Telstra customers across the country were unable to use the 3G and 4G services this morning after a nationwide network outage.
It took more than three hours for the telco to get the networks return normal levels.
Mobile voice and data services have returned to normal levels. We'll closely monitor network stability and performance and continue supporting our customers to restore their services. We're again deeply sorry for any disruption as we know how customers rely on our mobile services
— Telstra (@Telstra) May 21, 2018
The company resolved the issue after it “bypassed hardware that had been preventing some customers from accessing the 4G mobile network”.
Telstra is still investigating what triggered the outage.
Group Managing Director of Networks, Mike Wright, said that while today’s issue is “not related to earlier impacts”, the telco is still unsure of the root cause of the outage.
“We know data traffic would have been reduced substantially,” he said, adding that it affect voice and data services.
“Its hard to say whether any in particular state was impacted more than other states”.
He said the company would “work with customers on an individual basis” in fixing their service.
Later, CEO Andrew Penn took to Twitter to apologise.
We're currently working through the cause of an issue which impacted our mobile network today. We take our responsibility to keep you connected very seriously and are sorry for the impact today’s outage may have had on your services and confidence in us.
— Andrew Penn (@andy_penn) May 21, 2018
It’s the third time this month Telstra customers have been left without a service.
On May 1 widespread outages hit the telco’s NBN and 4G services just after midday and were not resolved until 4pm.
The issue was caused by “technical changes made ahead of upgrades to mobile traffic control equipment in Telstra’s Exhibition Street exchange in Melbourne.”
Three days later, a lightning strike took out an optic fibre pit in regional NSW. Triple zero calls in parts of NSW, Victoria and WA were affected from 3am to nearly midday.
Today’s nationwide outage makes May 2018 Telstra’s worst patch since a disastrous first half of 2016 which saw five outages and eventually resulted in senior executives having millions in bonuses cut.
At the time, CEO Andy Penn flagged a $3 billion program to “future-proof” its network from a similar debacle.
Customers were also given two “free data” days as compensation. On one such day, customers sucked up 1,841 terabytes of data in 24 hours.
But the outages kept coming.
In February last year, a fire at a Telstra exchange in Chatswood, in Sydney’s north saw thousands of text messages sent to random numbers rather than the intended recipients, forcing Telstra to shut down its SMS system.
Less than 24 hours later, an unnamed “third party” damaged infrastructure at a construction site and caused an overnight outage to mobile and fixed line services in Perth, WA.
As usual, Twitter users had their fun with the problems:
Telstra: What are you looking for in a phone company?
Customers: Reasonable rates, good customer service, reliable network.
Telstra: Pick one.
— Jase (Maybe a Werewolf? You don't know!) (@dammitalltohell) May 21, 2018
— James (@Jwarne) May 21, 2018
— Stephen Williams (@stevetua) May 21, 2018
— Aidan Haines (@aidanhaines) May 21, 2018
And the calls for free data came in thick and fast:
— Hipstergeddon (@hipstergeddon) May 21, 2018
Going to pretend to be critically inconvenienced by the Telstra outage in the hopes of another free data day
— Josh says "Make Angelamon canon!" (@Mario__Bones) May 21, 2018
Second Telstra outage in a month and you know what that means
Free data day!
— Clinton Phillips (@clinton1550) May 21, 2018
But this time around, there were far more angry customers saying they were more interested in quality service from their telco. This tweet summed up a large chunk of the sentiment:
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