"An embarrassing human error" caused Telstra's massive network outage on Tuesday, according to the telco's chief operating officer.
The widespread interruption affected millions of customers across the country, with thousands of disgruntled customers taking to social media to complain that calls are unavailable.
Telstra network crashes nationwide
What is e-bile?
What an active Sun looks like
The ins and outs of sexting
No more iPhone headphone jack?
Game trailer: Discover Pokemon GO!
'Assange, Clinton's worst nightmare': Kim Dotcom
Samsung explains 5G technology
Telstra network crashes nationwide
"Human error" causes widespread network interruptions affecting millions of Telstra customers across the country last week.
Telstra's chief operations officer Kate McKenzie said the outage was caused by "human error".
"We apologise right across our customer base. This is an embarrassing human error," she told reporters at a press conference just after 4pm.
"It's not OK. We do not like causing that level of inconvenience to our customers," Ms McKenzie said.
McKenzie said the company was working speedily to work out a way of providing affected customers "free data", but did not disclose how much data would be offered.
And we're back! #Telstra— GemmaTognini (@GemmaTognini) February 9, 2016
Telstra mobile network crashes
Angry customers have taken to social media after Telstra's 2G, 3G and 4G network were affected by a major outage on Tuesday.
The Service Status page at Telstra's website has been showing red lights across the board in all major cities since 12.45pm AEDT.
At the height of the interruption 4,663 reports of Telstra problems were logged by aussieoutages.com.
The largest clusters of service faults were in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Perth, Adelaide and Hobart were also affected.
There were also issues listed for ADSL lines in some regions.
Users have been cut off from making calls on their smartphones, including prepaid devices, and accessing data.
The telco has confirmed that affected customers are still able to contact emergency services from their mobile phones.
You can still call 000 provided another carrier has sufficient network coverage in the area you're calling from. https://t.co/3fyvdljQyJ— NSW Police (@nswpolice) February 9, 2016
"We are aware of an issue currently affecting mobile voice and data nationally," said Telstra NSW media manager David Taylor.
"It is an absolutely massive priority for us at the moment and we'd just like to thank customers for their patience as we try and resolve this," he told ABC.
Some mobile phones are apparently able to access data and call services, so the interruption is not absolute, but complaints continue to roll in on social media, with #Telstra trending nationally from 1.30pm.
A handful of customers have complained that they are unable to operate their businesses without the network, while others queried whether they would be charged for failed call attempts and interrupted data usage.
#Telstra. WTF? I need to work here...... Someone please get out a socket set and get to work.— Justin Kelly (@rozza1001) February 9, 2016
"This is ridiculously poor! Not paying my bill this month," Noah Albanese wrote on one of Telstra's Facebook posts.
"Please hurry up, trying to run a business," posted Lyndell Fraser.
It wasn't all anger and outrage however.
As with any event in the social media age felt concurrently by thousands of people, jokes and conversation sprouted up around the inconvenience as well.
Even Telstra's social media person pitched in.
@developerjack nah we just flicked the off switch as a bit of fun ;p - Dani— Telstra (@Telstra) February 9, 2016
But the outage was cause for great concern among some emergency services.
The WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services said its SMS and online warning system for the Myalup fire zone was down due to Telstra's service interruption.
Just before 3pm Telstra said it had identified the issue "and services are being restored progressively".
By 3.30pm some customers reported that their services had been restored, though the outage is still expected to be affecting millions of businesses and individuals, including 2G, 3G and 4G services.
By 4pm all services to its mobile customers had been restore, the telco confirmed.
While Optus has resisted goading from social media users to gloat over Telstra's woes, Ruslan Kogan, founder of Kogan mobile seized the opportunity to spruik his product.
Need a reliable network? Kogan Mobile is firing on all cylinders and currently has a 70% Off promo pic.twitter.com/kuB95A0nKR— Ruslan Kogan (@ruslankogan) February 9, 2016
MORE TO COME