Telia Sonera loses millions of emails

According to an initial investigation by telecom giant Telia Sonera, a series of technical and administrative failures led to 300,000 customers losing emails in last week’s server crash.

Telia Sonera loses millions of emails

Trouble with the servers was first detected on December 15th, but went undetected because the person responsible for checking computer logs left the post on December 14th and wasn’t replaced. As a result, no one saw what was happening and no back-up was performed before the crash.

Server crashes are not uncommon in the industry and are usually not that serious if a well-functioning back-up system is in place. But Telia Sonera’s systems failed in this case, resulting in the permanent loss of approximately 1.9 million emails.

“It is a failure on our side. This should not happen, but it has happened. Now we have changed our routines so that another person is responsible for checking the screen logs,” said Erik Hallberg, head of Telia Sonera’s broadband services.

On Tuesday, the company sent out an email to the 300,000 customers affected by the crash explaining what happened. Customers have also had a chance to share their point of view on the matter. Judging by reactions thus far, many customers are extremely upset.

“I’ve set up an extra customer service center with 50 people in order to go through the emails we’ve received. In this way I’ve also provided a chance to begin a dialogue about the damages and see what more we can do,” said Hallberg.

At this point, Telia Sonera has promised to send affected customers a gift certificate worth 200 kronor and only redeemable at the company’s retail outlets. Hallberg cannot promise that customers wishing to break their contracts with Telia Sonera will be able to do so.

“We will do all that we can to make an unsatisfied customer satisfied. That is our responsibility,” he said.


‘Rotten’ business claims at Nordic TeliaSonera

Swedish-Finnish telecom operator TeliaSonera has been accused of “rotten” business dealings in Azerbaijan, following a separate bribery scandal in Uzbekistan.

'Rotten’ business claims at Nordic TeliaSonera
A TeliaSonera conference in Stockholm last year. Photo: TT

Folksam, which is one of the largest insurance companies in Sweden, has accused the firm of “systematic cheating”, after it emerged that TeliaSonera’s subsidiary in Azerbaijan had ties with the family of Ilham Aliyev, the Arab nation’s leader.

It has been claimed that the dictator’s daughters were shareholders of TeliaSonera's subsidiary Azertel, via a connected company based in Panama.

“It is distressing that in a large Swedish company…people thought that cheating would pay off in the long run,” Carina Lundberg Markow, one of Folksam’s managers told the TT news agency on Wednesday.

She criticized TeliaSonera for failing to act “in an honest and open way” when entering new markets.

“Instead, they choose to pay for success,” she added.

TeliaSonera is one of the biggest telecom operators in the Nordic and Baltic countries and also operates in several emerging markets in Eurasia including Russia and Turkey, as well as Spain. The Swedish state owns 37.3 percent of the company.

Swedish prosecutor Gunnar Stetler is already investigating claims of unethical business practices in Uzbekistan and told TT he had also been given new information concerning potential bribery in Azerbaijan.

The company has voluntarily cooperated with the investigation, handing over what Stetler describes as “extensive information” about “the terms and conditions in Eurasian countries”.

Stetler said he was unable to discuss how he had responded to the information. But calls are growing for TeliaSonera to release a public report about its business dealings.

“Now it is extremely important to create transparency,” said Lundberg Markow.

“This shows the importance of having a set of values when doing business in complex markets or countries,” she added.

TeliaSonera and Norwegian rival Telenor recently merged their operations in Denmark, while the telecoms giant last year purchased rival Tele2's Norwegian division for 5.1 kronor.