A Year Ago: Mobile meltdown predicted for New Year's Eve

First published: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 12:05:12 GMT

Networks could buckle under pressure from widespread phone calls at midnight

Millions of mobile phones across the country are likely to crash at midnight New Year's Eve, according to Home Secretary Jack Straw.

Straw told MPs Tuesday that mobile networks might be brought to a grinding halt by millions of mobile phone users calling their loved ones at midnight. He also outlined the process for implementing alternative networks in order to ensure that this does not affect Britain's government departments and emergency services.

Straw told The Independent that phone activity over the millennium is likely to render may phones useless. "It is highly probable that many mobile phones will be used around midnight... High levels of use could swamp the system."

Last week it was revealed that a number of multinational companies are rushing to buy satellite mobile phones so that they are not affected by network meltdowns. The news also comes days after it was predicted that ordinary phone networks worldwide may ironically suffer disruption caused by people listening to see if they are still working.

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