Glitch cuts off SmarTone'smobile phone service
Thousands of SmarTone mobile phone users were cut off yesterday or experienced problems after a power failure at a switchboard station in Central and Western district.
The problem snowballed after the backup power system also failed after a couple of hours.
Some users complained of losing their phone and internet connections from 11am, while others said they could make but not receive calls.
They complained that SmarTone did not post any information on its website throughout the day, while the customer hotline was constantly jammed.
Some staff at SmarTone branches said they did not know what had happened.
A spokesman for the Communications Authority said the company told it about the power failure at a building in Central and Western district.
'We understand the service had largely returned to normal in the afternoon,' the spokesman said. 'We have asked SmarTone for a report.'
Complaints by angry users were posted on major online forums, with some urging SmarTone to offer a month's free service as compensation.
By 6pm, there were still complaints appearing online of the phone service being down in the Kwun Tong area.
SmarTone, a listed subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai Properties, provides voice, multimedia, and broadband services.
The company caused a storm of protest in February when it announced plans to abolish its 'unlimited data' plan and replace it with a same-price service capping usage at just 2 gigabytes.
SmarTone eventually reversed its decision after two weeks of complaints.
According to the authority, there are about 15 million mobile subscribers in Hong Kong, or just over 2.1 for every man, woman and child.
The number of customers SmarTone has in Hong Kong, out of the city's estimated 15 million subscribers