to help restore the call centre, despite the devastation caused in the region.

Ohara said the company was able to dynamically reroute customer calls from the Tokohu centre to one of the other 24 call centres across the country thanks to the deployment of the Genesys nationwide platform.

Prior to the roll-out, Docomo had 32 different systems across the nation. These systems weren't linked, so the 7300-strong call centre workforce couldn't transfer the 25 million calls the company receives from customers from one centre to another.

Docomo picked NEC as its system integrator and deployment of the new platform began in July 2009, and was completed after 14 months, in September 2010, six months before the big waves rolled in on the back of the earthquake.

In the wake of the tsunami, Ohara said Docomo now plans to expand its datacentre footprint, which consisted of a datacentre in Tokyo, to encompass a second datacentre in Osaka. He said that the company will now require 100 per cent backup of its central system and it must be able to be recovered within 24 hours. As power was out for a number of days following the tsunami, Ohara said a new requirement will be for the system to not only survive physical damage, but also the loss of electricity supply.

Josh Taylor travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Genesys

Topics: Telcos, Tech Industry

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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