Wonthaggi Myotherapist and Sports Masseuse Jaye Foon was one of the many Optus mobile phone users in the area left stranded without mobile phone service during recent weeks after Optus upgrades.
A LACK of service for Optus mobile phones in Wonthaggi and Inverloch recently has frustrated local customers.
The service issues hit hardest last week with reports of up to three full days of no coverage, causing inconvenience to many businesses and residents.
Wonthaggi Community Care Worker, Kelly Dobbie, said she was notified by a text message from Optus on February 17 about an Optus upgrade in the area.
The message read as follows: ‘Hi, we’re upgrading our mobile network to 4G in Wonthaggi and the surrounding areas soon and your service will be affected from 20/2-26/02. You’ll occasionally experience coverage issues with calls, SMS and data during this time. We’re sorry for the inconvenience. We’ll let you know when 4G is switched on.’
The issues started for Kelly during the following week.
“You go to make a call and it doesn’t connect,” Kelly said.
“I’ve rang Optus and they said to keep track of how many days I don’t have service for and when the problem’s fixed to ring back and they will reimburse me. They couldn’t tell me when it was going to be happening.
“I don’t want to be reimbursed, I need my phone working. They said there was going to be interruptions from February 20 to February 26 and I don’t recall any interruptions in that period. But after that period we’ve had nothing but interruptions – we’ve had a minimum of three full days of no reception.
“For me it’s a complete pain; if I’m at work, I’m a carer that needs my mobile phone – it’s part of my job for emergencies and if I’m with clients.
“If I’m taking a client shopping or at their home doing home care and there’s an emergency, I’ve got no point of contact. Part of my job description is that I have to be contactable and have a mobile phone.
“It’s happened before and we’ve had to organise another phone so we’ve got a point of contact, it’s just ridiculous.”
The debacle puts Kelly in a tricky situation and she said it also stops her from keeping track of her children.
Wonthaggi Myotherapist and Sports Masseuse Jaye Foon has felt the impact of the Optus issues on his business.
Jaye also received a text message about the upgrade in February, and experienced issues during the following week, where he had intermittent phone reception on some days.
He said he missed out on seven to eight patient bookings last Tuesday as he could not be contacted on his mobile.
“I’ve always been a bit of an advocate for them [Optus]; if they’re going to update the tower to 4G, you’re prepared to put up with it for a while,” he said.
“If it’s for an hour or so you’re not too concerned but when it becomes days it’s frustrating.
“It’s more not being notified; I wouldn’t have such a problem with it, but yesterday I couldn’t prepare for it.”
Jaye is in a predicament as he would like to switch to Telstra, but the usual Telstra service at his house is inadequate.
He makes most of his appointment bookings via text messages and sees this as a convenient way of booking for patients.
“I’m not so worried about me making phone calls to mates, it’s the business side of it or if something happens to the kids and there’s an emergency and you’re not at home – it’s getting
beyond a joke.”
Despite Optus notifying the Sentinel-Times that the works were completed on Tuesday, Optus phone users continued to experience issues with coverage on Wednesday.
An Optus spokesperson confirmed on Thursday that the upgrades would in fact be completed on Monday, April 6.
“We have commenced upgrades to our mobile network across a number of locations across the region including Wonthaggi and Inverloch to prepare for our 4G Plus network locally,” the spokesperson said.
“We apologise to customers that may have experienced coverage issues as a result.
“Customers can check on Optus tower upgrades or coverage around Wonthaggi by visiting www.optus.com.au/coverage.”