O2 To Remove Ericsson Database After Service Outage

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined
as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Operator decided to get rid of the database after it caused two major service disruptions in four months

O2 has promised to stop using the Ericsson central user database which is blamed not only for the service disruption that occurred last Friday, but also a previous outage in July.

Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer of the network, said that the network faults were “unsatisfactory” and he hopes that the measure will be enough to restore trust in the company.

The removal of the database will cost O2 £10 million. The operator has also pledged to improve customer support following the outage.

O2 Outage Fallout

“Two network faults in a short space of time is unsatisfactory. We took important steps with our supplier after the outage in July to prevent a similar fault happening again, and while this issue was not on the same scale, it did impact our customers,” said McManus. “Despite industry-leading technology and major investment in our network, we recognise we need to take immediate action to address this specific problem.”

“We are removing the Central User Database provided by one of our suppliers, which has suffered two different faults in the last few months,” he added. “We are not prepared to risk this happening to our customers for a third time and are implementing a proven alternative solution.”

The most recent fault occurred around lunchtime on Friday and although a fix was found by around 3.30pm, disruption continued as the network was working to clear the backlog of traffic.

Angry Customers

Customers were incensed by the second failure in a few months, but even more so by the decision not to award them any compensation.

Some complained of missed arrangements and the inability to contact friends and family during the outage. Small business owners were also infuriated, claiming that they had suffered financially due to lost business. Many threatened to leave the network as soon as possible, voicing concerns about O2’s reliability.

McManus said that in order to win back trust, the company will be making improvements to its service experience team ahead of the launch of O2’s 4G network. He also revealed that the team performance will now be measured on customers’ confidence in the company.

“While we recognise that we have dented the confidence and trust of some of our customers, I hope this plan will demonstrate our commitment to rebuilding that trust,” he said. “We will not rest until we have cemented the stability of our network and can deliver the level of service customers have come to expect of us over the last ten years.”

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