Optus customers have criticized Optus for what they called a “token gesture” after a nationwide power outage left users without phone or internet access for more than 12 hours.
Payments, transport and healthcare services were thrown into chaos on Wednesday after operations at Australia’s second-largest telecommunications company suddenly shut down around 4am.
With millions of users affected by the outage, Optus revealed on Thursday that customers on eligible plans would receive 200GB of internet data for their “patience”.
The move, presented by Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin as recognition of customers’ “loyalty” to their holiday support, was immediately criticized.
“They would know that a huge percentage of customers have data left over every month,” said one user on social media site Reddit. “It’s a symbolic gesture that actually constitutes an insult.”
Others called the promised data package a “kick in the balls” and were quick to point out that it had little impact on Optus, saying: “Like, isn’t it free for them ? »
Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin announced that customers on eligible plans would receive 200GB of data for their “patience” during Wednesday’s outage.
“Completely ridiculous. I’ll make sure that’s not all I get. I’m not a problem,” Leanne Helle-Broe said.
Gabrielle Higgs added: “Pay my bill or I’ll change. »
Customers will have until the end of the year to use the 200GB data plans, while eligible prepaid plans will get unlimited data only on weekends.
In a statement, Optus acknowledged the outage came at a “busy time” for many businesses in the run-up to Christmas, providing them with the same data package.
Tech expert Trevor Long told Today host Karl Stefanovic that the telco had thus “essentially neglected” companies that weren’t “big enough” to be on their radar.
“What they said was if you have an Optus business manager, call them. Most local cafes don’t have an Optus sales manager,” Mr Long said on Friday.
“They need to recognize that the ombudsman and regulators are going to look at rebates and compensation given to companies, and that they will need to keep those receipts.”
“They should have made it clear that they understand the financial losses the companies are suffering…The first thing every other telecom company does is learn not to react if they have these problems.”
Customers were unimpressed with the telco’s compensatory offer, calling it “tokenistic” and an “insult.”
Many small businesses were left stranded due to the outage, rendering electronic payment systems unusable.
Among those affected was a Reddit user from Perth who said his IT company had 13 services with Optus under a business account when the outage occurred on Wednesday.
“The most data we have used is around 120 GB per month across all services. 200 GB for a whole day of outage is a slap in the face,” the user wrote on Friday.
“I just started moving all services to one of our wholesale carriers that we have other business with. Optus knows very well that no one will use this additional data.
“I already have over 1TB of data and I don’t even use 15% of it. The additional data has no value to me. What do they offer NBN customers who have unlimited usage? »