Vodafone Ukraine to maintain skeleton network in case of full blackout, says CEO

21 November 2022, 12:02 PM
Company will use diesel generators to keep some base stations running (Photo:Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters)

Company will use diesel generators to keep some base stations running (Photo:Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters)

Voice calls and SMS services will continue to work in some locations if there is a full blackout for several days, but there will be no mobile Internet, Olga Ustinova, CEO of mobile operator Vodafone Ukraine, has told NV Business.

Speaking at the sidelines of the Kyiv International Economic Forum on Nov. 20, Ustinova said maintaining the ability to make calls would be a priority for operators.

“We’ll limit services so people still have the chance to make calls,” she said.

“There will be voice messages, SMS, but it will be impossible to use WhatsApp or Viber.”

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The top manager said the operator’s base stations are equipped with batteries, but it will be impossible to charge them if there is now electricity for a long period.

Ustinova said the company is currently forming teams to refuel the diesel generators that will be used to maintain power at some of the operator’s base stations. The police and the territorial defense units will be involved in this process, she said.

“I can’t say that everything will be fine, since no network can run on diesel generators for a long time,” Ustinova said.

Under the national roaming scheme, in which the countries mobile operators offer competitors’ customers the use of their networks, three mobile operators are sharing areas of responsibility in cities, and each of them is responsible for certain districts in each city, she said.

“It’s clear that 20-30 Vodafone stations for the whole of Kyiv is not enough,” Ustinova said.

“(But) If each mobile operator has 20 (stations), then 60 (stations) is much better.”

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