Parliament: M1 did the best it could to restore mobile services during outages, says Yaacob

M1 did the best it could to restore mobile services during two recent outages, Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said in Parliament on Thursday. -- ST PHOTO: YEN MENG JIIN
M1 did the best it could to restore mobile services during two recent outages, Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said in Parliament on Thursday. -- ST PHOTO: YEN MENG JIIN

SINGAPORE - M1 did the best it could to restore mobile services during two recent outages, Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said in Parliament on Thursday.

He was replying to Workers' Party MP Lee Li Lian (Punggol East), who had asked what were the reasonable measures taken by the telco to restore services.

The first of the two incidents took place in October 2013.

During the six-hour outage on Oct 16 that year, which occurred after a scheduled network software upgrade, M1 "rolled back" to an earlier version of the software to isolate the problem, said Dr Yaacob.

The roll-back was done about two hours from the start of the disruption, he said.

When queried by Ms Lee on whether two hours is a good timeframe, Dr Yaacob said: "Under the circumstances, M1 did the best they could given the information that they have. There is no standards in this world for us to judge whether two hours is adequate or inadequate."

But looking at all the actions M1 had taken, industry regulator the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and the Ministry of Communications and Information were "quite satisfied that two hours was a reasonable timeframe", he added.

M1 was not fined for the incident, which could have affected about 23,000 subscribers in Ang Mo Kio, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong, Yishun and Woodlands.

M1 was also not fined for a five-hour service outage on Feb 4 last year caused by an "unknown" call-processing software bug. It prevented customers from being authenticated on the telco's 2G, 3G and 4G networks, resulting in them not being able to make calls, connect to the Internet, send or receive text messages.

"It should also be noted that until the disruption on Feb 4, the same set of mobile site switches were deployed in many overseas operators' networks, and were also deployed in M1's network for several years without incident," said Dr Yaacob.

Reassuring the House that his ministry is committed to strengthening the resiliency of mobile networks with telcos, he said: "While no network service is immune to failure, telcos can definitely improve the way they update and assist their customers when disruptions occur."