Customers on Telecom's XT 3G mobile network have once more had trouble using their mobiles, as the network disappeared for the entire South Island and the North Island south of Taupo, including the capital, Wellington.
Since 10am this morning, customers south of Taupo, including all of the South Island, were having problems making calls, sending/receiving SMS and using mobile broadband.
The problem has affected almost 100,000 customers, according to Telecom. It issued an apology and said that the fault would be rectified by 1pm today.
The outage comes hard on the heels of a recent fault on 14 December last year. That outage affected the same area, and was due to one of Telecom's two Radio Network Controllers (RNCs) for XT falling over.
A Telecom spokesperson declined to say if today's fault was again caused by the RNC for the southern part of the country, situated in Christchurch.
However, an email to corporate XT customers from Chris Quin, the CEO of Telecom's IT services subsidiary Gen-i, confirmed that it was the Christchurch RNC that was the cause of the service degradation.
Quin's message said that customers south of Taupo experienced approximately one hour of degraded service and about 30 minutes of not being able to use it at all. Services north of Taupo and the older CDMA network that Telecom plans to operate in parallel with XT until 2012 and possibly longer were not affected, Quin said.
Apologising for the fault and expressing deep regret for the inconvenience caused by the disrupted service, Quin says Telecom is establishing the root cause of the degradation of the network.
Whether or not Telecom XT customers will be compensated for the outage remains to be seen. After the December outage, XT customers were given a weekend's worth of free calls.