Telecom fault affects South Island

Telecom was left battling technology demons on two fronts yesterday as its mobile broadband slowed to a snail's pace and it continued to deal with the fall-out from a security breach at Yahoo.

The mobile broadband fault left customers unable to access the internet from smartphones and tablet computers for much of the day, until the problem was resolved at about 4pm. It affected all its pre-paid customers nationwide and post-paid customers south of Taupo, including those in the South Island.

Spokesman Conor Roberts said the fault resulted in "slow data speeds", but some customers reported they were unable to access the internet at all.

An undisclosed number of Telecom's YahooXtra email customers have found themselves locked out of their accounts over the past few days because of a separate security-related issue at outsourced email provider Yahoo.

Telecom said it had been advised by Yahoo that some YahooXtra email accounts had been "compromised", meaning hackers had obtained those customers' usernames and passwords.

Spokeswoman Lucy Fullarton said Telecom did not know whether there was anything preventing hackers from reading the customers' emails. Yahoo was investigating whether that was possible, she said.

"This is a global issue; a Yahoo issue. It is wider than Xtra."

Yahoo has been blocking email accounts once it learns they have been compromised, requiring customers then reset their passwords.

Telecom outsourced its email service to Yahoo in 2007. It reviewed and considered dumping Yahoo as its email provider last year in response to earlier security woes, but Fullarton said it still believed customers valued the service.

Emma Carter, a spokeswoman for rival Vodafone, said it had kept its email services in-house.

The Press