KDDI’s network disruption earlier this month that impacted a total of over 30 million people for more than three days raised a critical question in an era where mobile phones have become essential devices for most of the country: How do carriers ensure emergency lines always remain open?

During the massive outage by KDDI, which affected customers of its au brand and other services, reports emerged in local media of people who went missing while mountain climbing but could not contact emergency personnel.

First responders issued a notice requesting that users of Japan’s second-largest carrier use a fixed line or phones connected to other carriers in order to place calls.