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SingTel suffers 3G network outage

Singapore telco recommends switch to 2G service but upset subscribers complain mobile signals are too weak to even make voice calls or send text messages.
Written by Tyler Thia, Contributor

Mobile operator SingTel's 3G mobile network has suffered a disruption, leaving many subscribers with weak or no network connectivity--some for as long as two days. While many could not get data access on their smart phones, others also had difficulty making voice calls and sending SMS (short message service) messages.

The Singapore-based telco confirmed that the outage was sparked by a software glitch and software engineers began restoring the service at 8pm local time Wednesday. It added that 3G service may be down in "some limited central areas".

Earlier, the mobile operator posted an update on its Facebook page confirming "intermittent service interruptions", but did not specify details. It advised subscribers who were facing service problems to switch to the 2G network.

The recommendation for the temporary network switch was also made via its call center helpdesk.

Subscribers irate with the service breakdown flooded social media channels such as Twitter and SingTel's Facebook page to vent their anger. They also demanded the telco explain the cause of the service disruption.

Many complained they received intermittent or no service at all on Tuesday afternoon, while others said they were directed to an Indonesian network. Some even said the problem had gone on "for days".

Twitter user @benedict888 noted: "Day two of poor connection...totally no voice and data [service] between 2pm and 5pm at Marina South."

Colin Lim, who was in the northern part of the city-state, told ZDNet Asia he had problems with his 3G connection from around 1.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. "For example, I wasn't able to tweet or send Whatsapp messages," he explained.

Student Thomas Chay reported that he was frustrated because his mobile network "kept switching between Singapore, Malaysia and no network, the entire day".

Kyle Lee, a private equity researcher who works in the city area, added: "My network went crazy. For one hour I was in Indonesia and my 3G [service] wasn't working. We're paying more and more every year for worsening service."

Users lamented the outage also impacted business opportunities.

"Being in the client servicing industry, being connected is crucial, especially when I've clients calling me all the time--[I] can't afford to have my reception down," said Alexander Chan, an account manager.

Facebook user Steve Tan added: "I was waiting for important calls yesterday without realizing my phone network [was] down. The best part is my iPhone signal is [still] displaying full signal bars without network [connection]."

Another SingTel customer, Isaac Gwee, wrote on SingTel's Facebook Wall that the service disruption "is a real disappointment".

"I hope SingTel can come out with an official explanation on what is causing the downtime as it is very disruptive and affecting work," he said.

Rival mobile operator M1 also suffered a service outage in May, where some subscribers had no connection for almost a day.

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