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Vodafone Cook Islands outage leaves local customers fuming

Monday 22 April 2024 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in National, Technology

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Vodafone Cook Islands outage leaves local customers fuming
Vodafone Cook Islands says a “power outage” on Saturday morning at its Aroa station affected key services in Rarotonga and the outer islands. VODAFONE COOK ISLANDS/24042151

A “power outage” on Saturday morning at its Aroa station disrupted key Vodafone Cook Islands services in Rarotonga and the outer islands, leaving frustrated customers without internet, landline and mobile data services over the weekend.

Mobile calling and SMS services remained operational following the outage, Vodafone Cook Islands said in an update posted on its Facebook page at 12.30pm yesterday.

The country’s only telecommunication provider said while progress had been made, some services remained affected.

According to Vodafone, the landline service is back online.

“Our teams are monitoring the stability of landline system for the next few hours,” it said yesterday.

For mobile postpaid data, “users are now able to attach to data services”.

“This is also available to prepaid users. There are issues with the usage checking function via the My Vodafone app and the *888# menu.”

However, some mobile postpaid users were still unable to access the internet at around 7pm last night.

Vodafone also advised that some MoanaTV channels were unavailable, with technicians working for a prompt resolution.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and appreciate your understanding during this challenging time. Rest assured, we are committed to restoring all services as quickly as possible,” said Vodafone.

Customers criticised Vodafone’s handling of the situation, especially the lack of communication. 

Replying to a now-deleted “Vodafone Services Restoration” update posted on Facebook on Saturday at 9.40am, one customer pointed out: “How come your public notice will reach everyone in the island you just said that internet was one of the affected from the power outage and up until now the internet is down unless you have Wi-Fi which everyone doesn’t. You should send your public notice via SMS so everyone will know.”

In reply, Vodafone said: “We are aware that it isn’t the best communication channel but you must also be aware that SMS was and is still affected by the outage.”

However, Vodafone in the same post had stated: “Mobile calling and SMS is still operational.”

Another user asked: “Where’s our data gone though? Current (casual prepaid) data promo has disappeared. Anything “mobile data” related is not working. It’s been roughly 15hrs and still not working now. How do we know our current data promo balance will be the same? What about those that are due to expire soon while the service is down, is anything going to be compensated?”

“Vodafone Cook Islands if you’re data service was out. What happened to my data? Where did it fly off to? Return my 12gb data. I’m waiting,” a user commented.

Another said: “… our Eftpos and landlines are still down and we cannot get through to Vodafone even from my personal mobile to any of your numbers! How is a business supposed to function … this is impacting the hotel I work at.”

In its response, Vodafone said there was “no ETA on when these will be fully rectified as they’re still working through it”.

“Once prepay services are back to normal, all existing plans and promotions prior to the outage should be restored to what it was prior to the outage. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.”

Charles Muriwai, a customer from Aitutaki, said Vodafone “seriously need to get their s*** together”.

“We went two days without any data here,” Muriwai told Cook Islands News.

“Just get your issues sorted ... all your social media page is full of is your service issues and selling products you can’t even use. You want people to pay their phone bills on time, buy your plans and bundles, but you can’t keep up with your end of the bargain. Get it together or hire a team who can.

“Another aspect to consider is that they blamed it to the power outage, despite knowing that the public relies on Vodafone and lacks fail-safes to mitigate such incidents. In contrast, industries like tourism such as our resort, implement measures such as generators and protocols to ensure uninterrupted service for guests.

“And if you look at the bottom of their posts, they state ‘Thank you for choosing Vodafone’, where in reality the public doesn’t really have any other choice.”