More than 70,000 mobile phone users were locked out of the TelstraNet mobile network last weekend after a hardware upgrade turned sour.
At midnight on Saturday May 8, the national carrier began a nation-wide hardware upgrade project to revamp its triplet security system -- a mechanism whereby all mobile phones are given three authentication numbers to verify the validity of a mobile telephone account.
Apparently the hardware used in the upgrade sent corrupted triplet information to around 70,000 mobile phone customers, effectively blocking their use until the problem was resolved at around 2pm the next day.
According to Telstra spokesperson Liz McGrath, the problem affected all mobile phone numbers with the 0407, 0408 and 0409 prefixes, and as a result, has stalled the remainder of the Australia-wide upgrade project.
"At about midnight Saturday a hardware upgrade was attempted at Telstra's Windsor exchange in Melbourne.
"That caused some problems, to the 0407, 0408 and 0409 prefixes -- not all of them, but just some of them. It affected between one and two per cent of our total MobileNet customer base of around 3.5 million, so it was a very small amount of people.
"I'm still waiting for an update from our technical people," she said.
"They've put all further upgrades on hold until they can work out what this problem is and why there's been this corruption of data."