Early this morning I noticed a barrage of Twitter messages complaining of a Docomo (NYSE:DCM) service outage here in Tokyo. According to a Bloomberg report this evening, Docomo says the service interruptions affected as many as 2.52 million users between 8:26am and 13:08 JST.
The report quotes a spokesman saying that a train stoppage ‘may’ (resulting in many sudden phone calls) be the reason for the for the problem, but if that’s the case it’s disappointing. Given that Docomo had just announced a new task force to improve its network infrastructure to address the problem of sudden traffic surges. That was in the wake of its sp-mode service malfunction on December 20th which saw email addresses swapped randomly and messages being misrouted to the wrong people.
Of course in Japan, the big concern with ensuring network reliability is that in the event of an earthquake, the major networks should be prepared to handle emergency communications. Back on March 11 when the earthquake hit Japan, telephone and internet service was severely affected, and the hope is that if such an event were to happen again that carriers would be better prepared.
Perhaps the most important service is the EEW systems, to which all major carriers (including Docomo) have committed. Back in August we saw very welcome news that Apple’s iOS 5 would include this early warning feature, a welcome (native) addition for iPhone users.