I called my wife a while ago because my dentist appointment got screwed up and I wanted her to help fix it and she told me everyone in her office was flipping out because the entire network of Vodafone Spain (which was called Airtel until just recently) was down. Wow. That's pretty amazing.
Here's an article in Spanish about it in El Mundo (Google Translation). Vodafone is saying that some parts of Spain are coming back up now - Galicia and Catalonia supposedly - but as of right now in Madrid we're still not getting a signal. According to the article, 8 million people are without service. Since Spain only has 40 million population, that's quite the percentage of mobile phone users here.
The Google translation isn't the most wonderful: basically the article says that they were doing regular maintenance and tried to upgrade some software on an Ericsson node - which I assume is a main switch - on a trunk line and when it failed, that caused a domino effect throughout the system. They've been out since 7 a.m. and are still out. The article says they'll send an SMS message out to everyone to appologize when the network's back up. I'm on Telefonica (I never thought I'd say this: "thankfully"), but no one here in the office has gotten a message. I bought the 5 Vodafone "loaners" we have for when the Americans come and now none work. Good job, Russ. Urgh.
My boss was very funny. He's roaming on his own phone from the U.S. so he was able to switch another carrier by choosing "manual" on his phone. I didn't realize this was possible. When I explained to him what I read in the article, he said, "That guy doesn't have a job any more." Then we both looked at eachother and paused. "Well, maybe here in Spain, he does."