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NTT DoCoMo to prioritise SMS in event of disasters
Posted on 8-Apr-2004 20:17 | Tags Filed under: News

NTT DoCoMo announced today that it can separately manage voice calls and data packet transmissions for some handsets to avoid excessive network congestion during major natural disasters.

The move is expected to increase the ability to successfully transmit text messages to DoCoMo's i-mode Disaster Message Board service, even if network traffic should rise sharply during a major disaster.

Presently, if network traffic were to become exceedingly heavy during a disaster, DoCoMo could be forced to block traffic in selected areas on a temporary basis to prevent serious degradation of network performance. In some instances, urgent messages sent to the Disaster Message Board could be blocked inadvertently.

By separating management of voice calls and data packet transmissions, DoCoMo expects that text messages will have an increased chance for successful transmission during a disaster, when the traffic of voice calls would likely rise and that of data packet transmissions would be relatively low.

The i-mode Disaster Message Board service, launched on 17 January 2004, enables i-mode subscribers in Japan to post text messages on a special i-mode site, rather than making voice calls, to help avoid network congestion. DoCoMo will enable users to try out the service (Japanese only) from 20 April 10am to 26 April 5pm.

In a separate measure, DoCoMo users making calls during major disasters will hear an announcement encouraging them to use the i-mode Disaster Message Board service or NTT's disaster message service (dial 171) instead of calling individuals directly, which will also help to reduce network traffic.

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