Docomo mobile service interruptions in Japan extend until day two

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TOKYO (Kyodo) – Some NTT Docomo mobile phone customers were still facing disruption in voice and data communications on Friday, a day after Japan’s largest mobile operator reported a system-wide outage national.

A system problem arose at around 5 p.m. on Thursday while working on the operator’s network, leaving 2 million people without voice and data services at one point. He said the system was restored three hours later, but connections were still unstable for some users due to network congestion.

On Friday, the wireless operator with some 80 million contracts limited data traffic following network congestion.

Major next-generation 4G and 5G networks returned to normal at 5:05 am But the 3G network used by older pre-smartphone devices had yet to be repaired.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and concern caused to many people,” Hozumi Tamura, executive vice president of NTT Docomo, said at a press conference. He did not indicate when the network will be fully restored.

Home Affairs and Communications Minister Yasushi Kaneko said on Friday that the ministry had asked NTT Docomo to investigate the cause of the massive disruption to the service and report the extent of affected users.

“It is very unfortunate that the outage (of the system) has significantly affected the mobile phone service, an infrastructure important to people’s lives,” Kaneko told reporters.

The ministry intends to confirm whether the issue falls under “a serious incident” stipulated in the telecommunications law based on the carrier’s report, he said.

If this is the case, the carrier may be tasked with improving their operational response and ensuring that a similar problem does not recur.

Low-cost carriers using NTT Docomo’s network also encountered problems, such as phones showing no service and people unable to use SMS.

NTT Docomo said its system reacted unexpectedly during construction. Data backed up during the outage overwhelmed the system when the company attempted to restore services, he added.

In January 2019, the Communications Ministry asked SoftBank Corp., Japan’s third-largest operator by user base, to improve its response to a similar problem after faulty software provided by Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson caused an outage that hit about 30.6 million subscriber accounts for about four and a half hours.


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