Cellcom network crashes, 3 million without service

Customers line up at cellphone stores across the country; CEO says "this is the worst technical problem since the founding of the company."

December 1, 2010 17:56
1 minute read.
A  cell phone user [illustrative]

Cellphone user 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The Cellcom cellular network crashed on Wednesday, leaving over 3 million phones without service.

Cellcom customers' phones stopped working at about 10:00 a.m., and the network was not yet fixed by Wednesday evening.

Customers lined up outside Cellcom stores throughout the country. At Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv, the Cellcom store's manager distributed "krembos" and brought in extra security to guard his employees from disgruntled customers.

Amos Shapira, Cellcom's CEO, announced in a press conference in Tel Aviv that "this is the worst technical problem since the founding of the company."

"We apologize that we cannot give the service we usually give our customers, Shapira said.

He added that Cellcom's Vice President of Technology was working with Nokia engineers in Finland to fix the problem.

"If I knew when (the problem) would end, i would say but I don't," Shapira explained. "I prefer not to build up false hopes." He added that he can't even estimate if fixing the issue is a matter of hours or days.

In response to a question about reimbursing customers, Shapira said he was  "focused only on fixing the technical problem, and then we'll look at other problems."

Shapira did not specify what caused the network to crash, saying he did not want to make an announcement before he could be sure.

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