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Emergency Message Service Has Flaws

Posted April. 11, 2006 02:59,   


The National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) emergency text message service did not function well during the dust storms that hit the nation last Saturday.

The agency and mobile phone service providers estimate that about 70 percent of mobile phone users can receive emergency notification text messages.

One NEMA official said that the agency sent yellow dust warning text messages five times on Saturday between 10:50 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to different regions.

But NEMA does not know how many mobile phone users actually received those weather warning text messages.

Last May, NEMA signed a deal with mobile service providers to provide disaster warning SMS service to mobile phone users. Under the deal, every mobile phone with SMS broadcast receiving function can get the warning messages without any separate procedure.

Nevertheless, many people complained that they did not receive the yellow dust warning SMS on Saturday.

A 36-year-old company worker Chung is one of them. Although his mobile phone is equipped with the necessary function, he did not get the warning message. Upon inquiry, his service provider SK Telecom told him that those who do not use the latest models must subscribe to the service to receive the message.

One LG Telecom employee in charge of SMS broadcasting said that people who are far from base stations may not receive the message and some mobile phones may have a malfunctioning channel. But he could not confirm the exact causes of the service failure.

Currently, SK Telecom’s Nate-Air, KTF’s multi-Q, and LG Telecom’s ez-channel and mitv channel provide disaster warning SMS service to their subscribers for free.