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100kg Network Deployed in Typhoon-hit Philippines

Kirsty Styles

The Vodafone Foundation has deployed its ultra-portable mobile network, the Instant Network, in the area of the Philippines hit by Typhoon Pablo on 4 December.

The GSM base station fits into three suitcases and weighs less than 100kg. A network can be established in under an hour and will enable people in the municipality of Baganga to contact relatives and aid agencies to carry out emergency work.

Communications lines were cut when Typhoon Pablo hit, damaging cell sites and telecoms transmission facilities. The network will provide coverage of between three and five kilometres and can transmit and receive thousands of text messages and dozens of calls simultaneously.

The Instant Network was deployed earlier this year during severe droughts in Northern Kenya but this is the first time it has been used in an emergency disaster situation and in a country where the Foundation does not operate.

It has been developed in collaboration with Huawei and is being deployed with Télécoms Sans Frontières, the emergency comms specialist that has has set up the satellite, and Smart Communications. Smart has also provided 30 mobile phones for relief workers.

“The Instant Network is part of our Mobile for Good programme, where the Foundation is combining funding with mobile technology as an enabler," said Andrew Dunnett, director of the Vodafone Foundation. "Providing mobile communications in a disaster situation enables aid agencies to work faster and more effectively, helps reunite families and saves lives.”