O2 apologises for mobile service outage

Many customers were unable to receive or make calls or texts or access data services on Friday

O2 has come under renewed criticsm after millions of customers were left without service because of technical problems.

The company apologised for the connection issues, which affected up to 10% of its 23 million customers, who were unable to receive or make calls or texts or access data services on Friday.

O2 said the problem was fixed on Friday afternoon. But some customers were still complaining of problems with their service on Saturday morning.

The campaigner and writer Jemima Khan said on Twitter: “Despite claims from O2 that they’ve fixed the problem, many still reporting no service at all (inc me) 22 hours and counting.”

An O2 press spokesman said: “The problem was fixed at around 3.30pm on Friday. Then there was the backlog of getting customers back on the network, which took longer than expected. If they still haven’t got coverage, we’re recommending that they switch their phone off then back on again. When the phone is switched on its sends a signal to the [nearest] base station to register to the network.”

He said more information, including a Q&A on the problem, could be found on O2’s website. He said the company had also been providing updates via Twitter and Facebook.

The company said it was working to find the cause of the glitch, but stressed that it was not the same technical fault that led to widespread connection issues in July. That problem left hundreds of thousands of customers with a 24-hour service outage. O2 said the disruption was caused by a fault in one of its systems that meant some mobile phone numbers did not register correctly on its network. Its website crashed intermittently from the volume of visitors looking for updates.

The company also suffered a “rare” problem on Thursday with its 2G service in north-west Scotland. Asked whether the company would provide any compensation to customers, it said its “first priority was to get customers back up and in service”, which would be followed by a full investigation.

O2 is the UK’s second-biggest mobile network and provides services to customers of Tesco Mobile and giffgaff, who were also affected by the prolonged disruption. According to complaints data compiled by the telecoms regulator Ofcom, O2 was the least complained-about mobile network in the first quarter of 2012.

Jo Adetunji

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