What has been the fallout from the Optus outage?

Optus is under pressure to explain an outage that left millions of people without phone signal or cellular data for several hours.
Optus outage

Yesterday, Optus experienced a network-wide outage, leaving millions of people without phone reception and internet.

The Federal Government has announced a review into what happened at Optus, which is also facing questions over failed calls to emergency services.

The telco has apologised and said it will cooperate with all relevant reviews into the outage.

Here’s the latest.

Yesterday’s outage

An Optus outage left millions of customers with no mobile reception or cellular data for several hours from the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Optus hasn’t confirmed what caused the outage. However, Federal Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said it was due to a “fault deep in the core” of the Optus network.

Optus said “most services” should have been restored by Wednesday night. It advised customers still having issues to restart their devices.

Federal review

The government has now launched a formal review into the outage, which it described as “a process to identify lessons to be learned from yesterday’s outage”.

Rowland said millions of individuals and businesses across Australia losing connectivity was “particularly concerning”.

“It is critical that industry and Governments take stock following large-scale outages, given no network is immune,” she said.

Emergency calls

Optus acknowledged calls from landlines to 000 were impacted by yesterday’s outage.

ACMA, Australia’s communication watchdog, has launched a review into the matter.

It said Optus now has an obligation to “conduct welfare checks on people who have tried calling Triple Zero during a large network outage if they were unable to”.

SA outages

The outage affected digital and phone health services in South Australia, including mental health services. Premier Peter Malinauskas said the state government is now considering other telco providers.

Health officials around the country also reported their services were impacted by the Optus outage.


Optus has faced backlash from the peak union representing telecommunications workers.

The CWU has partially blamed the outage on 600 job cuts across Optus over the past 12 months.

“When you repeatedly slash jobs and outsource critical services to contracting companies — this is what happens,” said CWU National Assistant Secretary James Perkins.


Restaurant & Catering Industry Association CEO Suresh Manickam told TDA some businesses had “up to 90% of their sales impacted.” He said ETPOS-only businesses were the worst affected.

Manickman has called on Optus to assess the financial damage caused by the outage and said “a discussion in relation to compensation needs to occur”.

The telco has not confirmed if it will compensate customers, but said it was “looking at ways to say ‘thank you'”.

Optus response

Optus has apologised for the outage and said it will fully cooperate with the Federal Government and ACMA investigations.

It added, “As a critical infrastructure provider, we understand how important it is to ensure continuity of service and any lessons learnt are likely to be helpful for both Optus and others in our industry”.

Become smarter in three minutes

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed, for free.

Be the smart friend in your group chat

Join thousands of young Aussies and get our 5 min daily newsletter on what matters in your world.

It’s easy. It’s trustworthy. It’s free.