Cellular phone network of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited was thrown out of gear in the Tiruchi Secondary Switching Area for several hours on Tuesday morning, sparking a furore among its subscribers.

The BSNL network catering to the city and its surrounding areas is said to have crashed in the early hours of the day, with its customers waking up to discover that they did not have access to mobile communication.

Customers were also not able to send or receive text messages.

Over three lakh subscribers in and around Tiruchi were said to have been hit. With a large number of government officials and employees using the public sector major’s network, the crash very nearly led to a communication breakdown among official circles.

However, the landline services of BSNL were working as usual.

Some subscribers thronged the Customer Service Centre of the BSNL near the Head Post Office seeking information on the cause of the crash and when the service would be restored. A couple of policemen were posted at the premises as a precautionary measure.

A senior official of the BSNL attributed the problem to a technical glitch without elaborating further and said that the service was gradually restored from 11 a.m.

Sources said it was a technical problem at the mobile telephone switching office that caused the crash.