The first problem to strike New Zealand on January 1 2000 was the cellular phone network overloading.
“We took a real hit between midnight and about ten minutes past, but that’s settled back down again now,” says Vodafone New Zealand’s communications manager, Mark Champion.
“There are some areas of congestion, but overall the network is holding up well.”
Over at Telecom the problem was also localised.
“We had the usual surge around midnight, mostly with overseas calls, but everything seems to be coping well,” says a Telecom spokeswoman.
The main problem areas seem to be associated with overseas calls but also calls to and from the Wellington area. Vodafone has recently completed an upgrade of its cell sites around the country to help alleviate just this sort of congestion.
Although not a Y2K problem, this overloading of the cellphone system is one of the anticipated side effects of both the millennium celebrations and Y2K itself. Most companies in New Zealand will be relying on their cellphones as part of any contingency plan and a prolonged outage could exacerbate any problems that arise.