When it rains, it pours. Telstra's mobile network is suffering from "intermittent service" in the Melbourne CBD area, although users have been reporting problems with the Telstra network nationwide.
Update 4.40pm: Telstra has replied with a further update, saying the network is not suffering "any major network outages", that they were seeing a "small amount of voice congestion across out networks" and that there is no outage in Melbourne right now.
Here's the company's statement in full:
We do not have any major network outages.
We are seeing a small amount of voice congestion across our networks due to the increased number of people working and studying from home.
At this stage it appears to mainly be impacting some 13/1800 calls between service providers.
We are working collectively to address it and have already seen an improvement this afternoon.
The company has added that the 4G service is still operational in Melbourne. Users have been reporting consistent issues with making calls throughout the day, including users outside of Victoria.
@Telstra is the telstra towers down atm near ararat 3377 or ballarat 3350 been trying to ring people on telstra and it doesnt go through
— jason ferguson (@jasonfe25) March 23, 2020
Same here. Went to optus, ringing optus numbers fine, Telstra is down.
— Natalie Blair (@NatalieBlair9) March 23, 2020
— Vic Sayadian (@vicsayadian) March 23, 2020
what's going on @Telstra ? mobile calls not getting through now 'temporarily congested'
— Yvonne Adele ★ MC/Celebrant/Designer (@Yvonne_Adele) March 23, 2020
Multiple calls I'm making on my two mobiles, one on the Telstra network and one on Optus, to other mobiles are failing. The networks aren't coping.
— ????Mel Thomas???? (@photogramel) March 23, 2020
The original story follows below.
Reports started flowing in from after 8:00am AEDT this morning, with users reporting that their phones had been kicked onto the backup 3G network instead of 4G or 5G.
Telstra's website confirms there is an "intermittent service" issue in the Melbourne CBD - the outages page lets you search one postcode at a time - but users have complained about issues in all the major cities.
@andy_penn please help. I've been told to work from home but because I can't due to the @Telstra outage affecting Padstow/Revesby I'm now using up my leave. This is an urgent matter for me as it will soon hit me financially.
— Trevor Randall (@Revs77) March 22, 2020
— Joss the Boss (@josstheboss) March 22, 2020
The mobile issues come as Telstra and rival telco Optus have closed their offshore call centres as a result of COVID-19. The Australian Financial Review reported that Telstra would be "diverting sales calls to our stores", an option that is surely off the table with states like NSW and Victoria pushing to close all non-essential businesses.
"We are working to increase our contact centre capacity in a number of ways, including ramping up our working from home capabilities, increasing overtime and extra shifts for our Australian-based staff, and diverting sales calls to our stores," Telstra said in a statement.
Telstra and other ISPs are also participating in a roundtable lead by NBN Co to discuss ways to handle a rise in usage on mobile and internet networks with Australians working from home, in quarantine or self-isolation.
Gizmodo Australia has reached out to Telstra for a statement. A spokesperson for the company replied saying the outages were "not due to the increased network traffic".