When we renewed our broadband contract recently we rightly or wrongly accepted VIOP (?) so that our "landline" calls will now come through the router. It looks as if this is an inevitable change so there seemed to be no point in objecting. This is fine as long as there is power for the router. Additionally,Vodafone are unable to provide a mobile signal in the house although coverage in the area is good. We are in a not-spot so we use wifi calling but if this is also unavailable,in the event of a power outage, we will have to leave the house and walk varying distances to get a usable signal. Our absolute worst case scenario is being upstairs in bed with a power outage and some sort of emergency (a fire trapping us upstairs?)with no means of contacting the outside world. We are both elderly with a number of health problems and are concerned that this improved technology has left us more vulnerable than before. Ofcom guidance to the industry seems to put the onus on Vodafone to provide assistance in these circumstances but I see no evidence of it. What have Vodafone got to say about this situation?
Hi @pennyhubbard! I completely understand your concerns. Please be reassured that most mobiles don't actually require a SIM card in them to contact emergency services. As long as the battery is charged, you'll be able to make emergency calls should you need to 🙂
Not if, as in this case, there is no mobile signal.
@pennyhubbard I've found an article here which advises: "Calling 999 can only be done when there is enough signal strength. Even when you have barely any signal you may notice "SOS Only" or some similar message on your phone - At this moment you don't have enough signal strength to make a normal telephone call but if you were to call the Emergency Services, your service provider will 'drop' other calls that are taking place to enable your emergency call to go through at minimal signal strength.
When you have no signal, not even a 999/112 call will work, but a text might. Sending a text requires much less signal strength and the phone will keep tying to send the text for a short period meaning there is greater chance of the message getting through if you are moving or in an area of variable reception." There are also other helpful tips in the article that may be of use to you.
As far as I'm aware, if you have poor mobile signal and/or are seeing "Emergency Calls Only" on your phone, you'll be able to use whatever network is available to you to be able to reach 999/112, not just the network provider you're currently with, for example, if there is no Vodafone signal but there is an O2 signal, this will be used instead.
Thanks Beth but it`s not a little signal but no signal at all.We are in a little valley and none of the few houses gets any usable signal but I`ll read the article in due course and see if there is anything else that might help.
I'm sure it's just a misunderstanding on @Beth's part, but all providers are obligated to offer a solution in cases where vulnerable customers who would rely on their landline phone in the event of an emergency or power cut, which they can check for you. Normally this comes in the form of a battery backup or an additional box/dongle that allows you to call 999 using a mobile sim for a minimum of an hour of actual call time, and that will last at least 8 hours without use.
there is a regulatory obligation on communications providers (providers) in General Condition A3 to take all necessary measures to ensure uninterrupted access to emergency organisations for their customers.
If Vodafone isn't complying with this requirement, I'd suggest moving to another provider that does (Vodafone would have to let you leave without penalty), and seeing if there's a way of reporting compliance failures to the regulatory bodies, or at least OpenReach/CityFibre as Vodafone's upstream suppliers.
Thanks Beth and Badger I will pursue it further with Vodafone using the Ofcom threat although contacting them and getting through the treacle to the right person or team is a life-shortening experience.If I succeed I will post something.
You learn something every day and Beth was right! I now understand from Vodafone that you can call emergency services from your mobile even if you have no signal or no SIM card so as long as we keep one mobile charged and with us in the bedroom we will be OK when catastrophe strikes.I hope we never have to put this to the test.
Just for information Vodafone do dole out battery packs to customers with special medical needs but they can only be used for emergency services and certain NHS numbers.I thought a battery was a battery but apparently these are smart batteries--who knew?