THOUSANDS of O2 customers are still unable to use data services after the network went down in the UK today – but network bosses promised to fix technical faults by tomorrow morning.
Furious O2 customers, 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, data services and phone calls.
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 recent heat map by the Down Detector shows.
The latest update was from 02 bosses this evening. They apologised for the outage and promised services would be up and running by the tomorrow morning.
The network, which is also used by customers with Tesco Mobile, GiffGaff, Sky Mobile and Lycamobile, has blamed the issue on faulty software provided by third party supplier Ericsson.
The Swedish company has also issued a statement saying it believes the issue was caused because by “an expired certificate in the software” installed with O2.
O2 and Ericsson bosses tonight issued a joint apologies in statements provided to The Sun.
Telefonica CEO 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, and reassure them that our teams, together with Ericsson, are doing everything we can.
“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. We fully appreciate it’s been a poor experience and we are really sorry.”
O2 customers can check for updates on O2.uk/ServiceStatus.
Until the issues have been fixed, O2 also encourages customers “to use wifi wherever they can.”
Marielle Lindgren, UK and Ireland Ericsson CEO, said: “The cause of today’s network issue is 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.
“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.”
Mark Evans, CEO of O2’s owner Telefónica, has also tweeted that the company is “working really hard with Ericsson to find a swift resolution”.
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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