Customers took to social media to vent their frustration about problems accessing Telstra’s mobile and data networks from about 6pm on Thursday.
Telstra’s chief executive fronted the media in Melbourne on Friday morning to say he was “sincerely sorry” to customers and offer them a data-free day, as happened after a similar outage in February.
Penn said Telstra had “an issue in the network that caused a number of services to be disrupted at the same time and it was reconnecting that caused extreme congestion” and thus delayed reconnection.
Most services were back up within two hours and the network was fully operating after four hours.
“It affected about 50 per cent of the calls and we have about 16 million customers on our network,” he said.
“It goes without question there will be another data-free day and that will be on Sunday, April 3.”
After February’s outage, Telstra blamed human error. Thursday’s outage was not related, with Telstra saying an overseas connection problem affecting international roaming customers had a flow-on effect domestically.
“One outage is not good, is not acceptable but two is absolutely not acceptable,” Penn said.
He said he was committed to doing all he could to ensure no more similar occurrences.
Telstra says it is adding the “lessons learned” from the Thursday outage to the engineering review of its network that started after the February episode, with global experts brought in.
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