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UPDATED: XT outage drags into second day

Read also: Telecom exec reveals remaining XT blackspots, cellsite by cellsite: the full list

Chris Keall
Thu, 28 Jan 2010

Read also: 
Telecom exec reveals remaining XT blackspots, cellsite by cellsite: the full list

UPDATE, 2.51pm: An email from Telecom Geni boss Chris Quin to clients - the chief executive's fifth detailed message to his corporate customers since the crisis began - outlines the remaining problem areas as: ".... a small set of the cell sites in the area from Taupo south, a number of cell sites in the lower South Island, including Dunedin, Invercargill, Timaru and Queenstown, as well as some parts of Wellington central. This is resulting in a loss of XT service to clients in those areas."

UPDATE 1.30pm: No fresh news on the outages in South Island towns listed below. Telecom did add a tech tip: "Customers wanting to check their voicemail messages are still able to do so, using a landline. They can do this by calling their XT mobile number from a landline then while listening to the voicemail greeting, press * then enter their PIN to access the voice mailbox."

UPDATE, 11:53am: Telecom has just tweeted :"Teams are still working to restore the cell sites that are down. Some areas of Christchurch and Wellington are having performance issues." 

Up to 11pm last night, multiple Telecom customers were telling NBR that the company’s XT network was still not working in the lower North Island, and parts of the South Island.

Customers in Wellington, Timaru, Wanaka and North Canterbury told NBR that Telecom's advice to take out their phone's battery, wait a minute then reinsert it was not working for them. (The advice also perplexed owners of iPhones, and others with sealed-in batteries. See Telecom's response here.)

Parts of South Island still down
This morning, the company has issued a statement saying: “Telecom network engineers are continuing remedial and testing work on the XT mobile network, following service issues yesterday affecting users south of Taupo.

"A number of cell sites in areas in the lower South Island, including Dunedin, Invercargill, Timaru and Queenstown, are still affected, resulting in a loss of XT service those areas," the company said at 9am today. (A 1.30pm update carried no fresh news).

The company added a warning:

"Until service is restored, Telecom recommends that any XT customer experiencing issues attempting to contact emergency services on their mobile, should immediately use a landline instead."

Originally, the company's spin doctors said the network would be back up by 1pm yesterday.

Certainly, customer anger continues to build. "Two business mobiles still not working. Nearly 24hrs with no business phones. I was tricked by a pom in a racing suit...!" wrote one NBR reader, in a typical comment.

Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds reiterated his statement that "words are not enough". Dr Reynolds has ordered an independent review of XT, though critics are keenly awaiting several unanswered questions about its framework.

The company has yet to address the question of compensation.

“Our focus right now is on fixing things. We will of course look closely at claims for compensation once things are fixed,” Dr Reynolds said.

Same location, different fault
Gen-i chief executive Chris Quin told NBR last night that the outage had been traced to Christchurch, and that the technical cause had been confirmed - but that it was not the same fault as caused the December 14 problems.

The December 14 outage was based on a fault caused during "routine maintenance" to an RNC switch in Christchurch. The switch controlled all XT network traffic south of Taupo. A second switch controls all traffic north of Taupo.

Telecom shares (NZX: TEL) which slipped one cent yesterday, where down a further three cents to $2.41 in mid afternoon trading.

Chris Keall
Thu, 28 Jan 2010
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UPDATED: XT outage drags into second day