Telstra plays host to world's largest party line

Crossed line cock-up

Thousands of subscribers to the Telstra mobile network in Australia become unwitting participants in other callers' conversations last week.

Subscribers were also given access to the voicemail of other users due to a mysterious snafu, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Telstra said the crossed line cock-up affected thousands of subscribers along the New South Wales Coast north of Sydney. After other attempts to restore normal service failed, Telstra was forced to reset it network.

David Jenkins, network manager for the Catholic Schools Office in Newcastle (NSW's second city), gave the Sydney Morning Herald an account of the problem.

"When people called in you'd get their caller-ID number, so you'd know who was trying to call you, but when you answered the call you'd be connected to someone else's conversation," he said.

Both the caller and recipient could hear the same crossed-line conversation, but could not talk either to each other or the participants in the other call.

Later, Jenkins was put through to another person's voicemail.

Telstra said it was the first time such a failure had occurred on its network. The mobile operator is downplaying the privacy implications of the cock-up. But it still doesn't know what went wrong. The company is investigating...®

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