Midnight theft left Vodafone users bereft

Switch-lifters fingered for phone co fubar

Vodafone's Monday morning outage was caused by thieves who broke into the operator's Basingstoke exchange and lifted a load of switches.

The break-in happened around 00.30 this morning, and the police were quickly notified. Vodafone noticed its own network collapsing and assembled its "War Room" which is supposed to deal with network outages.

The problems have now been fixed, but customers will be asking why such critical kit was vulnerable, and why it took almost 12 hours to get a formal statement from the company.

The company's Twitter feed was uncharacteristically silent on the matter, while its website showed no information and the phone lines were overloaded. That left customers wondering if the problem was with their own handset or the local base station, but unlikely to imagine the problem covered most of South East England.

Vodafone tells us that only 100,000 customers were affected, rather than the millions that were rumoured to be having problems this morning. Those 100,000 are obviously a very vocal bunch, though, as the internet is awash with disgruntled customers complaining about their wasted morning.

Quite why that morning was wasted we still don't know. Vodafone is only saying that it was a break-in, and have confirmed that switching equipment was stolen (putting paid to rumours of midnight protests, which were already undermined by the lack of statement from any protesters).

It seems that considerable force was used to gain access to the site, but we'll have to wait for the police statement before we know more. ®

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