Vodafone Australia confirms mobile outage caused by router issue

A router issue resulted in Vodafone customers being unable to use data over 4G services, with resulting congestion over 2G and 3G voice and text messaging services then occurring.

Vodafone Australia has confirmed that a 4G mobile outage affecting data, voice, and text messages occurred over the weekend, with most services restored as of 1:30am AEST on Monday morning.

The 4G outage, which began around 6.30pm AEST on Sunday night, was caused by a router issue, according to the telecommunications carrier. This subsequently led to such a high number of customers attempting to use the 2G and 3G networks, with a high level of congestion following.

A "residual issue from the original incident" is causing some customers to continue experiencing the network disruption.

"At around 6.30pm yesterday, we experienced an issue which impacted part of our network, resulting in intermittent disruption to voice, text, and data services," a Vodafone spokesperson said.

"Mobile services were progressively restored from 10.45pm, with the majority of customers fully restored at 1.35am.

"A small portion of our customer base is this morning reporting some continued intermittent disruption to services. We are working to restore these customers' mobile experience as soon as possible."

Vodafone's 4G network covers 95.3 percent of the Australian population, or 23 million people -- a 40 percent rise in its network size over the past four years. The telco in May announced that it will spend AU$9 million on constructing 32 new mobile base stations in regional areas.

In a bid to continue expanding its 4G network, Vodafone purchased AU$68 million worth of 1800MHz spectrum earlier this year; refarmed its 850MHz spectrum band to bring coverage to regional and metropolitan Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory; and proposed to the Australian government that it be permitted to pay AU$594.3 million for 2x 10MHz in the 700MHz spectrum band that was unsold in the 2013 auction.

Vodafone in July reported having a total network customer base of 5.494 million, up 4.5 percent year on year: 3.307 million post-paid customers; 1.679 million prepaid customers; and 508,000 MVNO customers thanks to TPG customers moving from Optus' network to Vodafone's.

Its MVNO customer base will continue rising, with Vodafone purchasing mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Lebara earlier this month.

Vodafone in July reported a net loss of AU$163.7 million for the first six months of the financial year on revenue of AU$1.6 billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of AU$412 million.

CFO James Marsh partially attributed Vodafone's financial success to the reliability of its network, which it is affirming with a 30-day money-back network satisfaction guarantee.

Rival telecommunications provider Telstra has also experienced network outages throughout 2016: The first on February 22, which affected prepaid and post-paid mobile services and was caused by "embarrassing human error"; the second on March 17, which involved an hours-long national mobile data and voice outage; and the third on March 22, which was a smaller voice outage.

It then experienced an NBN and ADSL outage in May that resulted in the telco having to send free modems to customers still affected several days later; a mobile data services outage later that week; a broadband service outage in June; and an outage that took down businesses across Victoria, including banks, hospitals, department stores, and Jetstar.

As a result, Telstra CEO Andrew Penn in June committed the telco to investing an additional AU$250 million in its network over the next six to 12 months in three major areas: AU$50 million to be spent on improving mobile network resiliency by creating better real-time monitoring and speeding up recovery time; AU$100 million on increasing the core fixed-line network's reliability and resiliency; and AU$100 million on upping its ADSL broadband capacity to cope with demand.

Last month, Telstra customers also experienced intermittent issues with logging into Telstra Mail, as well as sending and receiving emails.

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