Saturday, August 2, 2008

Big Optus meltdown

OPTUS 3G customers on the east coast were unable to use their mobile phones for up to 8 hours after an unknown failure crippled the telco's network.

To make matters worse, Optus's support crew were giving customers the wrong information on how to overcome the problem. [Why am I not surprised?]

One Optus 3G customer, based in Sydney, said each time she tried making a call, "connection error" would be displayed on her phone.

"I can't make calls, can't receive calls, can't access the internet ... it's a lemon," she said.

Another customer in Sydney's Milsons Point reported similar symptoms, saying that although their handset indicated a 3G signal was available they were unable to use their phones.

Optus 3G subscribers in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Maitland, Lismore, and Melbourne have all reported similar problems.

Optus has over 1.4 million 3G subscribers locally.

An Optus spokeswoman confirmed the carrier's 3G network was experiencing problems but was unable to pinpoint the root cause.

"Our 3G data services in Sydney and Melbourne are currently affected by an unknown problem," she said.

The spokeswoman said Optus customers in Melbourne were without 3G data services since about 10am AEST.

The Optus spokeswoman said customers could work around the 3G outage by re-routing to the carrier's GSM network.

However, most subscribers would have to manually change the settings on their phone to Optus's 2G network.

3G subscribers to Virgin Mobile, a wholly owned subsidiary of Optus, also reported similar network failure.

Optus technical support staff advised customers that the outage affected the entire eastern seaboard.

Support staff could not say when the network would be online; instead, they were advising customers to switch their mobile on and off every other hour.

"Why didn't tech support tell me I should manually change to the 2G network? Someone hasn't briefed their people on what to say," one disgruntled Optus user said.

Today's outage is the second major network failure to hit Australia's number two telco in the past 15 days.

In mid-July Optus suffered a major communications meltdown in Queensland after a construction worker severed a major fibre optic cable on the Gold Coast.

An Optus-owned redundant route should have diverted the traffic along another path but an earlier hardware failure at the telco's backup site resulted in what Optus dubbed a "one in a million" complete network failure. [Just bad luck, Eh?]

In the ensuing communications blackout more than a million Optus customers were left without phone, mobile and internet connections for four hours.


No comments: