back to article O2 network staggers across UK

O2 has been hit by a serious failure, with reports coming in from around the UK of the network disappearing and its status page conceding some network problems. The trouble started mid-morning with phones dropping off the network, but the problems aren't location specific so it seems some sort of central server is again …


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  1. Infidellic_

    Well that makes this tweet of their's a little awkward:

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I love tweets like "whens the network going to be back on"

      because im sure no one knows the answer.

  2. Bill Fresher

    Hmmm... data services stopped working on my O2 mobile today, but this was fixed after I turned it off and then on again so not sure about the keep connected advice....

    1. Infidellic_

      Ditto, into "Airplane mode" and back out again, all of a sudden signal :D

  3. 3G

    Thumbs up if you think it's time for CEO Ronan Dunne to resign over this, O2 is a mess and this has happened far too often. Clearly the company has lost control and let service levels slip, the CEO us ultimately accountable as this is one of a string of technical faux pas and network outages.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "Thumbs up if you...."

      Oh please.

      1. James Smith 3

        No no no...

        Thumbs DOWN if you think it's time for CEO Ronan Dunne to resign over this.


        1. Waspy
          Thumb Up

          Re: No no no...

          Have a downvote!

  4. Kirstian K

    I have pretty much repeatedly had terrible reception at home and work for about 6 months now,

    im about to jump ship, i think o2 us useless.

    this is not new news to me.

    1. Snivelling Wretch

      Network busy

      Ditto. Had no probs for years, but similarly for past few months have terrible trouble with "network busy" messages when trying to make or receive calls...

    2. AlbertH

      Orange / T Mobile / Nothing Anywhere have taken eight months to repair a damaged cell site near my home. I still have no proper service. Vodafone works reasonably well, and O2 is tolerable (when they're on) so when the outrageous Orange contract expires (next month), I'll be leaving them after 15 years. I'm one of their oldest customers, but they treat me like dirt.

      I'll also be taking nearly 2000 other contracts with me - we use them at work and I can cancel those contracts as well....

      Someone needs to establish a high quality, reliable, premium service. If it worked properly, I'd be happy to pay much more than I do at the moment. Unfortunately, they all seem to be pretty much as bad as each other....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        yeah o2 are reasonable when it works, although there coverage is shit, as is there 3g network, Vodafone is actually great up here but their pricing plans are terrible

        i just want Vodafones network with O2s plans whoever can do that gets my contract!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Lucky you. My company (circa 5,000 mobile users) recently moved from No-2 to Nothing Nowhere, simply 'cos they are part owned by T Mobile, and my outfit is a German listed company.

        Quite why anybody would sign a business contract with Torange, or any of their many pseudonyms is a mystery. Rubbish network, rubbish service, and frequently rubbish handsets.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Fairly main Orange mast near me (outskirts of Cambridge) apparently failed on 13th Aug, and has been down since (it's now 14th Oct). This means that my local 'lamp-post' mini-mast is overloaded, and my (2G) voice calls (and signal 'bar' indication) drop out for 5-6 seconds every few minutes. Not impressed.

        Probably this also means I get no 3G coverage, but seeing as the throughput of that is usually sub-dialup-modem speed (despite HSDPA signal) when the network is 'normal', that's no great loss.

  5. Andy Livingstone


    If that is news, keep a spare page for Three.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: News?

      If you're having problems with Three... then I must be very lucky. I've been with them for upwards of 6 years and had a total of 2 hours of no internet access, but could still get calls and texts.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    "The trouble started mid-morning with phones dropping off the network"

    This is normal service for where I live with my companies O2 - even with a bloody £150 + VAT boost box!!!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and guess what they charge for shit service

    that's right: a lot

  8. Jabber 44
    Thumb Up

    Everytime I update the Firmware .

    I'm sure this happened the last time I updated the FW on my phone.. I was sure it was me, thank goodness for the Reg.

    1. Red Bren

      Re: Everytime I update the Firmware .

      "I was sure it was me..."

      It was you! Now would you be so kind as to warn us all before you update your firmware again...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Working fine" = no mobile internet or mobile broadband

    Live results for Lincoln Lincs

    They say...

    Our network is currently working fine

    If we're doing work on the phone masts near you we'll tell you about it here.

    Updated 15:00 (refreshed hourly). Recent faults might not show yet.

    Normal coverage for Voice, Text and Email (2G)

    Good indoors and outdoors.

    Normal coverage for Mobile Internet (3G)

    Sorry, we do not have coverage here.

    Normal coverage for Mobile Internet (3G900)

    Variable outdoors. Variable indoors. Not good for mobile broadband.

    Sorry but "Working fine" != no mobile internet or mobile broadband for a field tech !!!

  10. Tom Chiverton 1


    On the same day as :

    I don't believe in coincidence...

  11. JDX Gold badge


    I didn't even use my voucher for last time yet!

  12. EddieD

    I wanna be NSFW

    And swear like a trooper. 3rd time this year, no info from O2 worth speaking about. Bunch of twunts.

    O2, please, please, please, put the breaks on your 4G ambitions until you get G, Edge, 3G and HSDPA working reliably.

    1. EddieD

      Re: I wanna be NSFW

      Breaks? Sod it. Pub.

  13. Grubby

    Backup plan

    The government / governing body need to act about the way communications services work in the UK. Having worked for a number of communications providers, from mobile network providers to broadband and broadcasters, there is a common theme when it comes to incident management, there is very little (and in a worrying number of cases no) backup.

    Current process is as follows (or very similar) consumer pays for service, service is provided, service goes down, consumer loses service, service provider choose whether of not to refund or credit.

    The industry needs to change to ensure that each network will use the other networks in the case that they are unable to provide coverage. The networks should discuss compensation among each other. The outcome would be that if a serious incident occurs the services (where possible) can continue to be provided to the customer, or at least the basics like voice and sms, carried by another carrier(s) until the outage is resolved. This would minimize downtime in most cases and reduce negative customer experience...

    Sorry about the rant, anyone would think I specialize in root cause analysis of incidents and customer experience... oh wait...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Backup plan

      No no no!

      You'd just set in motion a cascade failure that would ultimately take down every network. To make network one's devices work on network two, network two needs to have access to (or a copy of) whatever kit on network one has just failed.

      Setting it up would also double everyone's mobile phone bills, but that's a minor consideration compared to the cascade failure.

      The common theme is continually declining prices which drives never-ending cost-cutting. It's perfectly possible to have more reliable comms - and plenty of people do, both fixed and mobile - but they cost typically 2.5 times a 'standard' connection.

      1. auburnman

        Re: Backup plan

        "I never thought l'd see a resonance cascade failure, much less create one!"

        I'm not sure where you get the idea that a network would need copies of a rivals kit to handle their customers ? All networks already have protocols to handle "foreign" devices for international roaming, and its high bloody time our providers sorted out some domestic roaming.

        So no doubling of fees, and a cascade failure is unlikely unless the sheer volume increase overstresses the replacement network. And l Dont really track prices but are they really declining ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Backup plan

          I was talking more of code or data than hardware, but regardless - there's a chance that failure could be propagated through subscriber data or network config information.

          The issue would be the amount of spare capacity required. Mobcos spend a fortune on Opex, renting capacity from other providers to run their backbones. The capacity is managed to razor-thin margins. Unless you build in spare capacity equal to the amount of peak traffic the network you're providing failover for into your network, it will begin to fail. Processors and switches need upgrading to handle the peak of Busy Hour Call Attempts (BHCA) - and if it goes wrong, it's your customers who suffer just as much as those of the network that failed. That's where the doubling of cost comes in - the network has to be twice as big and apart from in failover, only 50% utilised. That's probably an argument for a single national network with MVNOs providing end user service but I can also think of reasons why that would be a bad thing.

          Prices are in continual decline. They're not keeping pace with inflation and users are getting more for what they do pay. If I look back at my mobile contracts in 1990, 2000 and now, I pay far less than I used to and get far more for it. That trend will only continue.

    2. HMB

      Re: Backup plan

      "The government / governing body need to act about the way communications services work in the UK."

      You realise governments have a track record at screwing companies up right? You're really suggesting they get more involved?

      Why don't you just do as a consumer is supposed to and shop around? Don't like a network that drops dead regularly? Don't use O2.

      I live fairly rurally at the moment and my network is great. No dropped calls, constant service, good internet.

      Any product or service can have issues. If people want a better product or service, they either pay more or shop around for a more efficient operator or manufacturer.

      Good grief man though... let's not get the government to sort it out. If you want a piss up in a brewery, organise one yourself, it's much more likely to work out well.

  14. Mike 125

    Don't mean to be a bore..

    ...but can anyone point me to govt. policy over what happens when the sh't really does hit the fan? [Pick 1 or more of early AM asteroid strike/ terrorist A bomb/ volcanic eruption/ Resident Evil scenario etc]. Given any national emergency, we know the mobile networks and internet will disappear faster than Jimmy Savile's CRB pass certificate. And I don't have any greater faith in digital broadcast. So what do the people do? (Personally, I'm keeping my valve CB in working order.. breaker break..) But is anyone on this case??

    1. David1

      Re: Don't mean to be a bore..

      Will your valve CB work without mains electricity?

      1. Mike 125

        Re: Don't mean to be a bore..

        I guess you don't know much about CB. And yes.

        1. Terry Barnes

          Re: Don't mean to be a bore..

          Erm, I think the point is the word "valve". How will you reliably generate enough voltage from a car battery to drive a device using valves without damaging it?

          A standard CB - yes, for sure. A device with valves? Unlikely.

          1. AlbertH

            Re: Don't mean to be a bore..

            My valved gear works beautifully from a car battery. Ever heard of an inverter?

            1. Terry Barnes

              Re: Don't mean to be a bore..

              Yup. And what happens when the voltage in your battery drops and the valves start to generate malformed sine waves into each other? Can you spot the volt drop and cut the power quicker than the valves go pop?

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. Mike 125

            Re: Don't mean to be a bore..

            The HT is required at very low power, and easily derived from step-up conversion. 90 volt batteries for HT valve supplies were common for this purpose in the after-war years. Now of course, electronics is used to generate it from the 12 volt vehicle supply. That step-up conversion electronics *could* be valve, in the extreme case. And then you would only require semiconductors to get things going. (I'm not saying I've got such a set-up... but it's all feasible!)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't mean to be a bore..

      Actually, the hardiest network available to normal folk is the PSTN. It has incredible uptime, generator backup to keep it running for weeks without mains and has multiple layers of failover protection.

      It also has the ability to ring every single phone in a given area to replay a recorded message - something that might be useful if analogue radio ever disappears.

    3. wardster

      Re: Don't mean to be a bore..

      Valve CB radio? You youngsters don't know you are born these days......

      In my day, it was long bits of wire and spark gap transmitters, with the lectrickery being generated by a newly made redundant chimney sweep pedalling away on a bike with a dynamo attached.

      Mmmmm... the smell of ozone in the morning...

  15. HRH Lord Snooky of Snockport

    Not good enough

    Gettin' fed up with pniss pnoor Telefonica / O2. Been wiv em 4 years - used to be good but falling further & further behind. 3rd time this yr my mobile life has died. Good job it's Friday and the beer emporiums are open...... but where to go for good service at a realistic price.....

    1. AlbertH

      Re: Not good enough

      There isn't a viable option in this country:

      Vodafone - premium price, Skoda service

      O2 - cheaper, but mostly broken, with patchy, poor coverage generally and abysmal customer service

      Nothing Anywhere - a sick joke. Utterly clueless, lying, thieving, ignorant fools..... and that's their good points.

      3 - same as NA (they use the same infrastructure)

      Virgin - a waste of bandwidth on the N/A Network.....

      What an effin' shambles!

  16. sandco_random
    Thumb Down

    Its weird.

    I have 3 O2 connected devices.

    My personal iPhone 4S, currently has no voice connection, yet has a 3G data connection. Have tried to call and obviously no connection. Use the data side of it, is fine.

    My Blackberry is on an enterprise contract (I think the PLC I work for has around 300,000 devices+ on the same contract). I know we have our own DDI range of mobile numbers as well. This has had no problems what so ever. The last 'outage' the blackberry continued to work as normal.

    Same goes for my work iPad, no problems what so ever.

  17. BTCustomer
    Thumb Down

    Are they installing something

    I'm always a little suspicious when communications networks fail for a day or two - in case the company are installing something like DPI black boxes. The last example was TTNET in Turkey (who had a major "mysterious" outage, as they installed Phorm's equipment and software), and before that, ISPs in Brazil. Are O2 installing content filtering or packet monitoring equipment? If so, it's better from a PR and legal point of view to TELL the customers (and the people they communicate with) in advance so they have the option to NOT have their communications intercepted. RIPA 2000 as amended May 2011. Just a thought - based on experience.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not affected

    Wasn't affected last time either. However, I'm still bitter that the unlimited data contract I signed up for for an iPhone 3GS was torn up by O2. I've finally had enough of them and will be leaving next month! Yay!

    They are a bunch of lying, thieving, amoral b@@@@s and I hope they lose millions more customers as a result. The main problem is that the rest of the networks are just as bad:(.

  19. Steve Graham

    I saw one post on twitter from a guy who said that the outage meant he had been unable to access an e-ticket and had missed a flight. Ouch.

    Me? My reply to an apologetic text from a lady friend didn't go, making me look like a dick.

  20. ahd

    still ongoing

    despite O2s promises there are clearly still serious ongoing issues - sim transfers are held up with users left with no service, support lines are so congested you cant get through, twitter feed is full of people with ongoing connection problems - rather than o2 claiming all is well why not be honest and say there are still serious issues? They may have resolved the hardware problem but the backlog is still serious

  21. JohnMurray

    O2, 2B or not 2B

    O2 does 3G ?

    Outside large towns ?

    Hmmm.....mine "went down" on Friday night leaving me with no mobile..I used an ordinary 'phone to call the family en-route in their car....following recent O2 failings they have different networks on their has to work !

    Anyway, when O2 came back on...the 3g worked fine (it didn't work before) but the signal "bar" said "no signal" (work that out)....

  22. JohnMurray

    oh, and..

    I received a text message sent to me on Saturday at 1421z......on Sunday at 2015z.....

  23. Alex Bailey

    As a Vodafone subscriber I'm a little concerned... having heard that Vodafone and O2 plan to mimic T-Mobile and Orange to create another "EE" I'm extremely concerned that my currently stable phone network could become less so sometime in the future.

    Ironically I put an O2 SIM in my iPad to ensure coverage in places that Vodafone can't currently reach!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vodafone Problems

    Have a look at the Vodafone forum - since Friday there has been a substantial outage on their Sure Signal boxes (Femtocells).

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