Singapore’s second largest operator Starhub stands red-faced due to an internal error involving 18 phone numbers which it had mistakenly reissued to new customers who had signed up for its mobile phone services at the end of last year.
According to the Straits Times, the affected customers had each been issued a phone number already utilized by an existing customer from either of the country’s two other mobile providers – SingTel and M1.
As a result, the newly-activated numbers could make outgoing calls and send text messages but were unable to receive incoming calls or text messages.
It turned out the 18 affected numbers had belonged to previous Starhub clients who had switched providers and ported their new numbers over to the new operator. Due to the error, identical ‘live’ numbers existed in the system.
Affected customers initially reported the problem to Starhub’s support desk, which proved unable to help. They discovered the mistake after a few days and lodged complaints with Starhub.
The Straits Times reported that Starhub had apologized and attributed the problem to an ‘administrative oversight’. According to the report, a Starhub spokesperson said the telco had recently upgraded its backend system and the status of the affected ported-out numbers had been wrongly updated as being available for use.
All affected subscribers have since been issued new numbers.