A countrywide wireless outage left customers of Rogers Communications Inc. with intermittent access to call and texting services on Monday.
The outage had broad economic ramifications across Canada, including impacting business operations, sales and payments and the ability for people to work remotely, experts say.
“It’s a very big deal,” said Tyler Chamberlin, assistant professor at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa. “It can have very big consequences on our economy.”
The national wireless carrier said in a Twitter post it was working quickly to restore the impacted services as soon as possible.
According to Down Detector, a website that tracks outages, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities.
Although the ongoing service disruption appears concentrated in southern Ontario, an outage map suggests the service problems span the country from British Columbia to Nova Scotia.
Users have said they have been unable to place or receive cellphone calls or text messages for several hours.
Some have expressed frustration on social media, noting that they rely on the wireless service as they work from home under ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
“We’re in another major lockdown here in Ontario and economically that’s far less disruptive … than stopping people from being digitally connected,” Chamberlin said.
Several emergency services organizations explained on Twitter that while wireless customers can still place 911 calls during a service interruption, they are unable to receive a call back.
Winnipeg Police said that Rogers and Fido customers experiencing Canada-wide outages will still be able to call 911 but must remain on the line to speak with an operator.
Peel Regional Police said that if Rogers customers call 911 they should remain on the line as operators are unable to call back.
“We are experiencing several 911 drop calls that require followup,” Waterloo Regional Police also said on Twitter. “Please do not hang up if you call 911. Stay on the line so we can make sure you’re okay.”
Rogers owns a national wireless network that does business under the Rogers, Fido and Chatr brands.
According to an investor page on the Rogers website, the telecommunications company provides both postpaid and prepaid wireless services to about 10.9 million consumer and business subscribers in the Canadian wireless market.
Rogers did not immediately respond to a request for more information.