Telstra glitch sees Kogan Mobile users left for days without data

A number of Kogan customers have found themselves with no data services, after a glitch in one of Telstra's platforms meant that accounts recharged over the weekend did not include data allowance.
Written by Michael Lee, Journalist on

A number of Kogan Mobile customers have been left without services, after a technical glitch in Telstra's network failed to include data allowances on user accounts.

Affected customers on Kogan's Access 30 prepaid plans who recharged their accounts over the weekend found that while they had access to voice call and text messaging services, they were unable to use any data services.

On Tuesday, a Kogan Mobile representative informed customers on the Whirlpool forums that a "small number of customers have experienced a delay with the replenishment of their data" and that the issue had been "escalated to the network operator", which in this case is Telstra.

"We are advised that the underlying issue was identified and addressed yesterday by the network operator, which has prevented the issue from continuing to occur," a Kogan Mobile representative wrote on the forum. They added later that the telco would, within the week, create a "Service Status" page on its website to better inform its customers of known service faults.

Users on the forum reported having no data service as early as Friday morning.

The company told ZDNet during the outage that Telstra was addressing the issue with high priority, and that it was a platform issue beyond Kogan Mobile's control.

"We are extending every effort to ensure that the issue is fixed as quickly as possible. Any affected customers will be compensated in due course."

Although mobile virtual network operators Aldi and Boost also use Telstra's 3G network, neither have reported any similar incidents. Aldi is in a similar position to Kogan Mobile, gaining access to Telstra's 3G network via the same wholesaler that Kogan Mobile uses, while Boost accesses the network directly from Telstra.

ZDNet contacted Telstra regarding the issue, but had not received a response at the time of writing.

Data services began returning to affected customers on Tuesday, with Kogan Mobile responding to feedback on its Facebook page that Telstra had advised that it was auditing and repairing affected accounts.

The company also appears to be storing passwords in plain text, or in a form that's easily convertible to plain text, as evidenced by its ability to text message users their passwords as part of their account recovery process. Kogan Mobile did not respond to queries regarding why this practice is followed, or whether it intends to change this process in the future.

Although Kogan Mobile has recently had hiccups on its network due to Telstra reseller ISPOne, the provider is not believed to be responsible for any part of the incident.

Kogan Mobile recently took ISPOne to court for the latter suspending over 700 Kogan Mobile customers from the network without authority. ISPOne was eventually found to be in breach of its master wholesale agreement, and ordered to pay damages. However, Kogan Mobile founder Ruslan Kogan has said that despite the victory, his company has suffered brand damage.


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