Reply to post: Inability to call emergency services

Verizon outage borks phones, TVs, internet for hapless East Coast folk

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Inability to call emergency services

Apparently a small portion of the general public are of the belief that when you dial the emergency services (000, 112, 911, etc…) your otherwise terrestrial GSM phone magically transforms itself into a satellite phone.

No one seems to be able to explain how this happens… and the telecommunications engineer in me remains sceptical.

About the only thing that is true is that if you're in an area serviced by a carrier, and you call emergency services, the phone will use any network's tower that it can reach… handy one day when a bushwalker slipped and broke his ankle down in Lammington National Park. My phone service is with Telstra who didn't have coverage where I was standing but I managed to get through to a foreign tower (probably Optus) to get the chopper in. (Had to stand bolt upright too, move 6" and the phone would drop the call.)

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