CommsUpdate: Japan’s fourth mobile operator Rakuten Mobile has received a slap on the wrist from the Japanese government over ‘massive disruptions’ of its voice and data services that affected many of its customers in September this year.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) issued an Administrative Guidance to the company, noting that the outages affected some 110,000 people in terms of voice call service failures and 1.3 million people were hit by the data transmission disruption.
The outage was caused by a software malfunction in equipment at a data centre. The MIC has since inspected the data centre to ensure that corrective measures are being put in place. It has also warned Rakuten not to repeat the incident.
“We solemnly accept the instruction and will thoroughly follow it on a companywide basis,” said Rakuten Mobile President Shunsuke Yazawa.
It’s not just Rakuten
Rakuten wasn’t the only operator having outage problems this year. In July, almost 31 million KDDI subscribers were hit by roughly two days’ of service disruption. The problems interrupted corporate logistics systems, bank ATM services and other services such as public transport charge cards.
KDDI President Makoto Takahashi swiftly apologized for the outage and said at the time the company would look into compensating affected customers after examining details of the phone and data communication service disruption.
In the aftermath of that incident, the MIC issued an administrative guidance to KDDI, ordering it to take measures to prevent a repeat of the recent network failure.
Piggybacking rival networks
Last week, KDDI confirmed that it will allow companies and local governments to use the networks of rival operators NTT DoCoMo and SoftBank as a backup starting layer this month.
In the event of a disruption, the user will be switched automatically to the backup, but will have to pay for the data used. KDDI argues that this charge would still be cheaper than the alternative – that is, signing a new contract with another service provider.
Further, it is understood that NTT Corp intends to introduce a similar arrangement for DoCoMo users later this month, with users switching to KDDI in the event of a network outage.