back to article Oh 4G, I'm speechless: EE network outage smacks rare breed of customer that talks into their mobile phone

UK mobile operator EE has been struggling to get its VoLTE services back on their feet, after a seven-hour flood of angry complaints from customers unable to place voice calls over the 4G network. The moans from the, er, old-school types who prefer to talk to their contacts rather than communicating by text or sending memes on …

  1. Alister Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    BT's EE, which called it quits on the Everything Everywhere branding in 2012, possibly because it made life too easy for The Register subs desk...

    I larfed.

    1. Tigra 07
      Coat

      RE: Alister

      EE? You mean NN - Nothing Nowhere

    2. Nick Kew
      Thumb Up

      ... possibly because it made life too easy for The Register subs desk ...

      Hehe. Yeah, metoo, was going to say so here if you hadn't preempted me. Want to thumbs-up the article (just as I might a comment) for that.

    3. silks

      I wonder how much EE paid a fancy London marketing agency to come up with "Everything Everywhere" before realising what they'd done?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Probably about the same as they did for the predecessors, 0-range and One-to-None......

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          I'm still wondering what idiot named a network "3" thus making quite a lot of things un-google-able, not to mention look outdated the second 3G was superceded, making itself difficult to understand to the uninitiated ("Why would I want to use a free network?").

          It certainly wasn't the person who named their customer app "Wuntu", but it might well have been the person who recently gutted it of pretty much all the useful benefits.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Had a few conference calls today, a lot of colleagues failed to dial in at several points. Normally we blame the conference call company, however I'm guessing that since all corporate mobiles moved to EE in the last year this is probably the root cause of today's lost time. I wonder if projects will be charging lost time to voice services...

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Trollface

      Except the staffers who could not dial in could actually get on with some work :P

  3. David W4

    5 gEE whizz?

    Ok come on, this is 5G switchover muckery, surely

    1. Locky

      Re: 5 gEE whizz?

      EE 5G, our network will now fail faster than every before

  4. Queeg

    Fixed it for you

    "We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused as this is not the high standard of service they have come to expect of us."

    .

    .

    .

    We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused as this is not the Fuck it, that's close enough standard of service they have come to expect of us.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >We’re aware that a small number of customers are unable to make some calls over 4G

    and thousands of Openreach engineers which means we cant use the callback systems.

    1. Kernel

      "and thousands of Openreach engineers which means we cant use the callback systems."

      No joking matter - the call out engineers for one of my customers now have dual SIM cellphones, with the second SIM on a competitor's network, after a major failure on their own cell network meant they had extreme difficulty contacting anyone that could fix it.

  6. Commswonk Silver badge

    WTF..?

    BT's EE, <snip> is said to be set to ink a deal this month with the Home Office for its much-delayed Emergency Services Network migration. Plans for integration and testing are underway.

    What "ESN" deal could the Home Office legitimately sign with EE when unless there has been a miracle in the last few days the much - hyped ESN is reportedly not materially closer to working than it was years ago?

  7. Andre Carneiro

    "Small number"

    That really pisses me off.

    I don't believe it was "small", and even if it was, it's no consolation to me that your shitty service has fallen over.

    Just own it. Shit happens, we all accept it. Downplaying it makes you sound dishonest.

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: "Small number"

      Well... If it affected 100,000 people... That's less than 1% of the customer base. Less than 1% is considered a small number by most....though 100k people by comparison is quite a few but it's all relative.

      1. MatthewSt Silver badge

        Re: "Small number"

        If they'd have called it a "small percentage" you'd have a point. Otherwise what else can we define "number" to be?

        Edit: if the shareholders would be happy to call it a "small number" if all of the customers affected were no longer subscribers, then I'd be willing to agree with it

  8. Nutria

    EE is right.

    After all, Britain is pretty small...

  9. silks

    Huawei

    Did the Chinese Government turn the network off?

  10. tony2heads

    Coming to UK soon and will need a prepaid SIM

    From readers: Which is the least bad network ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Coming to UK soon and will need a prepaid SIM

      Depends where you are going and what you want to do.

      Vodafone probably has the best (2G upwards) voice covearge.

      Whereas EE or 3 probably have the fastest download speeds, but coverage is a bit flaky (particularly for 3) away from population centres.

      1. Alien8n

        Re: Coming to UK soon and will need a prepaid SIM

        There are other factors to consider as well, such as upgrade options and end of contract.

        Don't choose a provider based on supposed uptime, all providers will have downtime at some point, EE this week, O2 a few weeks ago. Vodafone was out in our satellite site last week. That just leaves:

        Voice coverage.

        3G/4G coverage.

        Contract terms.

        Personally I'm with O2 for the above reasons. I have full 4G coverage at both work sites, as well as at home and at the in-laws. They also don't stiff you when your contract is up, allowing you to switch to a SIM only deal if you want. Last time I checked EE wanted to continue charging the same rate that you were on while paying for your phone if you wanted to go SIM only. So if you were paying £72 a month because you absolutely had to have the latest most expensive shiny, their SIM only upgrade was also £72 regardless of what deal you wanted. In fact I think any upgrade has to be at least the same cost as the previous contract unless they've changed their terms in the last year. Guess who just switched Mrs Alien's phone away from EE?

        1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

          Re: Coming to UK soon and will need a prepaid SIM

          I *was* with O2, but recently switched to EE, because of a problem with wifi-calling. I had also recently moved house. And where we lived has absolutely zero O2 signal, and practically zero EE signal. I thought it wouldn't matter because I have wifi calling on O2. Well, sort of. I had wifi calling but not wifi texting. This made it impossible to receive notification codes from various services, message from customers and soon banks. O2 told me that they do not transport SMS over wifi. However, EE do. So I moved to EE.

          Ironically, a week after I switched, O2 put up a new mast near where I live, and they now provide a full signal, albeit 2G only, which is fine for texting and phoning.

          What I've noticed with EE is that the 4G is much faster in actual use - ping times are better and accessing the various things I need to for my work. Speed tests can be as high as 200Mbps download and 50Mbps upload on my iphone, not that I need it, but it's good to know it's there if I need to tether my laptop for a big download. I've also noticed that 4G voice works in more places locally to me than O2 did (Near Brentwood, Essex). This is good, because it means that if I'm on the phone, I can still access websites. With O2, most places would force a switch to 3G for a voice call, which meant slower website access, but that would frequently switch to 2G, which doesn't provide for data access at the same time as voice, and doesn't switch back till you end the call anyway.

          So all in all, not all networks are equal in what they actually provide and how they work. Hateful though their customer service is, EE actually provide a much more seamless and functional network for my needs.

          1. Alien8n

            Re: Coming to UK soon and will need a prepaid SIM

            Glad it works for you, never had an issue with O2 myself (apart from said outage the other week). For me it was the fact that EE wanted an upgrade of at least my previous monthly outgoing, while I'm actually trying to slim down costs, so a switch to O2 from EE has meant saving over £10 a month.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Coming to UK soon and will need a prepaid SIM

              I switched away from O2 when they failed to create a legitimate contract with my actual name on it. Twice.

              I mean come on guys, surely that's a core business function?

              On the bright side, Vodafone seem pretty good so far.

      2. Cynical user

        Re: Coming to UK soon and will need a prepaid SIM

        Well I'm not so sure. Thinking of the Highlands & Islands as a case-in-point, Voda & O2 historically shared their rollout and were first to cover many routes and areas. O2 went a bit further in some parts of the far north and for many years their geographic coverage was a few % more than VF. All based on 2G.

        More recently EE have started to utilise their 800Mhz spectrum along with their 4G-ESN coverage obligations, and this gap has closed in most, if not all, areas. I'd speculate the coverage figures are pretty close now between VO2-2G & EE-4G, I suspect EE 4G has a marginal edge - providing you have a device & account capable of accessing the 800Mhz band.

  11. adam payne

    "We’re aware that a small number of customers are unable to make some calls over 4G,"

    Always annoys me when companies say this. How small is small? 500,000, 1 million.

    We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused as this is not the high standard of service they have come to expect of us.

    What high standard is that then?

  12. adam 40 Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    Virgin DNS was down

    Yes I noticed intermittent DNS this morning on Virgin broadband....

    1. Evil Scot
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Virgin DNS was down

      Only this morning. Its up and down like a seamstresses draws. A-hem, A-hem.

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