Optus is an Australian telecommunications firm headquartered in Macquarie Park, a suburb in the Northern Sydney region of New South Wales, Australia. It operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Singaporean telecommunications company Singtel. As of the year 2022, Optus holds the position of the second-largest wireless carrier in Australia, serving over 10 million subscribers. The mobile network provided by Optus spans 98.5% of the Australian population.
Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has resigned from her position less than two weeks after a major nationwide disruption faced by the Australian telecommunications company, as reported by Bloomberg. The disruption on November 8, lasting for 12 hours, resulted in extensive disconnections for millions of Optus mobile and internet users throughout Australia. It also had a significant impact on critical segments of the country’s public transportation system, causing widespread inoperability. Additionally, the outage led to the failure of numerous emergency calls intended for police, ambulances, and firefighters.
In the aftermath of her appearance in a parliamentary inquiry investigating the disruption, Bayer Rosmarin faced mounting pressure to step down. The inquiry revealed that Optus, a subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications, lacked a specific contingency plan to address a comprehensive network breakdown. Furthermore, Bayer Rosmarin did not provide clear answers about her future during the inquiry. Her resignation signifies a significant development following the recent network failure, highlighting the growing challenges confronting the telecommunications giant in handling and preparing for such crises. Notably, this recent outage is not the first setback under Bayer Rosmarin’s leadership. In September, Optus experienced a cyberattack that potentially exposed customers’ personal and identifiable information, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. At that time, the company stated that it had successfully mitigated the attack and was collaborating with authorities to investigate the incident.
“In her statement, Bayer Rosmarin conveyed, ‘Although not everyone may be impacted, and our investigation is still ongoing, we want all our customers to be promptly informed about the situation so they can heighten their vigilance. We sincerely apologize and understand that customers will be understandably concerned.’ Optus specified that information such as customers’ names, dates of birth, phone numbers, and email addresses may have been exposed. However, the company reassured that payment details and account passwords remain uncompromised. The company also stated in a release that a subset of customers’ addresses and ID document numbers might have been exposed.”