Telecel’s mobile phone and Internet services functioned normally during the change-over to the Year 2000, with no effect on the standards of quality which the Company’s customers have come to expect.
The only communications difficulties detected, which were of a temporary and local nature, were due to the usual high level of traffic on New Year’s Eve, especially in areas where large numbers of customers were celebrating the New Year.
In order to ensure the normal operation and quality of its services, Telecel set up a team of 325 people, including 256 employees at its operations centres and 69 prevention personnel. The team, mainly drawn from members of the Network Operations, Information Systems, Customer Service, Infrastructure and General Services departments, amongst others, and spread across the Company’s various operations and maintenance centres, is on duty from 8 p.m. on 31 December until midnight on 2 January.
Teams of employees from the Company’s main computer and network equipment suppliers were on hand to assist in monitoring Telecel’s systems.
In addition, Telecel was in constant touch, from midday on 31 December, with companies of the Vodafone AirTouch Group via the “Information Hub” application (developed by the Group) in order to watch for any problems in the computer and network systems used by companies in the Group. Telecel also maintained contact with its principal systems suppliers and business partners, using “Early Warning” systems designed to provide constantly updated information on the situation in countries in other time zones, in order to anticipate possible problems.
As an additional security measure, specific Contingency Plans had been drawn up in advance to minimise the risk of failures caused by Year 2000 problems. In addition to these internal contingency plans, Telecel also prepared action plans for dealing with possible faults or interruptions of service in external organisations.
As far back as October 1997, Telecel began an exhaustive study of the problems that might be caused by the so-called “Year 2000 bug”. A multidisciplinary working group was set up, assisted by a team of consultants and working in collaboration with all departments of the company, with the task of ensuring normal operations during the change-over to the Year 2000. The definition of conformity used to ensure a consistent approach to suppliers, customers and partners was prepared on the basis of the definition published by the DISC (Delivering Information Solutions to Customers through International Standards) committee of the British Standards Institution (PD2000-1, A Definition of Year 2000 Conformity Requirements).
The costs involved in resolving the Year 2000 problem were related to replacing and testing Telecel systems, equipment and products, and external assistance and consultancy, plus internal costs. The total amount invested in the project came to around 650 million escudos (3.2 million euros) and reflects Telecel’s concern for the modernity and constant updating of its systems.