Telstra’s latest effort to atone for widespread networking issues, offering users yet another free data day today (3 April) appears to have spectacularly backfired, causing widespread congestion and more knock-on issues around the carrier’s network.
Because of national network outages, the third of such in just two months, Telstra offered users an unmetered data day as some form of recompense. However, and inexplicably, the carrier failed to account for just how much strain this would put on its – clearly – already struggling network. After the last free data day, when users went beserk and downloaded up to 100GB a day in some cases, Telstra perhaps should’ve expected that unhappy customers would go a little more nuts this time around … and seemingly didn’t.
The strain on Telstra’s network began to show mid-morning, with fast LTE speeds of 50+ mbps quickly degrading to 35 mbps and bottoming out at 4.8 mbps by the middle of the day.
Despite a significant backlash on social media, and in the face of growing discontent we’ve seen on Ausdroid discussions and elsewhere, Telstra believes today’s free data day has gone well. Telstra got in touch with us about this story, and had this to say:
“The network has performed well so far today and the overwhelming majority of our customers have enjoyed what we expect will be the biggest day of data usage we have ever experienced.
“On our previous Free Data Day customers downloaded a total of 1,841 terabytes and we exceeded this amount at 4pm AEST today.
“We will continue to monitor services throughout the evening to ensure we keep giving our customers the best possible experience.”
Like Telstra, some customers are happy with their lot today, though, with one user on Reddit claiming to have already downloaded some 400GB of data, and much more, exceeding the amount he downloaded last time Telstra offered a free data day.
Telstra’s latest free data day is expected to cost the carrier many millions of dollars, leading some (including me) to speculate it might have just been easier, and actually worth more for the customers, for the carrier to increase users’ plan inclusions for a couple of months rather than just offering data free days that just encourage users to abuse the network.
What do you think Telstra should be doing? Are these free data days the right answer, or are they just a farce?