The outage is the company’s second major network breakdown in two years 

Optus, Australia’s second largest telecoms provider, suffered a major service outage yesterday, leaving nearly half of the country’s population without mobile or internet services for over 12 hours. 

The mobile operator, which is owned by Singapore Telecommunications, serves over 10 million Australians directly with mobile services, equating to roughly 40% of the country’s population. Beyond its own subscribers, Optus’ network is also used by Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), such as Aussie Broadband, Amaysim, CatchConnect, Coles Mobile, Dodo, and Moose Mobile, all of which were also affected by the shutdown. 

The exact cause of the outage has not been revealed.  

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the outage was caused by a “technical network fault”, adding that they would investigate every possibility.  

While Optus has yet to comment further on the matter, others have speculated that the issue was caused by faulty routing due to a spike in Border Gateway Protocol announcements at around 4am, based on network data tracked by Cloudflare. 

Facebook (now Meta) had suffered an outage due to similar configuration issues back in 2021. 

“[The network fault] has occurred deep within the network [and] it has wide ramifications across mobile, fixed, and broadband services for Optus customers,” said Australian Communications Minister Michelle Rowland. 

“Customers are clearly frustrated about it and Optus should respond to that accordingly,” Rowland continued. 

The outage has reignited country-wide concerns over the resilience of Australia’s network. Last September, Optus reported one of the country’s biggest ever cyberattacks, which left over 10 million Australians with their personal data exposed. In this instance, however, a cyberattack has been ruled out of the potential causes. 

Keep up to date with international telecoms news by subscribing to the Total Telecom daily newsletter – subscribe here. 

Also in the news:
KPN outlines new €4.5bn network investment plan
Vodafone Germany accelerates railway 5G deployment
nexfibre releases rollout plans