ST ARNAUD residents were without Optus mobile phone coverage between Friday evening and Tuesday morning.
An Optus spokesman said customers lost 2G and 3G mobile services because of an air-conditioning failure at an Optus mobile site in St Arnaud. He said replacement parts were ordered when the matter was brought to the company's attention.
"An Optus engineer made repairs as soon as parts arrived early Tuesday morning," he said. "The mobile site is now operational and is taking calls and data traffic. We would like to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused."
St Arnaud resident Rebecca Kiffen said the lack of coverage was frustrating.
"I've had a few people say to me they couldn't get reception," she said. "The reception came in and out, but when I did manage to get a call, it would only last a couple of seconds. I use the internet on my phone, so I couldn't do my internet banking. I also had a few family members with birthdays over the weekend and I couldn't call them."
Miss Kiffen said it was the longest time she had been without coverage.
"It drops out occasionally but Optus usually gets it up and running again pretty quickly," she said.
Northern Grampians Shire Mayor Wayne Rice said while he had not received many complaints about the outage, improved mobile phone coverage was an important issue for the municipality.
"The Federal Government announced the other day it would invest $100 million to improve mobile phone coverage in regional and remote areas," he said.
Black spots in Halls Gap, Navarre, Banyena and Marnoo have been concerns for the shire.
"The other thing we need is for commonsense to prevail when we're talking about towers for the National Broadband Network," Cr Rice said. "The NBN is a political hot potato, depending on which party gets into office. Regardless, we need to make sure the telcos are allowed to hang their services off the same towers."
Cr Rice said while lack of coverage was merely an annoyance for some people, for others it could be the difference between life and death.
"People are saying with the NBN we're going to have the best telecommunications service and we're going to be able to contact the best brain surgeons in the world," he said.
"That's all well and good, but I'm concerned about farmers in the paddocks getting messages to the ambulance service when they're in trouble. What point is it being able to access world-class surgeons when, in some places, people can't even make a simple phone call?"
Cr Rice said the council would continue to lobby telecommunications companies to change their policies.
"Telstra's idea of minimum service delivery is to make sure everyone has a landline, but we think minimum service should be a mobile phone," he said.
"The phone companies are quick to embrace new technology, but when we ask them to say the minimum service is a mobile phone, they say we're trying to shift the goal posts.
"I don't think we are. I think their policy needs to keep up-to-date with the technology."