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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

John Pavelich’s 83rd birthday had an added surprise; members of Enderby City Council came by his residence to present him with a Lifetime Civic Merit award Saturday, May 8, 2021. (Contributed)
Enderby resident unwraps Lifetime Civic Merit award on 83rd birthday

John ‘JP’ Pavelich has been a pillar of volunteerism in Enderby since 1967

The Salmon Arm Pickleball Club would like to store its locker containing a defibrillator and a few other items at the pickleball courts in Klahani Park. (Photo contributed)
Talk of ‘new day’ follows pickleball club request for locker at Salmon Arm park

Council voices varying opinions about locker for defibrillator but agrees to get rec society’s view

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

The Vernon Vipers defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 3-1 to secure the top spot in the BC Hockey League Vernon pod Friday, May 7, 2021. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
VIDEO: Vipers beat Salmon Arm, clinch top spot in BCHL Vernon pod

Goaltender James Porter Jr. was a wall for the Vipers, who outscored the Silverbacks 3-1 Friday

The 2021 Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival will be a virtual event and is slated to take place Aug. 13 and 14.(Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Virtual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues returns for 2021

Participating artists will stream live during two-night event

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

City of Vernon Coun. Dalvir Nahal proposed two blocks of Main Street be closed to bolster recovery for downtown businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
Vernon’s ‘support local’ Main Street closure would cost city $24K, staff say

Bylaw costs, loss of parking revenue and equipment logistics behind price tag

Five properties have been added to the Lake Country fire protection zone, after council moved to expand the local service area Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Google Maps)
Lake Country expands fire protection zone, covering 5 exposed properties

The properties petitioned to join the local service area after being left out ‘for reasons unknown’

VSAR’s Air Rescue One unit assisted in a rescue in West Kelowna May 3, 2021. (VSAR screenshot)
VIDEO: VSAR’s Air Rescue One team assists in West Kelowna Rescue

The Vernon Search and Rescue helicopter team pulled off a successful rescue Monday

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

Most Read