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O2: Fail, fail and fail again

It’s been a bit of a bad week for O2 and their UK network.

On Monday a fire at an unnamed substation took out a whole load of cell sites across London.

On Tuesday it managed to break the whole data network for the majority of customers. Not just 3G but GPRS too. In fact the only thing they didn’t apparently break to do with data was iPhone public Wi-Fi access – but that’s thankfully a completely different kettle of fish.

The Register initially reported the problem was only affecting users in the London area, but as the day went on the problem crept across the rest of the UK, leaving owners of iPhones fretting and hunting a working Cloud Wi-Fi access point. The next day, O2 admitted it was a ‘misconfigured DHCP server’. Just the one? That’s a little careless, having a single point of failure and all. Or did they make a change to all of them simultaneously and break the whole damn lot?

So it’s now Friday. Data on O2 is apparently fixed – but now they’ve totally gone and broken roaming. Since about 10pm last night (Thursday), customers roaming in certain countries have experienced issues registering on foreign networks, making calls, using data, sending and receiving texts – in fact pretty much everything seems to have stopped working (with the exception of using your mobile as the world’s most expensive torch).

About an hour ago, O2 slid out this rather vague statement:

We are aware of an issue currently affecting customers who are roaming in certain countries.

We have identified the cause of the problem and are applying a fix which we hope will restore service for these affected customers as soon as possible.

We are very sorry for this loss of service. We will post further updates as soon as we have them.

Which is nice, but not exactly helpful. What’s the time to fix? If the claims that this problem started at 10pm last night, how come it took until gone 4pm this afternoon to make a statement? In a bizarre case of deja-vu from yesterday – when SpinVox took the best part of a day to comment on the whole ‘call centre sweat shop’ debacle – again we have a rather late terse statement. Admittedly this one says ‘we’re sorry’, but it’s still not much use to anyone who is reliant on their mobile whilst travelling and can’t get a peek out of it.

UPDATE: A little glance through Twitter reveals more problems today. Zeetha in Brighton can’t make or receive calls, ats2040 can’t make or receive calls nor send texts in Glasgow, and woolnough has had ‘no service’ on his iPhone for most of the day in Newbury. That’s three quite geographical diverse locations, and three rather large failures.

Are you having problems on O2? Pop a comment below – it probably won’t get it fixed any faster but it’s always good to whinge 🙂

UPDATE FRIDAY 9.10PM:

Some more from O2:

There continue to be network issues affecting some customers roaming internationally and a small proportion of UK-based customers.

The issue relates to how call traffic is being routed and we are working as quickly as we can with our network technology suppliers to re-route traffic and restore services.

We will post further updates as soon as we have them and can only apologise again for the inconvenience this is causing to customers.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Hmmm. Been having trouble with MMS messages on O2 actually, as has the other halves mother.. Hmm wonder if that's been part of the screw up?

    K

  2. I think its a bigger problem than just roaming. I've just done a quick search through Twitter, seems quite a few people in the UK are having issues with voice and SMS. Have updated the article with some links. Have you had any problems with voice calls, SMS or non-MMS data today?

  3. Well, I've had no signal since about 12pm this afternoon, just got off the phone with O2 and they have no estimate when it will be fixed 🙁 but at least they are admitting that its a known fault!

    I'm starting to wonder if O2 was really the right way to go…

  4. Im out in the USA, the service went off at 10pm UK Time last night and is still not back, I am livid, I've missed two customer meetings, and am 30 mins off being 24 hours without service.

    the only positive is that I didnt get woken up by people calling me in the middle of the night!!!!

    J

  5. No phone service nor even partial GPRS using O2 phones in the US in Philadelphia nor Memphis since last night, not good at all.

  6. In Sheffield, since about 1pm I've had a signal for about 5 or 10 minutes. No SMS, no voice- dunno about 3G as I'm connected to a wireless network.

    I am quite annoyed.

  7. I'm in London. Been out of service for phone and text since 5pm, though intermittent all day. Wifi is working.

    Will check here for updates. Thanks much.
    -m

  8. There was an internal message Friday morning regarding both incoming and outgoing calls being affected throughout the country, not just roaming. Couldnt tell you why they didnt tell the public more than “er we know its broke, soz”.

    If you do phone in, please be nice! It's been one hell of a week for us poor call centre staff!!! To save you a bit of time for those who are still having the problem, here is the checklist of things to do first. We would only ask you to do the same if you call in so this would save you having to call back.

    1. Phone off and back on (duh)
    2. Sim card out and clean it
    3. Have a think about your bills, any chance they could be overdue?
    4. Try your sim in another handset
    5. Try another sim in your handset (determines a handset or sim issue)

    Once you've done all that and if the problem is still ongoing, phone in and let us know what you have done.

    Hope this helps.

  9. I could neither receive nor make calls, receive nor send SMS between about 4.30PM on Friday till about 8pm when I got a rush of messages. Was massively annoying as I was the key point in a group of my friends getting together. Other half, who also has a iPhone on O2, had no problems though; making it all the more annoying for me. I tried the off and on thing but left the SIM check till I got home (didn't have the pin to push the SIM tray out); obviously didn't need to try the SIM change in the end as service returned as if by magic.

  10. I could neither receive nor make calls, receive nor send SMS between about 4.30PM on Friday till about 8pm when I got a rush of messages. Was massively annoying as I was the key point in a group of my friends getting together. Other half, who also has a iPhone on O2, had no problems though; making it all the more annoying for me. I tried the off and on thing but left the SIM check till I got home (didn't have the pin to push the SIM tray out); obviously didn't need to try the SIM change in the end as service returned as if by magic.

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