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Pavilions get signals crossed

VISITORS and working staff at the World Expo have reported they are unable to use their cell phones in some areas, and Expo organizers said yesterday that they will ask mobile operators to improve service.

There's no signal at all inside the Australia Pavilion. Staffers joked that it felt like they turned their mobiles off after entering the pavilion.

Shanghai Daily found that the Czech Republic Pavilion, except for one designated corner, has similar signal problems.

Guo Xueying, an official with the Austria Pavilion, confirmed they too have poor signal strength. So does the Thailand Pavilion.

Zhang Chunmin, an official with China Mobile's Shanghai branch, said that the pavilions mentioned above refused the signal coverage because they wanted visitors to focus on the exhibitions instead of being distracted by their cell phones.

Xin Ye, an official with the information department of the Expo bureau, echoed Zhang's saying.

She said some pavilions including the Australian one did not allow mobile operators to install equipment providing signals because it would occupy too much space.

"It's too late to get mobile phone coverage in these pavilions now, even if they want it," Xin said.

Other areas where signal strength is not that good include on buses in the tunnel underneath the Huangpu River and some areas in Zone C.

Xin told Shanghai Daily that the poor signal is partly due to big visitor flows and bad weather, especially thunderstorms.

Xin said they will ask China Mobile and China Unicom to look into the problem in public areas as soon as possible.

Liu Haitao, a mobile engineer working on the site, said initial tests showed there are no big problems in these areas and that they will do more tests on rainy days.

Visitors were advised to call 1571017019 to report signal issues, and engineers will arrive in 15 minutes with test equipment to check the situation and possibly fix the connection problem.


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