T-Mobile Stays Ahead of Wildfire Season with StormGeo


T-Mobile, America’s third-largest wireless network operator with over 100 million subscribers, discusses their ‘prepare-first’ strategy of using StormGeo to track wildfires and minimize service disruptions.

When it comes to ensuring network reliability through any natural disaster, T-Mobile’s motto is, “We prepare.” As the operators of approximately 107,000 mobile towers across the US and Puerto Rico, it is no small undertaking—requiring regular reporting and monitoring of weather condition data supplied by their weather partner, StormGeo.

StormGeo has been providing weather forecasting and decision support to T-Mobile for all severe weather events since 2018. In that time, wildfires in California and across the western U.S. have caused major impacts each year, destroying thousands of homes and businesses and costing insurers $13 billion in 2020 alone.

When wildfires strike a region, it’s crucial that communication lines stay open. To continue serving their communities and strengthening their ‘prepare-first’ strategy, T-Mobile turned to StormGeo.

“For our day-to-day and emergency operations, StormGeo provides us incident action plans and weather condition reports for all weather events,” said Jay Blessing, Market Manager of Development and Engineering at T-Mobile. “We got StormGeo on the phone and asked if they would be able to develop a solution around wildfires.”

StormGeo looked at the three main risks wildfires pose businesses—current active fires, smoke and air quality, and forecast fire danger, which includes public safety power shutoffs (PSPS). To calculate the potential risks from each of these areas, an index scale, ranging from slight to extreme risk, was developed. StormGeo’s developed solution, Wildfire Risk Assessment, delivers a daily report of the risk levels, along with an interactive map showing which of a business’ assets are most at risk. This allows businesses like T-Mobile to effectively launch their preparation plans as early as possible.

T-Mobile’s second-highest priority during wildfires, behind safety, is to avoid outages. To reduce impacts and service interruptions, T-Mobile has a fleet of portable generators that they pre-deploy as soon as there is an indication that the area might be at risk.

“We receive seasonal forecasts as well as daily reports and alerts with data down to a specific cell site. These forecasts allow our deployment teams to place generators at high-risk cell sites well in advance of active fire conditions. Then as we receive alerts from StormGeo, crews are deployed to activate the generators as they are needed,” explained Blessing. “This level of advance preparation is a big undertaking, but it is important that ensure we are bulletproof, seamless, and have very minimal outages in the event of a power shutdown or fire taking over the cell site.”

Beyond pre-deployment, Wildfire Risk Assessment also supports T-Mobile as they prepare their secondary coverage solutions—Cells on Light Trucks. If a cell site is overcome by fire, these trucks are moved into play to ensure that network interruptions are minimal. Wildfire Risk Assessment can predict when cell sites will be damaged or destroyed, giving T-Mobile time to prepare the crew and equipment necessary to set up Cells on Light Trucks.

Cells on Light Trucks T-Mobile

T-Mobile's Cells on Light Trucks (COLTS) ready for emergency deployment

"As the effects of climate change have become more prevalent in weather patterns each year, the need for solutions like the Wildfire Risk Assessment is significant," added Courtland Keith, VP of Cross Industry for StormGeo. “We understand the crucial nature of keeping communication lines open during disaster, so providing T-Mobile with the tools they need to protect their service reliability is of the utmost importance to us at StormGeo.”

Blessing continues, “I’ve been in this industry for close to 30 years, and when it comes to preparedness within T-Mobile’s National Emergency Management, the program is second-to-none. StormGeo’s data and services are critical to that success.”

Forecasting services for T-Mobile, including monitoring for wildfires, tropical storms and other severe weather concerns, is delivered by StormGeo’s 365/24/7 Operations Center in Houston, Texas.

About StormGeo

StormGeo is a global provider of weather intelligence and decision support services, with leading solutions for industries such as telecommunication, shipping, oil and gas, renewable energy, utilities, education, and government. StormGeo’s products and services help clients manage risk, optimize performance, reduce costs and increase revenue amid climate change. The company has 24 offices globally, including eight 24/7/365 operations centers.  

Ready to see how StormGeo can turn weather data into actionable insights? Contact us to request a free demo, or to speak with a StormGeo representative.
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