O2 Service Restored After Massive Data Outage

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30 million customers affected by technical fault that included O2, Tesco Mobile and Sky Mobile customers

Mobile operator O2 has recovered its data service after an outage meant that more than 30 million customers were unable to get online.

Customers of O2, Giffgaff, Tesco Mobile and Sky Mobile were hit by the outage on Thursday that also left many unable to make or receive phone calls. However the technical fault was fixed on Friday morning.

The problem is said to have affected O2’s 3G and 4G networks, and Swedish networking giant Ericsson later admitted that its software had caused the problem.

Faulty software

Indeed, so serious was the problem with Ericsson software that it affected mobile operators in 11 other countries around the world.

When the scale of the issue became apparent, O2 encouraged (via Twitter) its customers to use Wi-Fi whenever possible.

O2 then said that its 4G network was restored on Friday morning.

“Our technical teams will continue to monitor service performance closely and we’re starting the full review to understand what happened,” it said. “We are really sorry for the issues yesterday.”

This was backed up by a statement from O2’s boss.

“I want to let our customers know how sorry I am for the impact our network data issue has had on them, and reassure them that our teams, together with Ericsson, are doing everything we can,” said Mark Evans, CEO, Telefonica (O2) UK on Thursday.

“We will continue to work with Ericsson, through the night, who have assured us that a full service will be restored for customers by the morning,” he added. “We fully appreciate it’s been a poor experience and we are really sorry.”

According to Marielle Lindgren, CEO Ericsson UK & Ireland, the cause of the problem was in certain nodes in the core network “resulting in network disturbances for a limited number of customers across the world, including in the UK.”

“We have been working hard on resolving the UK data issue since early this morning,” said Lindgren. “The faulty software that has caused these issues is being decommissioned. Our priority is to restore full data services on the network by tomorrow morning. Ericsson sincerely apologises to customers for the inconvenience caused.”

Outage issues

Service outages have happened to most operators and tech firms over the years.

O2 had a major network outage in October that impacted customers across the UK, although that issue was fixed within 40 minutes.

But perhaps one of the most famous O2 outages was in December 2009 when O2’s network suffered a number of embarrassing network failures in London.

The operator was forced to admit at that time that the crash was caused by the data strain from the increasing use of smartphones.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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