back to article Another TITSUP* on this lovely Tuesday: Virgin Mobile takes time out to enjoy the sunshine

Virgin Mobile has been having a miserable Tuesday as customers found their handsets reduced to lumps of shiny plastic by a network-wide outage. Calls, texts and mobile data were all affected, and the outpouring of grief has been something to behold. The social media caterwauling began mid-morning in the UK as users discovered …

  1. TRT Silver badge

    As far as I can make out, their 2G services are totally out. 3G is phasing in and out. Bit of a bollocks up all round. Downdetector is lit up like a Christmas Tree. Where's Usain Bolt when you need him?

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    some n00b plugged a switch back into itself?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazing how so many Virgin Mobile users manage to get alternative means of internet access, just so they can whinge on Twitter

    1. Cessquill

      When you're with Virgin, you get used to contingency planning.

      Plus, desktops and stuff.

  4. old_IT_guy

    There is a solution

    The only power we have is to vote with our wallet and stop using companies instead of taking to antisocial media to lambast them when they cock up or behave in a way people who like to voice their opinions think is bad.

    Like when Starbucks was fingered for effective tax avoidance, there was an outcry for all of a few minutes, the next day walking past Starbucks I saw no fewer people queuing for their overpriced dishwater. If people had stopped using Starbucks - even if only for a few days - the corporate leeches might have panicked and changed things up a bit.

    Time to vote with our feet and wallets in the corporate arena (as well as the political one as we are starting to see happen), if they suck, don't spend your money with them even if it means doing without some gewgaw or other.

    Clearly, if no-one is any better, and we cannot do without whatever it is they offer, we're shafted and have to pick the lesser of many evils, as I have had to do...

    Confession: I admit to being a VM customer myself, I use their broadband because it's cable and they wound up being the current owners of the company I've had my broadband service from since the very early naughties, the only (cable) alternative I am aware of is to use BT, who are even bigger cunts than VM and I will never knowingly use. Mea culpla, mea maxima culpa.

    1. Steve Kerr

      Re: There is a solution

      Virgin are a disaster area where networks are concerned, their commercial network offerings for business are prone to blips.

      On the starbucks side, the blackheath one did close down as the locals there voted with their feet and it was empty.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: There is a solution

        Virgin is very much location-dependent.

        I have had a leased line out in the sticks for 5 years and nary a blip. As in not even one, in all that time.

        But elsewhere they re-use Openreach services to provide (for broadband and/or leased line believe it or not, yes, I have a "Virgin-managed" but Openreach-provided leased line at another site). My previous workplace also had Virgin via a reseller - no problems. Had Virgin at home for years. One spark-out on a VoD movie once, and that was the little cherubs down the road pulling cables out of the cabinet.

        VM get horror stories based more on geographic location (i.e. what old duff cable they inherited from NTL) and who else actually *provides* the service than they ever do on their native lines.

    2. Hemmels

      Re: There is a solution

      Upvoted because the exact same words would have been uttered by myself.

      Yours, 30s_IT_guy.

    3. MatthewSt

      Re: There is a solution

      I am voting with my wallet. I pay less than £15 per month for 2 Sims with more data, minutes and texts than both users come near to. It's about 2/3 of the price of any other deal I've seen so I'll let it off having a lie down now and then

  5. chivo243 Silver badge

    Nice day for it

    might as well enjoy it?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Nice day for it

      As people give up staring at their phones and look up from the ground, turn to the sky, take out the EarPods and listen to the birdsong... emerging, blinking, into the light.

  6. Spacedinvader

    Been tethered to mine since 10am...

    Not had a problem. Yay me?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guess/prediction : expired certificate ?

    There A Lot Of It About ...

  8. Chunky Munky

    I just luurv their comments that "*some* customers may be experience problems making calls, send texts etc". Have they been taking lessons from Apple? Looking through the Twittersphere this afternoon, it seems like everybody, their families, cats, dogs, duck-billed-platypy and the guy who came to read the gas meter are having the same issue.

    Seriously, they would probably get less flak if they'd admit there was a fault when it first happened and then provided genuine updates instead of vague promises that they were working hard to fix the problem.

    Virgin (on the ridiculous) Media - a well earned title

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah yes, Apples usual "A Small Number" apology... "A small number of customers may be experiencing..."

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Must be a small number, with lots of zeros after it.

  9. My Alter Ego

    Just Virgin Media?

    We had some issues around the same time with our BT Net Leased Line. We were losing about 10% of packets, which was bad, but even stranger was that we had no upstream bandwidth. Running a speed test (on known servers) we had 90 Gb/s up, and pretty much 0.00 Gb/s up, which as you can imagine made making requests and serving data slightly difficult.

    Could be a coincidence, but I wonder if Virgin and BT share some core networks.

  10. Microchip

    Roaming is completely knackered.

    A few of us were out in the Netherlands when some of my mates suddenly found they had no data or ability to make or receive calls. Whatever it is, it's not just national infrastructure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Roaming is completely knackered.

      Roaming still relies on some parts of UK national infrastructure. It does narrow down where the fault isn't, though.

    2. smudge

      Re: Roaming is completely knackered.

      I'm pretty sure that mobile internet is always routed through your home network.

      And I know that when your phone first sets up a roaming connection with a local network, there is a check with your home network to see that you are kosher.

      So both these would be knackered by an outage at home.

      Not sure about calls when you're roaming. Is there some sort of contact every time - eg to see that you have credit or to bill you?

      1. Microchip

        Re: Roaming is completely knackered.

        Yeah, it all generally routes back home unless you get local breakout (which seems to be sadly missing on most networks). But meant they had a core problem somewhere, rather than at the mast end.

      2. Down not across

        Re: Roaming is completely knackered.

        Not sure about calls when you're roaming. Is there some sort of contact every time - eg to see that you have credit or to bill you?

        That depends if you're pre-pay (PAYG) or post-pay (normal contract).

        Traditionally it was all post-pay so when you connect to a network, it checks with your home network if you're roaming enabled. If the SIM is roaming enabled, it will be allowed to make/receive calls/SMS/etc. The operator then sends CDRs in TAP files back home for billing (often few days behind).

        That wouldn't really work for PAYG, so a more complex system (CAMEL) allows for real-time CDR exchange in which case, yes, there would be contact before each billable event (call,SMS,MMS, etc).

        1. smudge

          Re: Roaming is completely knackered.

          Cheers - thank you for explaining it.

  11. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Virgin users lost internet access ..... yet were able to complain on the internet. How's that work then?

    (My mobile phone and interdongle just came back on a couple of minutes ago)

    1. Cessquill

      I lost mobile internet access. From my work desk, with a PC connected to the internet I was able to figure out why.

      That's how that works.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone else unable to login to their Virgin mobile account online alongside this? Some twitter poster claims to have a CS agent admitting they’d “been hacked”, and I’m unsure if the inability to offer worthless platitudes that my data is safe is just incompetence as usual.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skimming through the Virgin Community forum tonight, nothing on there a huge surprise but a few notable ones around "I'm an essential user and rely on my phone", "I'm a carer", "I'm running a business".

    If your mobile connection is that important, you should a) Have a spare connection, and/or b) Not be using a budget MVNO. The number of users on there "I've got WiFi but that doesn't help with calls or texts".....

    Not that I'm excusing a high profile outage, we don't know the nature of the fault.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Well yes, I wouldn't dream in those circumstances, of not having an alternative system or two. A POTS phone for starters. And a second SIM with a different mobile company, even if it's a PAYG.

  14. Confuciousmobil

    I didn’t even notice, I had 4G access , maybe I was out of 2G for a while but it didn’t affect me.

    I get 100Gb a month with unused from the previous month rolled over for £20/month at full speed 4G (normally 70-100Mbs) so I’ll stick with Virgin, not had a problem myself, if you have then feel free to find someone who suits your needs better.

  15. Trooper_ID

    LandLine backup?

    I have been contemplating abandoning our landline, it costs around £20 pcm and we never receive calls on it. This incident makes me think again. We live rurally and have a very poor signal on mobile, so odds are, in a major mobile outage, we would have to rely on a landline. I may delay a decision until the Chinese have built our next gen network.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like