Aussie telco giant’s OUTAGE affects over 10M customers and 400,000 businesses
11/09/2023 // Belle Carter // Views

A telecommunications giant in the Land Down Under experienced a massive outage that left more than 10 million customers, 400,000 businesses and essential infrastructure without phone and internet services.

Optus, Australia's second-largest telecom provider, was unable to explain the cause of the service interruption on Nov. 7. Service was fully restored 90 minutes later, putting a close to "one of the biggest outages in Australian history."

"We know that customers rely on our network, which is why the whole team at Optus has been working hard to fix this," Optus wrote on its official X account. "Optus sincerely apologizes to customers for today's outage. We again thank customers for their patience."

Earlier, an Optus spokesman said the company was aware of an issue that may be impacting some of its mobile and internet customers. During the outage, users were unable to make or receive calls, or use the internet on Optus' mobile network. Those subscribed to the telco's resellers such as Amaysim, Vaya, Aussie Broadband, Moose Mobile, Coles Mobile, Spintel, Southern Phone and Dodo Mobile were also down.

It has also caused wide-ranging problems for some public transport operators, hospitals and the nation's biggest companies and businesses. In Melbourne, commuters were stranded as the train network has been shut down. Many Uber drivers are also unable to operate which has led to surging prices.

Hospitals were also impacted, including Melbourne's Northern Health District and Sydney's Westmead Private Hospital. "All phone lines into Northern Health campuses are currently being affected," said the Melbourne hospital. The Sydney hospital meanwhile stated: "Due to the national outage of Optus all our phone lines are unfortunately down, to contact the hospital, please email us on admissions."

Of the big four banks, three of them – Westpac, ANZ and Commonwealth Bank – pay Optus for telecommunications services. Given the outage, they were unable to take or make calls from their call centers. Customers were also not able to get transaction verification text messages, and some businesses could not use their mobile payment terminals if they were relying on the supplied Optus sim card. ING Australia also told customers on social media that its call centers were unable to take calls.

The Sydney Airport, the Australian Tax Office and the National Roads and Motorists' Association, which have point-of-sale payment machines linked with Optus in businesses, have also experienced issues.

Government officials ask Optus for transparency on the real reasons for the outage

Australia's Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles said the government was concerned about the impact of an Optus outage on critical services. "We are first and foremost focused on those immediate emergency services and keeping people safe and we have been very focused on those triple-0 services and we are looking at the impact across government services," he said.

Moreover, Communications Minister Michelle Rowland called the outage a "deep fault", saying the government was seeking further information from Optus, especially since it "has occurred deep within the network." "It has wide ramifications across mobile, fixed and broadband services for Optus customers and it also means that for those customers, they are being impacted by the inability to make calls or use their services," Rowland said, adding that Optus should utilize all forms of media to continually update customers as they have to be "transparent and timely" in response to the outage.

Rowland was asked on ABC Radio Sydney whether customers should be automatically transferred to another network when their carrier goes down, which she answered with: "The federal government was already working on switching customers between networks in emergencies such as bushfires and floods." (Related: Tesla's total network outage is why you shouldn't own any car or appliance that relies on a central server to function.)

Meanwhile, South Australian (SA) Premier Peter Malinauskas said he was "disappointed with Optus" as they have let their customers down throughout the state, including the government. He added the SA government was actively communicating with another company about switching over critical services. New South Wales INSW Premier Chris Minns said the outage had also caused significant disruptions to Service NSW and that they would be asking the telecommunication provider to explain what he described as a "deeply regrettable" outage.

Visit for more stories similar to this.

Watch Maria Zeee talking about the alleged cyberattack on Optus last year.

This video is from the High Hopes channel on

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Business STOPS whenever electronic payment systems go down – because nearly everything is digital and internet-based these days.

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