The earthquake that struck Qinghai, western China, yesterday crashed the local fixed-line network and seriously damaged the three mobile networks.
China Telecom’s central office in Yushu in southern Qinghai was badly damaged by the 7.1 quake and could collapse at any time, sina.com reported.
Telecom’s fixed-line access network is out of action in four counties and, with power also cut, is expected to remain offline for some time, China Telecom said. The quake also severed cables in numerous places.
The earthquake took 64 of China Mobile’s 98 base stations in Yushu prefecture off the air, CCIDreported, quoting local media. It said half of China Telecom’s 44 CDMA base stations and 15 of Unicom’s 37 GSM/W-CDMA sites had gone down.
All three operators have rushed emergency crews, mobile base stations, satphones and backup power supplies to Yushu, a sparsely populated grasslands area approximately 4000 meters above sea level. It is 16 hours by road from the provincial capital, Xining.
China Mobile is offering free mobile calls and a Chinese-Tibetan language hotline to help people find loved ones.
China Mobile also said it would repair the backhaul link from the main town, Jiegu, to the local airport.
The death toll from the quake so far is approximately 600, with another 10,000 injured, state media reported.
The Communist Party publicity department has banned journalists from outside Qinghai from reporting from the quake zone, scmp.com said.