Telstra 4G mobile data down for nine days across Sydney’s east

A map splattered in red blotches indicating countless “dead spots” across the Telstra 4G network has unveiled the scale of the telco’s widespread and long-running outages.

Thousands of customers across Sydney’s eastern suburbs including Coogee, Kingsford and Maroubra, have been told to wait nine days – from 9.22am on February 26 to 10pm on March 4 – for their service to be restored.

The blackouts unfolded without warning on February 26, and while some outages listed on Telstra’s website indicate a March 4 restoration, a fix date is “unavailable” for many others.

On Wednesday, the telco said there had been an “unplanned service interruption” and that technicians are “investigating the cause of a network issue that is affecting the 4G network”.

Telstra customers using its 4G service for mobile data have been unable to access the internet on their devices – a major issue for those reliant on it to contact family, study, work, or consume online media.

The disruption has understandably drawn the ire of peeved customers of Telstra – the country’s biggest telco.

The outages have been described as a “joke” and “annoying” within a Facebook community group populated by residents of one of the affected suburbs.

One customer, who sought help in-person at a Telstra retail store, said it felt like she was in a mobile data “dead spot”.

“Telstra shop told me [the 4G mobile data is] estimated to be back by the 4th (of March). Apparently technicians only started investigating today,” she wrote in the group.

Locals have shared with the frustrating impact of having no mobile data.

“It’s really annoying because I can’t access any internet at home,” one man said.

“I have to drive my car until I can find reception and then sit in the driver’s seat doing my uni work, and stay out if I want to do any general social media scrolling.”

Another explained her work and personal life had been severely disadvantaged by the outage.

“It’s incredibly frustrating not having access to the internet through my phone data. Internet services are currently down at my property and without access to Telstra 4G I’m unable to come home and prepare for work the next day,” she said, adding she was also dealing with a seemingly unrelated breakdown in her local NBN service.

“I’ve had to stay back at work to use the office Wi-Fi or sit in my car on the street to access slow internet for work purposes or to respond to messages from family and friends.

Someone else revealed having no mobile data had disrupted his usual post-work routine.

“It’s not ideal coming home after a hard day of work and can’t I access mobile internet to sit back and relax to watch something on my phone,” he said.

A spokesman for Telstra claimed the dramatic map image on its own site made the problem look worse than it actually is. He argued technicians were in the process of vital updates to the network.

He fell short of identifying how many people are affected and claimed services might be restored earlier than March 4.

“While we have listed up to seven days for the outage, we will look to do the work as quickly as possible and all things going to plan, expect to have works completed well within this time. While there may be some overlapping coverage from our other sites, there will be an impact to some mobile services,” he said.

He explained the shutdown was necessary so 5G could be brought to Maroubra and its surrounding suburbs.

“In Maroubra, Telstra has five mobile base stations that provide coverage. There are a further 20 Telstra mobile sites in surrounding suburbs within a three kilometre radius that together help provide a mix of 3G, 4G and 5G mobile connectivity across eastern Sydney,” he said.

“On Monday we began doing an upgrade of our key Maroubra base station on Anzac Parade to help bring new 5G coverage to the area. As the works require us to partly rebuild our site and replace a lot of equipment, this means we have turn off the 3G and 4G network.”

He added it was “it difficult to estimate the impact to local residents in this part of Sydney” but if customers “believe they have a case for compensation for impact during this time, we encourage them to contact Telstra and request a compensation pack”.

Fixed line and NBN is not impacted and Triple Zero calls can still be made, they confirmed.

“In the interim, if people have access to a Wi-Fi signal, we encourage them to activate Wi-Fi Calling, a free setting on most popular phones that allow you to make and receive calls and access the internet when you are in range of the modem,” he added.

Telstra boasts enormous profit

The outages come after Telstra’s half-year profit of $1 billion was revealed – an enormous figure up 11.5 per cent from previous year.

Telstra CEO Vicki Brady attributed its gains, in part, to acquiring an estimated tens of thousands of customers in the wake of the Optus data breach.

“We would estimate that impact to be maybe in the tens of thousands [of customers]. To be honest, we had a very good December quarter … And in terms of the competitive dynamic, it’s brought front of mind for customers that it’s all about resilience and reliability, whether in our personal lives or in our businesses,” Ms Brady said.

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