July 7, 2012 / 12:06 PM / in 6 years

France Tel's Orange apologizes after nine hour blackout

PARIS (Reuters) - France Telecom’s FTE.PA Orange apologized to its users on Saturday and said it would compensate them after a mobile phone and internet blackout that lasted more than nine hours and left millions unable to communicate.

Mobile service went dead in the early afternoon on Friday, leaving Orange’s 26 million users in France unable to make or receive calls, consult their emails or send and receive text messages.

Telephone service was restored shortly after midnight, while web-based services such as email and browsing came back online three hours later, Orange said in a statement.

“Orange apologizes to all of its customers for the consequences of this serious incident and is working to compensate them,” it said, without specifying what form the compensation would take.

Orange, which said it had assigned hundreds of engineers to investigate the origin of the “super-rare” incident, said software for an essential part of its mobile network had stopped functioning.

Engineers “would stay on alert throughout the weekend to monitor the network and the situation’s development,” it said.

Reporting by Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by David Holmes

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