999 calls made via "other" mobile network

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John Geddes

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Sep 5, 2023, 3:05:27 AMSep 5
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I have read comments that there is an issue with 999 calls made from a mobile phone that had only connected thanks to roaming (someone used the term "camping on") to another network. (Ie no coverage on one's normal mobile network).

The suggestion was that whilst a call from the caller TO the emergency services in this way would connect OK, it was not possible for the emergency services to call back to that mobile later (eg if an ambulance couldn't find the address).

If that suggestion is true, then I want to share this problem as part of my concern that the 999-in-a-power-cut issue is not being taken seriously. But the suggestions were quite old, and not from a definitive source. So I wanted to check - not easy, it turns out.

I asked Ofcom, who said they wouldn't know (alarming and depressing), and referred me to MobileUK, who have ignored my request.

I asked EE who weren't 100% sure and would get back to me (but didn't). I asked my local police (who haven't responded). I asked my local fire service (who said that the worry was well founded). And I asked my local ambulance service (East Midlands) who insisted that I ask the question under Freedom of Information. Four weeks later, they told me that I would do better to talk to mobile companies.

I pressed EMAS for a proper answer under the FOI "internal review" procedure, and did get a bit more from them, but I don't really understand it.

I said "I need to know whether EMAS can make return calls to mobile phones that have made 999 calls to EMAS by “camping on” to another network".

They said "We would not camp on to a provider, but we do have the ability to return calls by using alternative providers that supply us public telephony networks connected to our telephony platform."

Can anyone help me understand what they mean?

Or can anyone point me to a definitive answer to the question somewhere else?

Andy Burns

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Sep 5, 2023, 3:26:46 AMSep 5
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John Geddes wrote:

> The suggestion was that whilst a call from the caller TO the emergency
> services in this way would connect OK, it was not possible for the
> emergency services to call back to that mobile later

Yes that's true, if you think about it ...

When your mobile is on its home network it can make normal calls, and
other people can call it back, so far so good.

On a mobile, calling 999 (or 112) isn't done by normal dialling like any
other call, it's a special "make an emergency call" function, this can
work whether the mobile is on it's home network or a.n.other network.

But if it's on a.n.other network, it can't be called back, since it's
only allowed onto that network for the purpose of making an emergency
call, it's not like it's roaming abroad on a foreign network.

Nick Finnigan

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Sep 5, 2023, 3:53:00 AMSep 5
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On 05/09/2023 08:05, John Geddes wrote:
>
> They said "We would not camp on to a provider, but we do have the ability to return calls by using alternative providers that supply us public telephony networks connected to our telephony platform."
>
> Can anyone help me understand what they mean?

That sounds like: they normally use BT (say) for outgoing calls, but they
could use EE (say) for outgoing if BT have a problem, using a different
physical connection.

Java Jive

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Sep 5, 2023, 6:03:54 AMSep 5
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On 05/09/2023 08:05, John Geddes wrote:
>
Thanks for bringing the above to our collective attention, it's
something everyone should be aware of, and I, probably like most others,
was not until your post.

I have no knowledge to bring to answering the question, and I suspect
that Andy's reply is probably correct, but I suggest that you put this
in front of your MP. For one thing, (s)he might be better placed to
extract a meaningful answer from the various bodies involved, and, for
another, it something that ought to be more widely known - questions
in The House, n' all that.

--

Fake news kills!

I may be contacted via the contact address given on my website:
www.macfh.co.uk

Nick Finnigan

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Sep 5, 2023, 6:15:21 AMSep 5
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On 05/09/2023 08:05, John Geddes wrote:

> Or can anyone point me to a definitive answer to the question somewhere else?

http://www.walksaroundbritain.co.uk/mountainrescue

However, although you can call 999 or 112 out, the emergency services can't
phone you back on another network - so it's essential you give all the
information possible on the first call.

notya...@gmail.com

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Sep 5, 2023, 6:39:21 AMSep 5
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Often phones can be texted when the signal is too weak for voice - at least on GSM.

Abandoned_Trolley

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Sep 5, 2023, 1:11:02 PMSep 5
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> Often phones can be texted when the signal is too weak for voice - at least on GSM.


I believe thats a feature designed in to GSM - something to do with the
SDCCH using a different modulation scheme to the voice codec ?

--
random signature text inserted here

notya...@gmail.com

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Sep 6, 2023, 6:17:37 AMSep 6
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And they are sent several times.

Mark Carver

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Sep 7, 2023, 5:07:02 AMSep 7
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On 05/09/2023 11:03, Java Jive wrote:
>
> Thanks for bringing the above to our collective attention, it's
> something everyone should be aware of, and I, probably like most
> others, was not until your post.
>
> I have no knowledge to bring to answering the question, and I suspect
> that Andy's reply is probably correct, but I suggest that you put this
> in front of your MP.  For one thing, (s)he might be better placed to
> extract a meaningful answer from the various bodies involved, and, for
> another, it something that ought to be more widely known  -  questions
> in The House, n' all that.
>
Interesting experience overnight last night.

Mrs C woke me up at 4am saying she wasn't feeling well.

It wasn't a 999 thing, but it was an 111 issue.

I picked up my mobile and rang 111. It entered into a location
verification procedure, and sent me an SMS with a link that opens a
'Allow the NHS to access the GPS location on this phone'
I couldn't be arsed to carry on with that, so I hung up, and dialled 111
on the landline phone. Straight into 'Level 2' and off we went into
assessment system.

Anyway, I set up an experimental VoIP account with Sipgate last year.
When I set it up, I had to state the address and postcode that the VoIP
number would be associated with, so you'd logically expect dialling 111
(or 999) you'd skip the location verification stage ? However, it seems
not. I've just tried 111 now. Asked for the name of my brough or nearest
tube station (we live in Hampshire !)

Just for information/interest/future reference for the post POTS world !

Bob Eager

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Sep 7, 2023, 6:05:28 AMSep 7
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On Thu, 07 Sep 2023 10:06:58 +0100, Mark Carver wrote:

> Anyway, I set up an experimental VoIP account with Sipgate last year.
> When I set it up, I had to state the address and postcode that the VoIP
> number would be associated with, so you'd logically expect dialling 111
> (or 999) you'd skip the location verification stage ?

Not really. That VoIP endpoint could still be anywhere.

Mark Carver

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Sep 7, 2023, 6:23:58 AMSep 7
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Yes, of course it could, so why the address/postcode  registration
process, it seems pointless ?

It was cited on the form I filled in, that it was a requirement of the
emergency services.

Who's going through the motions here, the 'blue light' services, or
Sipgate ?

Bob Eager

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Sep 7, 2023, 4:44:20 PMSep 7
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Blue light I think. At least it will be right some of the time.

Tweed

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Sep 8, 2023, 1:50:42 AMSep 8
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Just because you have registered a voip address doesn’t mean you are there.
As an example, you could have a holiday home with a voip handset there on
the same number as your main residence.

Bob Eager

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Sep 8, 2023, 3:59:54 AMSep 8
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Worse than that. VoIP app on your phone. And another at work. And more...
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