MILLIONS of furious O2 customers have endured a day without data services after the network crashed leaving some unable to work and others fearing for the safety of their loved ones.
O2, Britain’s second largest mobile company, said 3G was restored on mobile devices by 9.30pm on Thursday – but the network nightmare continued to affect 4G as bosses promised to fix the faults by this morning.
The O2 network went down in the UK this morningPA:Press AssociationOutraged customers of O2, which has a total of 32million users, took to social media to flag problems with 4G, data services and phone calls.
The network issues started about 5.30am yesterday with around 1,662 complaints made before 7am, and customers across Manchester, London and Southampton have all reported outages.
But the issues also spread beyond England to Scotland and Northern Ireland, a recent heat map by the Down Detector shows.
The latest update from O2 this morning said 4G would be back online by 3am.
Company bosses had earlier apologised for the outage and promised services would be up and running by the morning.
The network, which is also used by customers with Tesco Mobile, GiffGaff, Sky Mobile and Lycamobile, has blamed the issue on faulty software provided by third party supplier Ericsson.
The Swedish company has also issued a statement saying it believes the issue was caused because by “an expired certificate in the software” installed with O2.
The O2 outage has affected customers across large parts of the UKDowndetectorO2 and Ericsson bosses tonight issued a joint apologies in statements provided to The Sun.
Telefonica CEO Mark Evans said: “I want to let our customers know how sorry I am for the impact our network data issue has had on them, and reassure them that our teams, together with Ericsson, are doing everything we can.
“We will continue to work with Ericsson, through the night, who have assured us that a full service will be restored for customers by the morning. We fully appreciate it’s been a poor experience and we are really sorry.”
The mobile company were forced to advise customers “to use wifi wherever they can” until services were fully restored.
A recent statement from the network said: “Our technical teams have started to return our 4G service to our network. We anticipate this will be restored by 3am this morning meaning all our services will be fully restored.”
Marielle Lindgren, UK and Ireland Ericsson CEO, said: “The cause of today’s network issue is in certain nodes in the core network resulting in network disturbances for a limited number of customers across the world, including in the UK.
“The faulty software that has caused these issues is being decommissioned. Our priority is to restore full data services on the network by tomorrow morning. Ericsson sincerely apologises to customers for the inconvenience caused.”
Apart from customers with O2, Tesco Mobile, GiffGaff, Sky Mobile and Lycamobile, the outage has also affected systems relying on the same network such as the electronic timetables for London’s buses and Boris Bikes due to their O2 sim connections.
The system fault brought particular stress and difficutly for Jennie O’Grady as she used O2 data to monitor her type-1 diabetic daughter’s blood sugar levels.
She told the Daily Mail:”We rely massively on her having internet access. She can be sleeping in her bedroom and it is sending me her blood sugar levels.
“I would get an alarm to say she is having a hypoglycaemic attack if her blood sugar levels dropped below four, which would mean she need treatment immediately and could go into a coma.
“Without it I have been completely clueless and I have not been able to check on her.”
Another frustrated O2 customer wrote: “My data is not working neither are my calls. Not connecting and earlier I had no signal at all for about 45 minutes.”
Another added: “Oh great, O2 data network down”.
A third said: “Can I assume there’s a widespread issue with o2 mobile data. Everyone’s off around the country.”
Another pointed out the irony of the company’s response, saying: “Me: My internet isn’t working
“@O2 : that’s ok, check our website for updates”
GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile, Lycamobile all “piggyback” on O2’s network, meaning the O2 outage has affected their customers too.
Piggybacking is really common among mobile networks in the UK.
In fact, there are only four UK mobile networks – EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone – and all the other providers piggyback – ie, buy space from – one of these networks.
Tesco, GiffGaff, Sky Mobile and Lycamobile are on O2, Asda is on EE and TalkMobile is on Vodafone.
Your rights when your network goes down
WHEN your network goes down, it’s your mobile provider’s responsibility to fix the problem.
If you feel the outage caused you significant problems or you waited a long time for the repairs to take place, it’s worth complaining and asking for a refund on your bill or compensation.
To complain, you need to follow your provider’s formal complaints procedure. Details should be available on its website or from its customer services.
If your problem is still unresolved after eight weeks you can submit your complaint to an independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.
Ofcom has approved two ADR schemes – CISAS and Ombudsman Services: Communications.
Your provider will tell you which scheme it is a member of.
As news of the outage spread, Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at uSwitch, told The Sun:
“O2 users affected by this mobile data outage will understandably be concerned and frustrated.
“While it’s positive that voice calls are still up and running, without a projected timeframe for a fix, this is likely a worrying situation for a large proportion of O2’s some 32 million UK customers.
“Customers who are suffering can keep a track of this incident using O2’s own network status checker and ask the provider to keep them posted.
“In the meantime, O2 customers can still place and receive calls, but will have to resort to using WIFI if they want to get online.
“For the millions of users who are out and about and rely on smartphone maps to get around, it’s worth considering that apps like Google Maps allow customers to download maps on WIFI and view them offline.
“With little idea of when this problem will be sorted, it’s worth preparing before heading out to make sure you’re not caught out by this data downtime.”
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O2 customers mock mobile network over 4G data outage
It’s not the first time O2’s network has experienced issues.
In October, the mobile network was down leaving thousands of customers unable to make or receive calls.
It also happened in September, as both Sky and O2 mobile networks were down due to Storm Ali.
Meanwhile, EE and Vodafone are being investigated by the watchdog over claims that they gave false information about network coverage in rural areas.
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