back to article O2 leaves travellers in the lurch

A mere day after cutting data access for domestic users, O2 has managed to leave those customers travelling abroad without even a voice service to keep them connected. The problem surfaced last night, and doesn't seem to be affecting all users, though some are reporting they've been cut off from voice and data connectivity …


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  1. Lloyd


    I thought you meant that O2 had left some dreadlocked soap dodgers out in the cold, now I see what you mean.

  2. Antony 2
    Paris Hilton

    o2 are really having a hard time

    I just upgraded my handset and they sent the wrong phone, looks like they're really going to the dogs now.

    Paris, because she wouldn't loose her blackberry.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK problems today as well

    There are UK voice and SMS outages today as well - and having just spoken to O2 they don't really know much about them other than that they're their and that they hope to have them fixed soon. Hugely unimpressive service.

  4. Paul Eagles
    Thumb Down

    Customer services gone AWOL

    They're really having a torrid time of it and to make things worse I get a 'number does not exist' message when I try to call them ( on 2302) from my iPhone.

    Still at least their customer service are efficient when you get through to someone. Oh no, wait, they're not.

  5. williamt

    Mobile network status updates

    Is there in fact, *any* UK or European phone network that provides an up to date, informative network status page or a press office that releases statements quicker than 24 hours after the event which actually good beyond "we have a problem affecting a small number of people [it's always a small number of people] which has now been resolved"? I'm guessing not.

  6. timbutnice
    Thumb Down

    My voice service has gone too

    Sitting next to someone with full coverage, same phone type, I've got none. Helpdesk apologetic but no real help "we don't know what the problem is or when it will be fixed".

    Good job I'm a sociopath

  7. Buzzby

    Grand O2 Customer Service

    I was a telecoms network techy for 41 years. AT home my mob ofton fails to make/receive calls. Anywhere else my mob works 100%, no problems ever.

    There ia a large cell station on the roof of the block of flats where I live. I reckon that there is a faulty 64kb timeslot in the microwave link link to their main net. One time I tried over 40 times to originate a call.

    All I get from customer services is return the phone! What a load of crap. I tell them it is a network fault but they will not accept that.

    Perhaps if I post this on enough sites somebody at O2 will eventually wake up to this network problem but I wont hold my breath.

  8. Wellard
    Thumb Up

    That explains everything!

    Currently abroad in Canada. I wondered why my voice service stopped working last night! Thanks again El Reg, I thought it was my phone! (thank goodness it isn't)

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Lost in Paris

    I am currently in Paris on my O2 iPhone, and can confirm that I have mostly "No Service" with occasional intermittent "3G" (no network name!)

    A heavy texter and internet user, I have received a total of one text whilst I have been here, cannot make or receive calls ("Call Failed") and can only get internet access via the Hotel's free wifi!

    As soon as this O2 iPhone monopoly ends I'll be off to Orange or basically anyone else..

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Yup problems not roaming

    For the last hour had no voice but perfect 3g. Exact opposite to last time!

  11. 3G
    Thumb Down


    I'm so glad I unlocked my iphone and have it on a network that is reliable and has better 3g coverage too.

    I've never seen the attraction of O2. I tried their PAYG once and got bombarded with network texts and silly gimmicks. I decided then that it wasn't the network for me.

  12. Mark61
    Thumb Down

    Data was down abroad too

    Data roaming was also taken down by the outage earlier this week, so that will have lost O2 a pretty penny too. Whole thing stinks of incompetence.

  13. Lawrence 7

    Silent in Sweden

    No access to any network in sweden, Im completely without communication, apart from this here interweb: To make things triple difficult, my Swedish work mobile has gone AWOL, and my skype account has been blocked for an unknown reason.

    If I was mental i'd definitely be on a paranoia trip right now.

  14. Jeff Bradshaw

    20 hours so far

    I've been unable to connect for 20 hours so far, this is terrible, im thinking about jailbreaking and unlocking my iphone and getting a local sim card.....

    wonder how much compensation o2 are going to pay out!

  15. Thomas Bottrill
    Thumb Down

    Also having UK problems

    Got no service whatsoever at the moment, even after restarting my iPhone. According to someone on the O2 customer forums, calls aren't even being diverted to voicemail, so it sounds like a major problem.

    Did someone trip over the power cable?

  16. D L Clements

    O2 trouble in the UK

    O2 definitely having problems in the UK as well. I can't connect most of the time and when I did, briefly, got a 2 hour old txt.

    Fail, because currently O2 seem to be full of it.

  17. Robert E A Harvey


    I've just driven from Fujiera to Dubai, and my private Virgin mobile phone has had signals all the way. The O2 company phone is as dead as a dead thing.

  18. alex comerford

    Dump on your most valuable customers

    O2 didn't even accept there was a problem until 11am today (Friday). There are close to 100 journolists and TV types here in Budapest who are on O2. Not the happiest group of people i've ever been with. I suspect this might be mentioned tomorrow during various live broadcasts.

    As for me O2 can whistle if they expect me to complete my iPhone contract. I'm off to give my couple of hundred quid a month to another network.

  19. Lawrence Dudley


    In Dubai and, you guessed it, I just see a "no service" message on my iPhone. Huge inconvenience, wasted an hour of my time trying to reset stuff on my phone before I read this article.

    Flying back to the UK tomorrow, and will be going into our local O2 shop as soon as I get back for a rant and a rave. I spend a lot of money on my phone bill every month and I expect it not to let me down, especially when I need it most (like now).

    Sort it out O2 and warn the guys in the shop that I want some kind of compensation and a sincere apology.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bloody O2...

    I'm just back from Paris where I've been totally unable to get in touch with the attendees of a conference I was attending beforehand making life very difficult when I was relying on being able to call them to co-ordinate travel to/from the hotel etc, not to mention the worried friends/missus who thought something bad had happened to me since I hadn't been in touch for days.

    Thanks O2!

  21. Robert E A Harvey

    ha! update

    OK, got to Schiphol now. No O2 here either. mark you, that's not uncommon. Oddly I often fail to get a service upstairs, but can get a signal downstairs in one of the terminal rows.

    Good effort, lads.

    Oh, and the Virgin Mobile? The signal strength bargraph looks like a cornfield, there are so many of them.

  22. Andrew Woodvine

    Re: Bloody O2...

    You couldn't keep in touch with the missus for a few days because your mobile didn't work? There are other ways to call people other than with your mobile phone.

  23. robert 15

    02 payg ok in aus

    not sure if it wasnt working, i hardly ever use it any more, but its working just now

  24. pctechxp

    Errr news flash

    Technology breaks down from time to time, if it didn't do you really think there'd be a need for an IT department?

    I'd guess quite a few of the commenters work in IT, have any of your systems been down for a while?

    Remember, the same types of systems you manage also power the mobile phone networks so they will break from time to time.

    If communication is that vital such as keeping in contact with family, carry a prepaid card as a backup, resilience in this situation is just as important as that dual power supply supporting your router/servers.

    For goodness sake give fellow techs at O2 a break and stop whining.


    A happy O2 customer (no I don't work ffor them but I have the common sense to realise there is no such thing as 100% uptime)

  25. netalax


    I disagree with the above comment...

    I work for one of O2's competition, in network operations. I fail to imagine any fault on any service that I am on call for right now resulting in such a long, sustained outage, of the type described, and I do devote a considerable amount of time towards trying to dream up such scenario's.

    For a bit of balance, I can imagine faults and knock on effects that could lead to the data issues on O2 the other day. Resilient AAA services and IP address management for a mobile data network is an incredibly difficult beast to get right, especially when the aggresive nature of the iPhone and its PDP setup retries is thrown into the mix.

  26. Steve Evans


    O2 may have been removed from the BT tree, but it looks like they still follow the business model...

    Build infrastructure

    Then continue to milk and over-subscribe the infrastructure, whilst performing pitiful maintenance, upgrades and disaster prevention/analysis.

    @pctechxp - Yes I work in IT. The systems I am involved with are required real time, kind of like ummm I dunno, say a telephone network. Which is why we have multiple sites, multiple internet providers, multiple power sources and redundancy at every level. You could nuke all but one of my sites and full service would still remain.

    So far JCB digger man has never managed to take down more than one at a time.

    So yes, I have had systems down, but it has *never* impacted my users/customers.

    I hope you would be this forgiving when stranded at Heathrow for several days because someone decided air-traffic control needed no redundancy.

    Megaphone - Cos it's a more reliable form of communication than O2!

  27. Andy Bloice

    @ pctechxp

    I'm fairly confident that most of the posters here are in IT, and thus they know the importance of a resilient network architecture!

    I left the IT game a few years ago but still spend time here because "you never know...", but your comment really shows a lack of understanding of the service that o2 should be providing.

    Any comms company "should" be using a highly resilient, fault tolerant network - redundancy and high availability is expensive but necessary, a single point of failure, which is what appears to have happened here, is a no no and is evidence of piss poor network planning.

    The sort of systems that o2 should be running would be nebs certified - not your everyday kit and certainly not cheap, so no they shouldn't "break" from time to time.

    Due to the failures over the past week, they will be losing a tranche of customers, but that's for the future - the immediate loss of revenue and one way billing that will now happen (bills to o2 from other networks for terminating calls etc) will hit o2 hard.

    I guess that failures may be a regular occurance at your place but for a comms company, this really should be sacking grounds.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    ...and another thing

    @pctechxp: too true. And, I'm sure that if some of these users read the T&Cs in their contracts, they would see a clause confirming that users are not entitled to compensation for loss of service... (and yes, I do work in the industry)

  29. Barry O'Connell

    @AC 27/07/09 07:12 - T&Cs be damned

    When you have services carried out, you have rights against the trader under the Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982/ Common Law Scotland. This provides that work should be carried out with reasonable care & skill, for a reasonable charge (unless the price is fixed by contract), and within a reasonable time (unless the time scale is fixed by contract). It also provides that any goods & materials supplied as part of the service should be of a satisfactory quality i.e. free from defects. If the trader has failed to fulfil the above requirements then he should come back and rectify the problem, without additional cost.

    You can't sign away your legal rights (as a consumer) and any T&Cs which attempted to do so would very likely be deemed unfair, and thus unenforcable, in UK courts.

    Any compensation is likely to be negligible though.

    I lost service for three hours in the UK on Friday - it is very frustrating.

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