A system error on Thursday brought down customers on the Optus network. Affecting customers nationwide, customers were unable to make or receive calls, texts and use their data allowance for an extended period of time. According to information provided to TechGeek by Optus and a report by the Australian Financial Review, the error was caused by thousands of IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers being added to the stolen database used by Optus. An IMEI is used to identify your exact mobile device and is used worldwide. The database can also remotely deactivate the phone when reported as stolen.
“A system error caused some mobile customer services to be blocked and as a result, they were unable to use voice and data services. ” said David Epstein, Vice President of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at Optus. It is still unclear on how the issue was caused but industry experts have said that procedures are being put in place to ensure mass changes are stopped.
“An isolated group of customers were affected by this issue. We are contacting those customers directly in the coming days to say sorry and give a credit.” said Epstein. Optus also confirmed that the issue was unrelated to other carriers, as Vodafone also experienced nationwide issues due to a backhaul issue in Western Australia. Vodafone are saying sorry to their customers by providing unlimited data for the whole weekend.