Recovery and restoration of mobile services is top priority for Bluesky, with costs estimated at over $6 million for the purchase of replacement equipment, says country manager Phillip Henderson.
In a media statement issued yesterday, Henderson said production of key mobile core equipment by vendor Huawei had begun on Monday.
Production, prestaging, testing and shipment of equipment would take around four weeks and would involve charter of a freighter aircraft to speed up delivery, he said.
The shipment will involve six tonnes of equipment equating to 40 cubic metres.
The company hoped to install and activate the new mobile core network in the third week of December, Henderson added.
“Work on the building and site area by the insurance assessors has been delayed due to site restrictions.
They have engaged a fire assessor to determine the cause of the fire.”
The assessor was due to arrive yesterday and Bluesky hoped to start clearing the building by the weekend and start rebuilding the facility next week.
The O3b satellite terminal at Aroa was expected to be back in service on November 17, and replacement equipment was about to be shipped from the US, said Henderson.
“This will be housed in a temporary equipment container that was fitted out by the Bluesky team over the last week.
“This will restore the O3B service to the state it was before the fire with two operational sites at Avarua and Aroa.”
Henderson said mobile services were still restricted to calling and SMS, and continued to be free of charge on Rarotonga and the outer islands.
“A solution to restore mobile data prior to the full mobile core build is being worked on.
To use the mobile service, please ensure you enter +682 then the mobile number.
“Mobile calling to international and roaming services are still unavailable at this time, and are expected to be back up by the end of the month.
“Sim cards are not available for purchase at the present time due to the temporary work involved in restoring services.”
Henderson said all fixed line customers and broadband customers were restored to normal service and anyone experiencing issues was encouraged to report a fault in the usual way.
“The situation at the Aroa facility is now only impacting the mobile network,” he said.
“Bluesky is in the process of calling all post-paid mobile customers to discuss options in place of mobile data.
“Considerations will be made for the 288 broadband customers in the Aroa area who were affected by the extended outage.”
In the absence of mobile data many users were using the Bluesky Wi-Fi hotspots around the island, Henderson added.
“If you experience a hotspot that is not connecting, please call 123 to report it so we can attend (to it) and ensure Wi-Fi coverage for all our customers.
Henderson said the company would continue to provide updates as it progressed through the service restoration.