Image: Singtel

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has imposed a financial penalty on SingTel Mobile (STM) for breaching the Code of Practice for Telecommunication Service Resiliency. This follows IDA’s investigation of the disruption of STM’s 3G mobile services on 6 and 7 September 2011.

The service disruption caused some of STM’s mobile subscribers in the central region of Singapore, including Orchard, Tanglin and Telok Blangah, to experience intermittent difficulties in making and receiving calls and accessing SMS, MMS and mobile data services via STM’s 3G network. At all times, 2G services were available. Investigations showed that the service disruption was caused by a software glitch in the new switches that were progressively being installed by STM in the central region of Singapore to upgrade its network. The software glitch affected the normal routing of data packets in the network, and mobile services in the central area were intermittently disrupted over three periods between 6 and 7 September causing a total of 22 hours of service disruption.  More than five percent of STM’s base stations were affected.

In our mobile addicted society, where several minutes of mobile outage could cause mass hysteria and panic, it is unsurprising the IDA took such swift action.