Brits in Australia struggle to roam

Holidaying Britons have experienced patchy mobile coverage, after Vodafone Australia's UK roaming link struggled with unusually high traffic

Vodafone Australia is in discussions with Optus to overcome technical problems hampering its global roaming links to the United Kingdom.

British tourists who were expecting to be able to use the Vodafone service to keep in touch with friends and relatives while visiting Australia have been subjected to frequent mobile service blackouts over the holiday period and there are indications the problems are continuing.

According to Vodafone Australia, its UK roaming link succumbed to unusually high traffic loads brought on by the festive season.

"Vodafone is currently assessing this incident and is working with Optus to ensure that this does not to occur in the future," said a spokesperson.

Neither Optus nor Vodafone were prepared to place an exact number on how many mobile users were impacted by the service disruptions or for how long.

Vodafone said that Optus first reported the problems with the links on 30 December. However that appears to contradict the experience of Vodafone customers.

One Vodafone UK customers staying in Australia for the summer told ZDNet Australia she was unable to use the roaming service from Christmas Eve until 30 December, and was continuing to experience problems with the service today.

When she approached a local Vodafone store in the leadup to New Year's Eve fearing her handset was broken she was told that she was one of around 10 customers who had complained about the service disruptions.

Vodafone yesterday had no comments for customers and said that it was unable to announce any compensation deals for customers until its investigation of the incident with Optus is complete.