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O2 services restored after millions hit by technical fault



O2 customers complain they are still without data as UK’s second biggest mobile firm says its 4G services are back online after up to 32m users were hit by a total data blackout lasting almost 24 hours

  • O2 customers not able to use data for most of the day and night on Thursday 
  • Up to 32million people in the UK who rely on their phones were impacted
  • Other mobile networks, including Sky, Tesco and Giffgaff, were also affected
  • Outage was blamed on failure in systems by O2 supplier, Swedish firm Ericsson 
  • Are you still experiencing problems with o2? Email zoie.o'brien@mailonline.co.uk

By Zoie O'brien For Mailonline

Published: 23:13 EST, 6 December 2018 | Updated: 04:19 EST, 7 December 2018

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Mobile network O2 has said its services have been restored after a technical fault left up to 32 million of customers unable to get online, causing chaos for customers across the country.

Taxi drivers were unable to get on the roads, emails could not be sent and some frustrated parents were unable to monitor their children's illnesses as the blackout covered the network.

Customers reported not being able to access the internet or send messages on Thursday after disruption began at about 5am.  

However, some customers said they are still without service and urged O2 to 'check again' as the company claimed it was business as usual.

Customers in East Kilbride and Kirkcaldy, Scotland, Brampton in Cumbria and Leeds have reported being unable to use their phones without being connected to Wifi networks. 

On Thursday, some people said they were unable to monitor serious medical conditions. 

Jennie O'Grady is one such customer for whom yesterday's outage brought about immense stress and difficulty.

Jennie O’Grady (left), 39, from Glossop, Derbyshire was left unable to monitor her type-1 diabetic daughter Esme’s (right) blood glucose levels
Jennie O’Grady (left), 39, from Glossop, Derbyshire was left unable to monitor her type-1 diabetic daughter Esme’s (right) blood glucose levels

Jennie O'Grady (left), 39, from Glossop, Derbyshire was left unable to monitor her type-1 diabetic daughter Esme's (right) blood glucose levels

She relies on her phone to monitor her type-1 diabetic daughter Esme's blood glucose levels.

Esme's phone links to a continuous glucose monitor that sends information to her mother's phone to tell her if Esme's blood sugar levels are dangerously high or low.

But yesterday, after Esme, 12, caught the bus to school and left her house's wifi signal, Mrs O'Grady, from Glossop, Derbyshire, was unable to track the potentially life-saving data.

O2 has said it is services have been restored across the country but customers told the network provider they still cannot make calls or texts
O2 has said it is services have been restored across the country but customers told the network provider they still cannot make calls or texts

O2 has said it is services have been restored across the country but customers told the network provider they still cannot make calls or texts

The mother-of-three, 39, said: 'We rely massively on her having internet access. She can be sleeping in her bedroom and it is sending me her blood sugar levels.

Everything you need to know about the O2 outage: Question and answer  

When did the network problem start?

The first reports of a loss of access to 4G data services on the mobile network appeared on social media at 4.50am.

Who was affected?

Some 25million customers signed to the O2 network, plus another 7million with Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile, GiffGaff and Lycamobile, which offer services over the same system.

What services were lost?

Access to the internet, emails and apps such as Google maps over the mobile network were lost. Some customers also reported smartphone payments were interrupted. Electronic bus timetable updates on London bus shelters failed.

What about voice calls?

Voice calls continued operating initially. However as more phone owners resorted to making calls rather than sending emails, customers found the system straining under pressure.

What was the cause?

O2 blames software systems operated by the Swedish tech giant Ericsson as part of a global failure that also hit Japan.

Are customers owed compensation?

When customers experienced a seven-hour blackout in 2015, O2 said it would not be offering compensation because of the 'length and effect of the incident'. It is not clear whether it will offer payouts in this case.

'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.' 

Other users described how they lost income because of the outage. 

Among them was Luke Stagg, a heating engineer and plumber, said he has been unable to reach several customers due to the outage.

Last night he said he had difficulty running his business because he was unable to contact customers while on the road or use sat nav. 

The 36-year-old, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, uses his phone's data to find addresses on his map and says he runs his business through his mobile. He said: 'I will take it on the chin, but no-one is going to pay for my losses today.' 

'That's a whole day wasted,' he said. 'I'll be seeking to recoup my losses, especially as a business customer.'    

Amy-Jayne Toulson, a cleaner from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, suffers from epilepsy and has a watch that monitors for seizures and connects to her mobile phone – sending a message to her caregivers if she has a seizure.

The 30-year-old said: 'For people who use their phone like I use it, your mobile phone is your lifeline.'      

On Thursday evening, O2 said 3G data service had started returning and was expected to be fully restored by 9.30pm, while the company reported at 3.30am on Friday that the 4G network had been restored.

The company said it would be closely monitoring data services over the coming days and promised to carry out a review to understand what went wrong. 

Meanwhile, Luke Stagg (pictured), a heating engineer and plumber, said he has been unable to reach several customers due to the outage
Meanwhile, Luke Stagg (pictured), a heating engineer and plumber, said he has been unable to reach several customers due to the outage
Amy-Jayne Toulson (pictured), a cleaner from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, suffers from epilepsy and has a watch that monitors for seizures and connects to her mobile phone – sending a message to her caregivers if she has a seizure
Amy-Jayne Toulson (pictured), a cleaner from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, suffers from epilepsy and has a watch that monitors for seizures and connects to her mobile phone – sending a message to her caregivers if she has a seizure

Meanwhile, Luke Stagg (left), a heating engineer and plumber, said he has been unable to reach several customers due to the outage. And Amy-Jayne Toulson (right), a cleaner from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, suffers from epilepsy and has a watch that monitors for seizures and connects to her mobile phone – sending a message to her caregivers if she has a seizure

'Our technical teams will continue to monitor service performance closely over the next few days to ensure we remain stable,' a spokesman said.

'A review will be carried out with Ericsson to understand fully what happened.

'We'd like to thank our customers for their patience during the loss of service on Thursday 6 December and we're sorry for any impact the issue may have caused.'

Early on Friday customers said O2 was wrong about being back online.

One said: 'Still cant text or call, it's clearly not 'fully restored'. 

Emma Martin added: 'I still have no signal! But yet it says it’s restored in my area.'

Lauren Debenham said: 'So O2 saying services are now restored 'but how comes I’m still unable to text?!? This is ridiculous now.'

The company had earlier issued a joint apology with telecoms company Ericsson.

O2 UK chief executive 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.

'We fully appreciate it's been a poor experience and we are really sorry.'

O2, which has more than 25 million UK customers, saw disruption to its network last for most of the day on Thursday.

Other mobile networks, including Sky, Tesco and Giffgaff, were also affected by the problem because their networks use O2 services.

Marielle Lindgren, chief executive of Ericsson UK and Ireland, said: 'The faulty software that has caused these issues is being decommissioned.'

She added: 'Ericsson sincerely apologises to customers for the inconvenience caused.'

How to complain and claim compensation 

There are a number of options available to you should you wish to complain about the outage today.

The best way, according to consumer expert Helen Dewdney - who writes a blog called The Complaining Cow - is to do it in writing.

She argues that gives you a record of your complaint.

02 can be contacted by email or post here:   

Post

O2 Complaints Review Service, PO BOX 694, Winchester, SO23 5AP

Email

complaintreviewservice@o2.com

You are entitled to a full refund for the time you were unable to use your phone, writes Ms Dewdney.

This is according to the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which says that services should be 'carried out with reasonable skill and care'.

 

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