Subscribers of Pelephone, Hot Mobile and Rami Levi cellular service was off the air on Sunday night the eve of 24 Shevat 5773 between 19:00-23:00. The outage impacted 2.9 million Pelephone subscribers, 400,000 Hot Mobile subscribers and tens of thousands of Rami Levi subscribers. The outrage was total, including SMS text messaging, WhatsApp and iMessage.
The rumors spread quickly, and many believed the system outage was the result of a cyber attack, which Pelephone officials’ state was not the case. Officials announced they were probing the cause of the outage, admittedly uncertain if it was a computer glitch or possible human error. Pelephone experienced a similar system outage in December 2010.
The IDF, Shin Bet and National Cyber Unit also became involved towards determining if the outage was the result of cyber terrorism.
Pelephone CEO Gil Sharon held a makeshift press conference at 23:00, explaining at 22:40 the cause of the service outage was discovered.
The outage had a major impact on the first day of coalition talks as most cabinet ministers and their staff are connected to the Pelephone Company system.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)