John C. Tanner
14 Jan 2011
It was a week that saw flood damage for Australian operators, VoIP crackdowns in China and more regulatory demands on RIM.
The Australian state of Queensland was hit hard by massive flooding during the week, and telcos were not immune. Vodafone Australia, Telstra and Optus experienced service disruptions due to flood damage, as did ISPs including Internode, iiNet, iPrimus and Exetel.
Vodafone Australia was already having a bad week without coping with natural disasters after news emerged that private details of around 4 million Vodafone users – including credit card details – were available on a web site accessible by potentially thousands of people, including employees at Vodafone retail stores and resellers.
And that’s on top of last week’s news that Vodafone Australia is already facing the prospect of a class-action lawsuit over allegations of poor network quality.
It wasn’t a great week for Singaporean operator StarHub either. The telco mistakenly reissued 18 mobile numbers already in use by rivals SingTel Mobile and M1 to new customers at the end of last year. Starhub apologized and said the problem was due to an error made during a recent upgrade of its backend system.
It was also the week that saw Skype dodge a bullet in China following last week’s news that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's (MIIT) planned to crack down on “illegal” VoIP services. The MIIT has been vague on what constitutes “illegal” VoIP, but clarified that it doesn’t include Skype and its JV partner in China, Tom Online.
In other clampdown news, RIM agreed to develop a solution to filter porn in Indonesia in a bid to stave off a ban on BlackBerry services there, but the company faces another (and increasingly familiar) issue: the government is also pressing RIM to enable interception of BlackBerry messages by security officials.