Mobile phone users in three Brisbane suburbs may be unable to contact triple-0 for weeks as upgrades to a local shopping centre will cut power to telecommunications infrastructure.
Telstra texted customers in Gaythorne, Mitchelton and Everton Park last week warning of network disruptions between January 30 and March 7.
Area general manager May Boisen told ABC Radio Brisbane it would switch off its mobile base station on the roof of Mitchelton’s Brookside Shopping Centre during work on the building’s cooling tower and signage.
Despite expecting the impact on customers to be minimal, Ms Boisen said people unable to access landlines or alternative services offered by Telstra during these times could have trouble contacting emergency services.
“What normally happens in triple-0 scenarios is if the Telstra mobile network is not available it will switch over to another provider,” she said.
“Unfortunately all the providers are in the same position that we’re in as well.
“That’s why we’ve put mitigations in place.”
Ms Boisen said Telstra would stagger the network outages to minimise disruption.
This meant Telstra customers might not be able to receive or send calls or texts in Gaythorne between January 30 and February 9, Mitchelton between February 12 and 22 and Everton Park from February 23 to March 7.
How can get I through to triple-0?
Telstra’s base station will only be turned off to accommodate construction on weekdays between 6:00am and 6:00pm, so you can still make calls overnight and on weekends.
Landlines won’t be affected by the outage.
If an emergency is happening outside those times and you don’t have a landline at home, there’s other options in place.
Telstra payphones in Gaythorne, Mitchelton and Everton Park will be free while mobile services are affected. (AAP: Joel Carrett, file photo)
Ms Boisen said Telstra would park a “cell on wheels” at its Mitchelton exchange to beef up coverage in the affected areas.
Payphones in these suburbs will also be free to use while the mobile network is out of action.
“If people have got compatible handsets, they can make and receive calls on their mobiles if they’re connected to a wi-fi network as well,” she said.
I’m not with Telstra, will I still be affected?
A Vodaphone spokesperson said its customers were unlikely to experience significant impacts during construction at the shopping centre because it operated several sites in the surrounding area.
However, additional traffic on surrounding sites could slow down data speeds and delay text messages.
Optus said construction at Brookside Shopping Centre was not expected to create any coverage black spots for its customers, but some would experience slower internet speeds or reduced reception.