M1 says software bug likely cause of mobile data outage

Problem started at 8am, telco said issue was resolved at 2pm
Published: 4:02 AM, December 3, 2013
Updated: 4:00 AM, December 4, 2013

SINGAPORE — M1 subscribers could not access the Internet on their mobile devices for hours yesterday after the telco’s mobile data network was hit by a “software bug”. The outage started at 8am and was resolved at 2pm, M1 said in a statement.

Many irate users vented their frustrations on the telco’s Facebook page. M1’s first posting that it was addressing the issue, for instance, drew nearly 700 comments by 8pm last night. Some complained about not being able to receive their one-time passwords for bank transactions, among other disruptions to their personal and business activities.

The telco posted at around 2pm that the issue had been rectified.

M1 Assistant General Manager of Corporate Communications Chua Hian Hou said its preliminary findings into the outage “point to a software bug” that prevented some customers from connecting to its 3G mobile data network following a scheduled network upgrade on Sunday night.

He added that some customers experienced intermittent 3G data access issues, but voice calls, text messaging and 4G data were not affected.

When contacted, the IDA said it was investigating the incident.

Student Sandra Lim, 20, who noticed the problem at about 9am because she could not visit Facebook or Twitter, said: “It’s not the first time that this is happening.”

Another subscriber, Muwahiddiin Othman, 23, said his work was affected because he did not receive a WhatsApp message from his supervisor.

“My supervisor called me a few hours later to check if I had done my work but, because I did not receive the message, now I have to rush and work on a tighter deadline. It’s frustrating,” said the intern at a local production house.

In October, M1 was fined a record S$1.5 million by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) for a mobile service outage which spanned three days in January and affected some 250,000 subscribers.

In that incident, 3G mobile telephone services were affected in the south-western parts of Singapore — West Coast, Jurong and Tuas — for about 63 hours; and 2G services were disrupted in the north-western areas — Woodlands, Yishun and Kranji — for about 71 hours.