Millions Affected as Eastern Australia Suffers 12 Hour Mobile Blackout

Millions Affected as Eastern Australia Suffers 12 Hour Mobile Blackout
Telstra logos are seen outside the Telstra Melbourne headquarters on June 14, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Millions of Australians in the states of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland were left without mobile phone services after a 12-hour mobile outage hit the eastern states last night around 10 p.m. on Monday night.
Independent outage tracker Down Detector noted on Twitter that outages were detected last night at around 10:17 p.m.

Telstra alerted customers to the problem on May 9 morning at 8 a.m. in a series of Twitter posts saying they were working urgently to fix the problem.

They also advised customers that mobile phone data usage was not compromised and said calls made through apps like FaceTime or Messenger should still work.

“If you’re having trouble with calls on your mobile this morning, we’re working urgently to fix it. We’re sorry to mess with the start of your day,” the company said.

“The majority of those affected are now in NSW and QLD. Triple Zero calls continue to work where you have mobile coverage. We know you rely on your mobile, and we'll keep you posted as we hear more.”

The Australian telecommunication giant has not publically given a reason, as yet, for the cause of the outage.

The company said the issue causing the outages was fixed at 10 a.m., advising customers to retry calling if it did not work initially.

Alternatively, they asked customers to switch airplane mode on and off, which would also fix the issue.

“Good news! The issue affecting mobile calls is now fixed. Massive thanks for sticking with us as we sorted it out. Some customers may need to retry calling if it doesn’t work the first time or switch aeroplane mode on and off, but then you'll be good to go,” Telstra said in a statement.

The outage comes just three weeks after customers in Tasmania’s northeast were left without reliable phone and internet connection for days after an intermittency issue with the transmission cable impacted mobile data speeds, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

It also created problems with call dropouts and poor clarity for some users.

Telstra’s regional general manager in Tasmania, Michael Patterson, told ABC there was no definite timeframe for when services would return to normal.

“We are working to get the issue fixed as soon as we can and apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time,” he said.

“If residents have access to a wi-fi signal, in the interim, Telstra encourages local residents to activate wi-fi calling.”

Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.
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