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Telstra stumps up for another free data day, begins engineering review

Following on from its network outage last night, Telstra will offer free data to customers on Sunday April 3, and conduct an engineering review.

Telstra is attempting, once again, to make up with its customers after another network outage.

Last night, Telstra's network suffered from congestion as customers' handsets attempted to reconnect after being bumped off the network.

The outage began around 5pm AEDT on Thursday, and was experienced across the country, with smartphones stuck on "SOS only" or "no service", unable to connect to either data or voice services.

Telstra CEO Andy Penn wrote on Friday morning the company would offer a day of free data for its customers on April 3.

"We are still investigating how the service disruption occurred, but our early findings show we had a problem that triggered a significant number of customers to be disconnected from the network, and as they were all automatically reconnecting at the same time, this caused congestion," he said.

"We will be offering all of our mobile customers another free day of data as a way of making this right. This will be on Sunday 3 April 2016. Customers do not need to do anything to receive the free data."

Telstra last had a free data day on February 14, following its national network outage on February 9.

The blame for that incident was pinned on "embarrassing human error" when the correct procedure was not followed after one of the telco's 10 mobile nodes was taken down.

"Normally, we could take down three or four of those nodes and do work on them, fix them up, and it would have no impact, but on this occasion the correct procedure was unfortunately not followed, and the flow-on consequences you can see," Telstra COO Kate McKenzie said at the time.

In the wake of this new outage, Penn said Telstra would conduct a review of its network engineering.

"While this is unrelated to a network outage last month, the congestion caused by people reconnecting to the network was similar," he said. "Following the last event we started a major process and engineering review of the network, which includes global network experts, to understand how it occurred.

"We will add the lessons learned from this incident to that review."

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