Millions suffer as fire disrupts Mobilink network
By Jamal Shahid
ISLAMABAD: A fire in a Switching Centre of the country`s top cellular provider disrupted voice connectivity, SMS and data services in the Northern Region, with millions of subscribers left without a signal.
According to sources in the company, the Sunday night fire erupted when technicians were servicing the system. Some subscribers in Lahore and even Faisalabad were also affected because their numbers were housed in the hub in the capital`s Sector I-10.
Mobilink`s PR Director Omar Manzoor said efforts were being made to restore the system and an investigation had been started to determine the cause of the fire.
He said it was not clear how many subscribers were affected but all numbers housed in I-10/3 switching system were down.
The breakdown was so serious that the sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications asked the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to take action against the company and impose fine for causing loss and inconvenience to consumers.
“It is a worldwide practice that companies compensate their customers when services they provide are disrupted and people have to suffer,” Senator Zahid Khan said.
The sub-committee also directed the PTA to take proper measures so that each service provider maintained a back-up system to ensure uninterrupted service.
In response to the committee`s directive, the PTA said it needed to look into legal and technical aspects.
“We need to find out if the fire was an accident or the company error. If the company was at fault then we need to understand how rules guide us to help compensate people,” a PTA official said.
Mobilink issued a statement on Monday night claiming complete restoration of all services including voice, SMS and data connectivity.
“All services have been restored and our customers should not be experiencing any difficulty in getting through to their loved-ones. We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused to our valued customers,” Mr Manzoor said.