Down for the count ... Vodafone. Photo: Glenn Hunt
Melbourne's sweltering temperatures are believed to be behind mobile network outages for thousands of Vodafone customers nationwide on Thursday night.
The company said an airconditioning failure at their Tullamarine switch in Melbourne was causing disruptions to 15 per cent of voice traffic across the country. The failure occurred at about 7.45pm, and a larger proportion of Victorian customers on both 2G and 3G networks were affected, the company said.
"My understanding is that the airconditioning has failed which has created an overheating in the switch and a failure as a result," said Vodafone spokeswoman Karina Keisler. "I believe it was caused by today's extreme temperatures."
"We've got technicians there and more on the way and we hope to get it sorted as quickly a we can," she said.
Customers of other telephone companies were also unable to call Vodafone numbers due to the issue.
The company said services were beginning to be restored at 11:45pm on Thursday, with repairs of affected equipment underway. "Please switch your phone off and back on again to restore your connection to the network," said the company's Facebook page.
The airconditioning failure is believed to have been caused by sweltering temperatures in Melbourne, which reached 39 degrees on Thursday.
One Twitter user, @ColoursofSunset, said: "Vodafone has been SOS only service for hours."
"Australia wide outage is not acceptable for a telecommunications carrier," said @Tr1shM.
Vodafone's Facebook profile first acknowledged the issue at about 10.30pm on Thursday, stating: "We are working as fast as we can to resolve the issue and we'll keep our customers up to date as best we can." The Facebook post had attracted more than 1700 comments at the time of writing.
Despite this acknowledgement on social media, the network status page on Vodafone's website said there were "No outages currently reported at this time", around the country.
This is not the first time Vodafone customers have been left without adequate coverage.
In September, many NSW customers experienced network outages as 2G and 3G voice and data services collapsed.
Two years ago, thousands of customers complained en masse about drop-outs, poor reception and capacity problems.
The company has lost 600,000 customers since mid-2010, Fairfax reported in August.
Earlier this year, Bill Morrow, the chief executive of Vodafone Hutchison Australia, pledged to upgrade the network and improve customer service.
"We have lost the trust and respect of many customers," he said. "I will say here and now we owe our customers an apology."
with Rachel Wells