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au mobile customers across Japan hit by network troubles

KDDI Corp, the operator of the au mobile brand, one of Japan's top three carriers, said Saturday its customers are facing difficulties making calls and connecting to the internet, with the nationwide network troubles affecting a range of services from weather data and banking to parcel delivery.
KDDI said work to restore services is still under way after the disruption started at around 1:35 a.m. The troubles have not only rippled to its and other firms' low-cost mobile services, but have also affected the transmission of key data such as weather information.
The cause and how many users have been affected are being investigated, according to KDDI.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said it cannot transmit some of its data on weather conditions such as temperatures, and that it is uncertain when the service can be restored.
KDDI said users of its low-cost service UQ Mobile brand are also experiencing connection issues, as are those who use its lower-priced wireless service plan under the "povo" brand.
As of March, individual contracts for au, UQ Mobile and povo brands totaled 30.97 million.
Users of Rakuten Mobile Inc., the wireless carrier unit of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc., and the low-cost mobile service of JCom Co have also been affected as their services use KDDI lines.
A regional bank in Gifu Prefecture said some of its automated teller machines had been disrupted.
According to Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank, of the 212 ATMs set up outside bank premises such as at stations in Gifu and nearby prefectures of Aichi, Mie and Shiga, 190 could not be used. But the ATMs inside the banks and convenience stores remain unaffected, the bank said.
Transport giant Yamato Holdings Co said its customers are unable to track the situation on the delivery of their parcels via the internet, likely due to the KDDI disruption.
Local governments and fire departments such as from the western city of Kyoto and the city of Saitama, called on the public to use landline phones or public telephones when dialing 119 for fire or ambulance services.
KDDI, with a cumulative total of some 60 million au customer contracts, has apologized for the inconvenience.
The disruption has prompted customers to flood Twitter with their frustrations at not being able to make phone calls or data connections, with some complaining they are unable to leave home.
Japan's largest mobile carrier by subscribers, NTT Docomo Inc, suffered a system failure in October and was issued an administrative order to prevent a recurrence. The incident, which took about 29 hours for services to be fully restored, affected at least 12.9 million users and was labeled a "serious incident" by the communications ministry.


© KYODO
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