Network fault led to Vodafone SMS outage

Network fault led to Vodafone SMS outage

Summary: A network fault at an exchange has been blamed for Vodafone's Easter Sunday SMS outage, that left thousands of customers unable to send text messages.

TOPICS: Outage, Telcos

A network fault at an exchange has been blamed for Vodafone's Easter Sunday SMS outage, which left thousands of customers unable to send text messages.

"The disruption to SMS services on Sunday afternoon was caused by a network fault in one of our exchanges. Engineers are currently completing their investigation, but the fault was an isolated issue that affected the core network elements which manage our SMS traffic," Vodafone told ZDNet Australia.

In the course of the service disruption, customers took to Twitter and Facebook to lodge complaints about the service, with "vodafail" becoming the top trending topic in Australia on Twitter for a day, and a Facebook group devoted to the outage gaining 20,000 members in the time that SMS services were offline.

In a blog post apologising for the outage, the company has offered customers 12 hours of free SMS services between 8am and 8pm on 1 May, however, in comments to the post, some customers are less than pleased with this offer.

"What about those people like myself who already have unlimited free SMS included in our plan? I gotta say this is a bit of a joke ... You could just fix all the towers and give us some half decent reception," one customer said.

The most recent outage comes as Vodafone Hutchison Australia has embarked on a massive upgrade of its network infrastructure using Huawei technology. The upgrade was announced after months of complaints from customers of poor 3G data and voice coverage on the Vodafone and 3 networks.

Topics: Outage, Telcos


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • That's a tautology. Of course it was a network fault that led to an outage, it's a fault of equipment that leads to something not doing what it does ALL THE TIME. When are Vodafone (and to be fair, many, many other businesses), going to adopt a culture of fronting up and explaining what exactly went wrong, whose responsibility it was to ensure its operation and how it'll not happen again? When are we as an online culture going to turn our back on explaining service outages as the results of "a technical glitch?"
  • Well said Geordie Guy - the network fault was a network fault. I guess it could have been caused by a dissastisfied employee intentionally disabling something - then it would be a network fault caused by sabotage.

    I guess the big issue is not so much that there was a fault - I think we can all accept that they happen. But why does it seem to take so long to remedy? Seven hours mightn't seem long to engineers - but to customers it is.
    Verity Pravda
  • 7 hours?
    when does business continuity planning kick in?
    how long does their disaster recovery plan take to activate?

    sms might be a nice network value-add feature, but it's becomming increasingly critical comms for many people and businesses.
  • 7 hours to fix a national sms problem is incredible! It was a whole countrywide network with a fun and significant feature out and they managed to restore service within 7 hours! Good job Voda-engineers or NSN!
  • Why no failover capability?
    Seems like an obvious single point of failure, so why no redundancy?
    • Exactly! This applies to all mobile telcos. They are investing in the MINIMUM amount of barely inadequate equipment to get the job done, gouging customers some of the highest mobile costs in the world.

      The way the Internet has grown in Australia is exactly the same----we're all told to back up our computer files, but no one thinks about backing up the hardware as well. For the high profit margin being made in Australia, all these networks should be operating to at least Tertiary Redundancy.

      TCP/IP is a protocol with built-in redundancy, but none of the Australia hardware is cross linked anywhere, so when one bit fails, EVERYTHING past that point becomes unavailable.