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

Masset Habour Days will be from May 21 to 25 in 2021, in a family-friendly safe environment. A parade in 2018 was a highlight of a previous Harbour Days celebration. (File Photo)
Birds, boats and blooms are featured in 2021 Harbour Days

Community festival runs from May 21 to 25 in Masset

Kayak the humpback whale was found dead on a Haida Gwaii beach on Saturday, May 15, 2021. (Marine Education and Research Society)
Kayak the humpback whale found dead on Haida Gwaii beach

Whale was estimated to be only 18 years old

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

Those who disobey could be subject to a $230 fine

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Most Read