The telco’s massive service outage has affected an estimated 10.2 million customers since it was first noticed by Optus staff at 4.05am on Wednesday.

Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin took to 2GB Radio amid a morning of frustration across the country to assure customers compensation would be considered.

“We will consider every possibility once services are restored,” she said.

Another Optus spokesperson said “some services across fixed and mobile are now gradually being restored … This may take a few hours for all services to recover and different services may restore at different sites over that time,” they said.

Meanwhile, Communications Minister Michelle Rowland was hesitant about when compensation claims would be possible, admitting it was “too early” to say.

“In relation to customers who have been affected and what they recourse may be, I note the comments by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) that at this time it’s probably too early to be discussing or giving definitive views about compensation or other consumer rights,” she said.

“(But) it is important, especially for small businesses, to keep receipts so that any recourse and any redress that may be available to them has that evidentiary base.”

The TIO said it would help affected customers seek refunds over the outage.

“If you have contacted Optus and you are unhappy with the response, you can make a complaint with the TIO,” it reported on Wednesday morning.

“If you have not contacted Optus, or you have been unable to contact them, we can forward your complaint to Optus on your behalf.”

“We can help you with refunds for the time you have been unable to use your service, compensation claims and disputes about your contract.”

Although the price tag for possible compensation claims looms large, Shuttleworth Telecommunications Fellow Paul Gardner-Stephen said Optus was unlikely to cop a significant financial hit.

“Omissions by the mobile network operators are because there is no immediate financial incentive to do so,” Dr Gardner-Stephen said.

“For example, Optus is unlikely to face any significant financial penalties for today’s outage compared with the cost to society of the outage.”

While the blackout continues, the Australian Media and Communications Authority instructs customers impacted by mobile or internet outages to file a formal complaint with their telco, according to rights guaranteed under Australian consumer law.

“If the service outages are frequent and/or major, you may be able to: ask for a refund or rebate for the period you were without service, cancel your contract without a penalty, (and/or) ask for compensation for any loss that happened as a result.”

“Some contracts allow you to apply for a refund or rebate when you can’t use a service because of an outage. This is usually only for major outages that you did not cause.”

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