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Virgin Mobile apologises for network outage; refunds customers

Virgin Mobile has been forced to apologise to its customers after a network outage knocked out its voice, data and SMS services.

Virgin Mobile has been forced to apologise to its customers after a network outage knocked out its voice, data and SMS services, drawing the ire of thousands of Virgin users across Australia.

Virgin first jumped on the problem on Friday 2 May, saying there was a network outage affecting some of its postpaid customers.

"The fault began early this morning and is impacting customers' ability to SMS, call and use data," read a statement posted on the Virgin Mobile Australia Facebook page on Friday. "Please be assured that we have all available hands on deck to resolve this asap. We appreciate the urgency of the situation. As we have more information we will update Facebook and Twitter."

On Saturday, the telco issued a further broad statement saying "some customers may notice their services have been restored" and that users would need to restart their phone for the fix to take effect. At this point, Virgin stated it was still working to fix the problem. By Saturday night, full voice, data and SMS services were restored (though this still required a device reboot).

In an update on Sunday advising of the returned service, Virgin Mobile said affected postpaid customers would be given a credit "equivalent of the access fee" for the missed day of service.

The outage saw a slew of complaints on social media, with some saying they received error messages stating they were out of credit and unable to send or receive certain 'message types'.

"Virgin Mobile I speak on behalf of all your customers when I say that this is not good enough!" said customer Ryan Weissel.

"I can't make a call at all or communicate with anyone and this is after buying a phone from you and being a customer for the past 8 years!?

"Get your act together and contact us and at least let us know what's happening. I've been on hold with your call centre for over 30 minutes using my land line...It's impossible to contact you and you're not keeping us updated."

After the weekend's patchy service, Virgin Mobile issued a statement today explaining the network outage:

The outage which occurred on the weekend was caused by a system fault, which meant some postpaid customers were incorrectly recognised as having a prepaid account with $0 credit. This prevented their ability to make calls, send SMS or access data. Postpaid customers could still receive calls and SMS and make emergency calls.

We are confident that we have now fully resolved this issue having identified the root cause. We know we let you down, but please be assured we’re determined to make it up to you.

Again, we apologise for this outage.

Updated at 1:28PM AEST to include final statement from Virgin Mobile.