update The second earthquake in six months has struck New Zealand's South Island today, causing telco networks to suffer.
(Christchurch earthquake image by Gabriel Pollard, CC2.0)
The earthquake measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, with the epicentre pegged 10 kilometres south-east of Christchurch, according to GNS Science's earthquake detection gear.
The NZ Herald and hundreds of Twitter users have reported that the earthquake has taken phone services offline, leaving many unable to contact emergency services.
Telecom NZ issued a brief statement minutes after the quake to assure citizens it is looking into damage reports.
"Telecom is working intensively to understand which services have been affected by today's earthquake and get these restored as soon as possible," the telco said.
The telco also took to Twitter to request customers to keep non-essential calls to a minimum in light of the crisis.
Vodafone New Zealand told ZDNet Australia that eight mobile sites are down and many more are running on battery back-up. Vodafone is urging customers to text rather than call unless absolutely necessary.
"We are currently prioritising the safety of our people and our stores," Vodafone New Zealand said, assuring customers that its core network is still operational.
The last earthquake of similar strength quake struck New Zealand in September last year, measuring 7 on the Richter scale.
Following the September quake, local datacentre providers managed to keep the majority of services operational for all customers.
Stay tuned for more information on this story as it comes to hand.
Updated at 12:06pm, 22 February 2011: added comment from Vodafone New Zealand.