NTT Docomo, KDDI Launches Communication Restoration Efforts from Offshore Bases

Courtesy of NTT Docomo Inc.
NTT Docomo’s base station equipment installed on a cable ship in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture.

NTT Docomo Inc. and KDDI Corp. began operating an offshore base from a ship off the coast of Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, as part of efforts to restore mobile communications in the area struck by the powerful earthquake last week.

Telecommunication companies have promoted such restoration initiatives in quake-affected areas where service remains disrupted.

The two firms started the operations Saturday as an emergency measure offshore of Machino in Wajima, which is difficult to reach by land.

They placed satellite communications equipment on a cable ship anchored about 1.7 kilometers off the coast. As the vessel transmits radio waves, mobile phones can now be used within a few kilometers of the ship, mainly in the coastal areas, sources said.

SoftBank Corp., for its part, began restoration efforts using drones equipped with communications equipment in Monzen in the city Saturday.

The company expects to relieve communication problems within a radius of several kilometers by transmitting radio waves aerially.

Communications disruptions in the Noto region are ongoing, making it difficult to use cellular services provided by the four major telecom companies.

According to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, as of 2:30 p.m. Saturday, communication problems remain in parts of Wajima, Suzu, Noto and Anamizu among other areas, and a total of 603 base stations were unable to transmit signals.