Network fails for about 800,000 but few report issues

CALLIOPE SES controller Brian Pitt tried to organise training yesterday but, "it all turned to custard because I couldn't make phone calls mobile to mobile".

Mr Pitt was one of about 800,000 mobile phone users who were affected by yesterday's Telstra breakdown.

He was pleased there were no emergencies.

"We rely quite a lot on mobile phones. It's one of the tools we use for communication, but it's not the only tool.

"We would have had some concerns had we been in the middle of an emergency."

He said some of the landline phones were also "misbehaving".

However, it seems the greater majority of mobile users have reported no issues.

Apart from Mr Pitt, The Observer spoke to more than a dozen business people yesterday, none of whom were reporting experiencing any problems. "I heard a bit of crackling on the mobile when I was calling a person in Brisbane," said one passer-by.

Many others said they had used their phones a few times during the afternoon, and experienced no issues.

A Dick Smith store worker said some customers had come in to say they could not get through on the phone.

"They just got a ringing tone, but we received no calls," he said.

The outage did affect about 800,000 nationally for about two hours from just after 12.30pm.

Towards the end of the outage Telstra announced on Twitter that it had identified the issue and that services were being restored progressively.

"Thank you for your patience. Sorry for any inconvenience caused," one tweet read.

Telstra's chief operations officer Kate McKenzie said the outage was an "embarrassing human error".

She said the major disturbance was caused by a "node malfunction".

"Normally it would not have been an issue, but because of human error this outage was caused," she said.

"Ten nodes across the company enable us to be able to manage traffic and connections for voice and data around the whole country.

"Normally we could take down three or four of those nodes but on this occasion the correct procedure was not followed."

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