Major fault hits France's phone network

Telecoms giant Orange says it is working to restore the network as quickly as possible'

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A major telephone fault on Monday has prevented tens of thousands of customers of France's big four telecoms companies from contacting friends and family who are clients of another telephone operator.

Orange has said that it is doing "everything to restore the networks as quickly as possible" to correct the problem - which has been traced to its network interchanges - but has not given a timescale for when services will be back to normal.

Since mid-morning, tens of thousands of fixed and mobile subscribers have struggled to make calls to anyone using another operator's service. Orange has been worst-hit by the outage, but Bouygues, Free and SFR clients have also been affected.

The fault has come in two waves, Le Monde reports. The first occurred at 9.50am on Monday and was fixed at 12.20pm. But the network was hit by a second breakdown at 2pm.

Some calls have connected, but thousands have not - while those that do have suffered from poor quality connections, it has been reported.

Calls between customers using the same phone operator, or virtual operators such as La Poste mobile and M6 mobile which piggyback big four services, are still connecting.

Free said told Le Monde on Monday afternoon that it had been indirectly affected, while Bouygues Telecom took to Twitter to inform customers it was working to fix a "network failure", and SFR described the situation as "improving".

According to the Downdetector site, which lists the technical problems of various networks in real time, the blackout reached its peak shortly after 10am.

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