MILLIONS of O2 customers are unable to use data services due to the network going down in the UK this morning.
Furious customers of the network, which has a total of 32million customers and is the second largest mobile network in the UK, have taken to social media to flag problems with 4G and data services.
It appears that the network issues started about 5.30am with around 1,662 complaints made before 7am, and customers across Manchester, London and Southampton have all reported outages.
But the issues have also spread beyond England to Scotland and Northern Ireland, a heat map by the Down Detector website shows.
The network, which is also used by customers with Tesco Mobile, GiffGaff, Sky Mobile and Lycamobile, has blamed the issue on a third party supplier, confirmed to be Ericsson.
At 3.30pm today, O2 told The Sun that it couldn’t yet say when the issues will be fixed.
O2’s latest statement says: “The network issue we are currently experiencing remains a top priority for us and we are working as quickly as possible to fix the issues.
“All O2 technical teams are working closely with one of our third party suppliers who has identified a global software issue in their system which has impacted data services.
“As a result of this incident, we are experiencing a high demand on our network which means some customers may have issues making and receiving voice calls.
“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience.”
O2 customers can check for updates on o2.uk/ServiceStatus.
Until it has been fixed, O2 says it “encourages our customers to use wifi wherever they can.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Ericsson told The Sun: “We are aware of the issue and are working together with our customers to solve it as soon as possible.”
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.
One 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.
Telecoms regulator Ofcom says in cases where you have been without service for some time, you may also have the right to cancel your contract penalty free.
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.
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.”
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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