Optus customers have slammed what the company calls a “token gesture” after a nationwide blackout left users without phone or internet access for more than 12 hours.
Payment, transport, and health services were thrown into chaos on Wednesday after operations at Australia’s second biggest telco suddenly went dark about 4am.
With millions of users impacted by the outage, Optus on Thursday revealed customers on eligible plans would receive 200gb of internet data for their “patience”.
The move, billed by Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin as acknowledgment of customers’ “loyalty … to help during the holidays”, was immediately slammed.
“They’d know a huge percentage of customers have data left over each month,” a user on social media site Reddit said. “This is a token gesture that really is an insult.”
Others called the promised data package a “kick in the balls” and were quick to point out it had little impact on Optus, stating that: “Like, isn’t it free for them?”
“Utterly ridiculous. I’ll make sure that’s not all that I get. I’m no push over,” Leanne Helle-Broe said.
Gabrielle Higgs added: “Pay my bill or I’m switching.”
Customers will have until the end of the year to use the 200gb data packages, while eligible prepaid plans will get unlimited data only on the weekend.
In a statement, Optus acknowledged the outage had come at a “busy time” for many business in the lead up to Christmas, providing them with the same 200gb package.
Technology expert Trevor Long told Today host Karl Stefanovic the telco in doing so “essentially overlooked” businesses not being “big enough” to be on their radar.
“What they‘ve said is if you have an Optus business manager, give them a call. Most local cafes don’t have an Optus business manager,” Mr Long said on Friday.
We’re very sorry for the outage
We know the importance of being connected and we’re deeply sorry that your service was interrupted. We thank you for your understanding and patience while we worked to restore our operations.
We’re committed to working tirelessly to provide the…
— Optus Help (@optus_help) November 9, 2023
“They need to admit that the ombudsman and regulators are going to look at rebates and compensation for businesses, and they are going to have the keep those receipts.
“They should have made it clear that they understand the financial losses that businesses had … number one thing all the other telcos are doing is learning how not to react if they have these issues.”
Among those impacted was a Reddit user from Perth who said their IT company had 13 services with Optus under a business account when the outage set in on Wednesday.
“The most data we have used on it is around 120GB in a month across all services. 200GB for a whole days outage is a slap in the face,” the user wrote on Friday.
“I’ve just started porting all the services to one of our wholesale carriers we have other business with. Optus knows damn well that no one will use that extra data.
“I already have over 1TB of data and I don’t even use 15 per cent of it. Extra data has zero value for me. What the hell are they offering NBN customers who have unlimited usage?”