Telenor, Norway’s dominant telecoms firm, remained in trouble over the weekend after its mobile network broke down for several hours on Thursday evening. Not only Telenor’s millions of regular customers were affected.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported on Saturday that 14,000 health care personnel, police and key officials within Norway’s newly set up preparedness system were also left without the ability to make or receive phone calls or send or receive text messages.
The brand-new preparedness system, set up in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Norway in 2011, is supposed to be part of a “prioritized mobile” network to enable emergency workers to communicate in times of crisis. Instead it broke down along with the rest of Telenor’s system while Telenor workers were upgrading some programming on a server Thursday night.
Telenor has admitted that human error, or negligence, was involved in the breakdown and that the prioritized customers should have been automatically transferred to rival NetCom’s mobile service. “I can’t answer yet why that didn’t happen,” Telenor’s chief executive, Jon Fredrik Baksaas, told Aftenposten.
The breakdown was the latest in a series of problems with Norway’s mobile system, and the authorities have also criticized the countries’ telecoms firms for weakness in their alarm systems, failure to interpret the seriousness of breakdowns and failure to warn the public. Much of the trouble occurs during planned maintenance and upgrading.