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Telecom Firms Say SW China Quake Hurts Power for Networks

Monday's strong earthquake in southwest China has damaged power supplies to local telecommunications facilities, which affected cell phone services, network operators said.

According to China Mobile's branch in Sichuan, about 2,300 local base stations stopped operating due to power shutdowns and transmission failures caused by the quake and three switching stations were congested.

China Mobile has started repairing affected facilities, the office said.

Staff at China Mobile and China Unicom told Xinhua earlier that cell phone service in the southwestern Sichuan and northwestern Shaanxi provinces were affected by the earthquake.

Besides power disruptions, a surge in call volume following the quake could have also slowed the cell phone network, they said. Call volume was 10 times the normal level and the percentage of connections fell by half, China Mobile said.

The quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan County of Sichuan Province at 2:28 PM on Monday. Tremors were felt in a large part of China.

(Xinhua News Agency May 13, 2008)

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