Thailand’s number two telco DTAC saw negative customer number growth last month on the back of three severe network outages that occurred in as many weeks.
According to the country’s MNP system, DTAC observed an exodus of 5,000 customers between December 5 2011 to January 16 this year. The outages occurred December 21 2011, 5 January 2012 and 8 January 2012.
DTAC’s chief customer officer Chaiyod Chirabowornkul told the Bangkok Post that the firm lost 3,000 customers in December alone, compared to an average of 1,000 normally. Chirabowowrnkul also admitted most of the customers who left were from the firm’s higher spending customer segment.
DTAC CEO Jon Eddy Abdullah told the Bangkok Post the recent customer churn was unlikely to affect the firm’s market position. DTAC has 23 million customers.
The first outage, which caused DTAC’s entire network to fail, occurred due to a flawed migration of the HLR from one database to another. The migration had been part of a two-year network modernization plan with Ericsson to replace DTAC’s 18 year-old 2G radio and backhaul network to one ready for 3G and LTE.
The second outage was caused by a switch in South Thailand that malfunctioned. Abdullah told reporters as a press conference earlier this month that what usually takes five minutes to restart took hours due to the ongoing HLR migration. The problem worsened when a parameter change aimed at helping users get back online more quickly led to iPhone 4 users being disconnected from the network.