Mobile Company Orange Breaks Down Leaving Many Without Service

An Orange store.  Photo:

An Orange store.

For 12 hours on Friday, clients of the French mobile company, Orange, were left without means of communication. This means that more than 27 million people were unable to call or connect to a cell phone network, creating serious issues for individuals to businesses. On a huge day for holiday travel and also when many high school students were receiving their results from the Bac it, the shutdown caused a huge amount of problems.

The CEO, Stephane Richard, publically apologized on Saturday, saying that all the clients will recieve compensation. Depending on the kind of contract, it will be one day of free communication, data for Internet or a movie’s ticket. It will cost more than 10 billion to Orange but this measure does not seem satisfy the consumer base.

Since the operator did not reveal the reason of the breakdown, the internet exploded with gossip on Friday regarding the cause: it was because of the storms, or hackers, or because of the overloaded network. The CEO dispelled these hypotheses saying it was a result of malfunction of the system managing the signaling of the calls.

This would not have been so serious if only individual contracts were affected but it also professionals, companies, and the government. The train and air companies were unable to inform passengers of delays, many doctors who are only reachable on their mobile phone could not respond to emergencies or patient needs.  Even water levels in water towers and the pumps connected to these towers are run via sms. Orange can expect that next year many professionals will chose another company for their mobile phone due to the breakdown.

The mayhem that ensued also shows how dependable our society is to cell phones and how that attachment has increased exponentially with the youngest generations. Many fear that mobile companies are not increasing their services as fast as the demand.

Fleur Pellerin, the Minister of Digital Economy, will meet with the CEOs of all the mobile companies to question them about the reliability of their network and how they will react in the event of a crisis to prepare against something like this happening again.

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