The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin

Rogers says disruptive wireless outage caused by Ericsson software update

Experts say the intermittent wireless service issues left Rogers customers without phone or texting service

Rogers Communications Inc. says services for the majority of its customers have been restored after a massive outage caused by a software update from Ericsson.

The company says in a tweet late Monday that a small number of services with other carriers continued to come back online.

Chief technology officer Jorge Fernandes had said in a message on the company’s website earlier in the day that the company’s TV, home and business wireline internet, and home phone services were not affected.

Rogers — which is one of Canada’s big three wireless carriers along with Bell and Telus — owns a national wireless network that does business under the Rogers, Fido and Chatr brands.

Experts say the intermittent wireless service issues left Rogers customers without phone or texting services beginning early Monday, with broad economic ramifications across Canada.

In addition to personal communications, experts say the outage impacted business sales and services such as food delivery and curbside pickup, payments that require a wireless connection and the ability for people to work remotely.

“It’s a very big deal,” said Tyler Chamberlin, assistant professor at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa. “It can have very big consequences on our economy.”

The service interruption could also affect health, with some Rogers customers saying they had been unable to book or check in for medical appointments.

According to Downdetector, a website that tracks outages, problems were reported in most major Canadian cities.

Although the service disruption appeared concentrated in southern Ontario, an outage map suggested the service problems spanned the country from British Columbia to Nova Scotia.

The massive outage could flame concerns about telecommunications consolidation and costs in Canada, Chamberlin said.

“It’s infrastructure, it’s equipment and it’s going to fail here and there,” he said. “But the fact that we’re paying more than most of the consumers around the world would suggest that our tolerance for outages like this is probably quite limited.”

An investor page on the Rogers website indicates the telecommunications company provides both postpaid and prepaid wireless services to about 10.9 million consumer and business subscribers in the Canadian wireless market.

Some of those users expressed frustration on social media, noting that they rely on the wireless service as they work from home under ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

“We’re in another major lockdown here in Ontario and economically that’s far less disruptive … than stopping people from being digitally connected,” Chamberlin said.

Toronto resident and communications specialist Rachael Collier, a Fido customer, said she first noticed her phone wasn’t working Monday morning when she tried to make a doctor’s appointment.

“I thought my call wasn’t going through because so many people are trying to get vaccines today,” she said during a Google Meet interview.

“Then I realized I couldn’t make any calls,” Collier said. “They’re saying it’s intermittent, but my phone hasn’t worked all day. It’s clearly an absolutely massive outage.”

With her home internet still working, Collier said she was able to work as usual. But she worried about how the wireless outage impacted people trying to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m concerned that on the first day of vaccination appointments basically opening, people who are relying on their phones to make an appointment have been cut off,” she said.

Milton resident Deep Mehta said he hadn’t had service for more than 12 hours.

“It’s frustrating because I’m trying to operate a business from home and that’s the number that everyone has,” he said. “I just had to take my son to the orthodontist and I couldn’t check in on my phone.”

Several emergency services organizations explained that while wireless customers could still place 911 calls during a service interruption, they were unable to receive a call back.

“People should still continue calling 911 for emergencies and remain on the line until an operator speaks to them,” Cpl. Caroline Duval, an RCMP spokeswoman, said in an email.

“They should also watch for updates/direction from their local police (including local RCMP where we are the police of jurisdiction) as well as Rogers for updates regarding affected areas.”

Rogers said on Twitter that is had been working around the clock with Ericsson to fix the problem.

“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this outage has caused and thank you for your patience.”

READ MORE: Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Internet and Telecom

Just Posted

(Clockwise, from top-left) Brenda DeJong, Carol Jones, Marcia Strang, Cathy Collis and Mark East star in the upcoming Sidekick Players Zoom presentation of the Norm Foster play “Halfway There,” directed by Carroll Lefebvre, on May 22, 2021. (Submitted photos)
Delta’s Sidekick Players continue ‘Foster Zoom Fest’ with ‘Halfway There’

Tsawwassen-based theatre company hosting another online performance on Saturday, May 22

Sergeant Mike Sanchez of the Surrey Gang Enforcement Team speaking with students. (Photo: RCMP).
Surrey RCMP’s anti-gang program goes virtual amid COVID-19 pandemic

Presentations aimed at youth available to be booked

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Discussions about Surrey-owned land in Langley should be behind closed doors, councillors say

That’s what Councillors Brenda Locke, Jack Hundial and former Surrey mayor Bob Bose say

Little House Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Society COO Debbi McKenzie stands in front of the society’s namesake facility with Phoenix Drug Alcohol Recovery and Education Society CEO Keir Macdonald. (Submitted photo)
Delta’s Little House Society merging with Surrey-based Phoenix Society

Merger ‘came together in a really organic way’ as societies have been working together for two years

Elsje Hannah stands in the old safe at the Healing Place Counselling Centre in the Dale Building. Hannah converted the old safe into a chapel-area for quiet reflection for clients at her practice, which includes the not-for-profit Soul Matters Counselling. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Not-for-profit counselling service opens in Cloverdale

Soul Matters Counselling is located on 176th in the Dale Building

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Mandarin Garden in Abbotsford had two event tents set up for outdoor dining. One of the tents, valued at more than $5,000, was stolen early Friday morning (May 14). (Submitted photo)
UPDATE: Dining tent stolen from Abbotsford restaurant is located

Owner says it would have cost more than $5,000 to replace the rented event tent

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

Most Read