Network congestion issue behind Telstra mobile woes

Another free data day on the cards for Telstra customers

Congestion caused when reconnecting customers to Telstra’s network was at the heart of problems experienced yesterday evening by the telco.

The problem started at around 6pm and affected voice and data for some of the telco’s mobile customers.

Progressive restoration of services began at 7.30pm.

“We had a problem that triggered a significant number of customers to be disconnected from the network. Reconnecting them to the network caused congestion,” a Telstra spokesperson said.

“We had a connection problem overseas impacting international roaming customers which then had a flow-on effect domestically.”

“The issue is not related to the outage that occurred in early February,” the spokesperson said. “The problem that repeated itself was in people reconnecting to the network.”

The nationwide outage in February was caused by a Telstra technician’s error.

“Our mobile network is set up with a number of major connection points (what we call nodes) around the country, which our customers connect to,” Telstra’s COO, Kate McKenzie, said after that outage.

“These nodes are the equipment that essentially manage the flow of voice and data traffic across our mobile network. The outage was triggered when one of these nodes experienced a technical fault and was taken offline to fix.

“This normally wouldn't impact services as we have processes in place to make sure any customers currently connected to a node are transferred to another node before it is taken offline.”

“Unfortunately on this occasion the right procedures were not followed and this resulted in customers being disconnected and consequent heavy congestion on other nodes as customers attempted to reconnect to the network,” the COO said.

“Following the last event we commenced a major process and engineering review of the network, which includes global network experts, to understand how it occurred, and while the two incidents are not related, we will add the lessons learned from this incident to that review,” Telstra’s spokesperson said this morning.

As with the February incident, the telco will be offering a ‘free data day’ to its customers.

Read more: Former Optus chief takes Telstra role

“We sincerely apologise to our customers for the inconvenience we have caused again,” the spokesperson said.

“As a way of saying we’re sorry we’ll be providing a free data day for all of our mobile customers on Sunday 3 April.”

During the previous free data day, Telstra’s customer set a record for the telco’s network downloading 1841TB of data.

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