Photos taken from around the country have revealed many Aussies’ response to Wednesday’s Optus outage, as customers leave the embattled telco in droves.

Optus was served yet another blow this week when a 14-hour outage left millions in the lurch, including some landline customers trying to contact triple-0.

Off the back of the telco’s devastating data breach a little over a year ago, which affected as many as 9.7 million Australians, Optus had little room for another huge failure.

In fact, it appeared Wednesday’s outage was the final straw for many Optus customers.

Dozens of photos uploaded to social media showed long queues pouring from the doorways of Optus’s main competitors, Vodafone and Telstra, suggesting many were happy to wait in line for the chance to rid themselves of their troubled provider.

“Walked past a long line of people at Telstra at Fountain Gate just now. The Optus store next door was empty,” one person wrote on X.

“Ask the people who switched to Telstra today. The lines were HUGE at Highpoint Telstra,” added another.

Another separate set of images, taken at a Melbourne shopping centre, showed an “increasingly agitated” crowd gathered outside an Optus store while, across the way, a Vodafone shop was inundated with new sign-ups.

One Sydneysider even offered up $150 for a Telstra or Vodafone SIM to help get her back online.

“I’m an Optus customer affected by the outage and need to be connected for work rather than use friend’s phone. Need a SIM card … Telstra or Vodafone is fine and delivered to my door asap,” the woman wrote on Airtasker.

Another Aussie offered $50 for someone to help her contact her parents because the outage left her unable to use her phone.

“I need to contact my parents as my daughter is with them (I’m not close by) and I need to co-ordinate pick-up times. Could someone visit them so that we can sort out arrangements?” she wrote.

Telstra prepaid customers reportedly also faced difficulties recharging their phone plans due to a spike in demand.

“RIP can’t even turn on my backup Telstra SIM right now,” one customer said.

Telstra told customers it was experiencing “very high demand to recharge prepaid services right now”.

Optus’s share price also took a hit, with shares in its parent company, Singtel, sliding more than 4 per cent to trade at SGD$2.37 on Wednesday afternoon.

Angus Kidman, of comparison website Finder, said the outage was likely a case of “two strikes and you’re out” for Optus.

“Customer loyalty is already on shaky ground following the data breach in 2022,” he said.

“Optus could be facing a customer exodus as the outage may be the final straw for some who have only just finished dealing with the leak. The fear of being stuck without mobile phone connectivity is very real, especially for those who rely on their phone for directions and work.”

What caused the Optus outage?

The government revealed a core network “fault” caused Optus’s services to flatline. It does not believe the outage was the result of another cyberattack.

The telco itself, however, has remained tight-lipped about the nature of the failure. Optus has yet to reveal what, exactly, caused the fault that impacted up to 10 million mobile, landline and broadband customers, bringing public transport and some essential services to a standstill.

Communications minister Michelle Rowland said customers were rightly frustrated with Optus.

“Optus have not given a precise time frame,” she said.

“They have assured that they are working as quickly as possible but I reiterate that it is important for Optus to keep customers updated and in a timely way because this is precisely the questions that customers are asking.

“I think Optus needs to make sure that they step up and communicate with people because as I understand that this started in the early hours of this morning.”



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