(Adds company statement, details, CEO comments)
July 9 (Reuters) - Rogers Communications said on Saturday that its services were close to fully operational after a massive outage it blamed on a router malfunction after maintenance work.
The outage at one of Canada's biggest telecom operators shut banking, transport and government access for millions of people.
"We now believe we’ve narrowed the cause to a network system failure following a maintenance update in our core network, which caused some of our routers to malfunction early Friday morning," Rogers' Chief Executive Officer Tony Staffieri said in a statement.
Canadians crowded into cafes and public libraries that still had internet access and hovered outside hotels to catch a signal on Friday. The country's border services agency said the outage affected its mobile app for incoming travelers while cashless payment systems stopped working. Police across Canada said some callers could not reach emergency services via 911 calls.
The interruption, Rogers' second in 15 months, drew fury from Canadians and calls for the government to expand competition in the telecom sector.
With about 10 million wireless subscribers and 2.25 million retail internet subscribers, Rogers is the top provider in Ontario, Canada's most populous province and home to its biggest city, Toronto. Rogers, BCE Inc and Telus Corp control 90% of the market share in Canada.
Financial institutions and banks, including Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank Of Montreal, said on Friday that the outage disrupted their services. Royal Bank of Canada said its ATMs and online banking services were affected.
In the statement, Staffieri said the company would "proactively" credit customers affected on Friday and invest in its network and technology.
Last year, Rogers attributed a major outage on a glitch linked to an Ericsson software upgrade.
Ericsson said on Saturday that it was aware of the outage and was in regular communication with the company to restore service.
Critics said the outage demonstrated a need for more competition in telecoms, adding to the criticism over the company's industrial dominance.
Earlier this year, Canada's competition bureau blocked Rogers' attempt to take over rival Shaw Communications in a C$20 billion deal, saying it would hamper competition in a country where telecom rates are some of the world's highest. The merger still awaits a final verdict. (Reporting by Akanksha Khushi in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Editing by Alison Williams, Diane Craft and Chris Reese)