Why does the telephone signal fail in an earthquake?

Sending a brief text message is an alternative that will allow us to interact with our relatives after an earthquake while minimizing the likelihood of a widespread signal loss occurring.

Why does the telephone signal fail in an earthquake?
When there's an earthquake, why does my phone signal disappear? Photo by freestocks / Unsplash

It is no secret that the phone signal fails when there is an earthquake and that is when users ask themselves the question: why is my cell phone not responding?

There is a false belief that the earthquake shakes the antennas that send the signal to the phone and that is what causes the failure in the service or even people who are working in these companies at the time of the earthquake are out of their workplaces and that is why the service stops.

What happens is that many people try to communicate with their relatives by cell phone or landline and that is when communications become saturated. In other words, the demand exceeds the capacity of the installed infrastructure.

How much data do we use when communicating?

According to figures from the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) a video consumes 5 megabytes to send one minute of video. On the other hand, if you send a text message through these instant messengers, either via Whatsapp, or Messenger, you have almost 10 kilobytes.

"...Sending a photograph consumes 200 kilobites, that means that if you send a text of one kilobite against 200 kilobites of a photograph, what you have is 200 times more load on the network..." stated to Fuerza Informativa Azteca, Víctor Manuel Rodríguez, Executive Coordinator of the Federal Telecommunications Institute.

What is the best thing I can do after an earthquake to communicate after an earthquake?

When an earthquake occurs, most users try to use their cell phones, which is why the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) recommends that once safe, we connect to fixed internet networks since these are practically free of traffic and therefore are more efficient.

"...What we are doing is that all the traffic that was previously discharged through the fixed networks is now being discharged through the mobile networks and this is what we observe as the saturation of the mobile signal..." stated Victor Manuel Rodriguez, Executive Coordinator of the IFT.

It is recommended to send short text messages after an earthquake to avoid signal saturation.

Telecommunications experts assure that the failure of the electricity service or even the fall of poles after an earthquake are also factors that could have an impact on the saturation of the telephone signal.

That is why they advise that the best alternative to communicate with our relatives is to compose and send a short text message since the lines should be kept free for those who need help. Avoid making calls unless strictly necessary, such as calling civil protection or emergency services.