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Vodafone restores connections after theft outage

The operator says it has voice services back up and running with SMS and data connectivity to follow soon, after a break-in at a Basingstoke facility cut off hundreds of thousands of customers

Vodafone is restoring coverage to areas in the south of England after a major outage caused by equipment theft cut off hundreds of thousands of mobile customers.

Vodafone mobile shop

Vodafone is restoring coverage to areas in the south of England after a major outage. Photo credit: varets on Flickr

A break-in that occurred between 1am and 2am on Monday morning at a "technical facility" in Basingstoke caused the breakdown in voice, data and other mobile services, according to a Vodafone forum administrator.

After most of a day with many customers having no voice, SMS or data connectivity, services were being resumed on Monday afternoon, the company said. Shortly before 1pm, a forum post by the administrator indicated that voice services are "largely back up and running", with data and other services expected to be back to normal later in the afternoon.

"Some specialist network equipment and IT hardware was stolen," the administrator wrote, adding that Vodafone is reviewing its high-level security systems with the police "in the light of last night's break-in".

Several hundred thousand customers may have been affected and "loss of service is mainly confined to parts of the M4 corridor and some areas either side", the administrator added. However, ZDNet UK readers have been reporting loss of coverage as far afield as Devon, Somerset and Cornwall.

Loss of service is mainly confined to parts of the M4 corridor and some areas either side.

– Vodafone

Reader 'princess_p' said the administrator was wrong to say voice services have been restored. "I live in Basingstoke, and while services show as full bar, I can confirm that no voice services are coming through," she wrote. "Everything shows as a missed call without ringing; the end user gets 'the number you have dialled is not in service'."

Many readers complained about the lack of information being disseminated by the operator itself. "Vodafone should inform customers with email... really poor service from Vodafone," wrote 'piotrol3', while 'Doreen57' asked: "Why don't Vodafone let their customers know on their official website?"

"No updates from Vodafone and no emails to customers," wrote 'freetail'. "They say it's not the crisis itself that's a problem but how it's dealt with and customer service (communications) should be the other top priority to fixing the fault itself. Come on Vodafone... wise up."


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