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Customers fume as O2 network takes Bank Holiday off

Widespread network outage upsets O2 customers - including those in high places

O2 has apologised after customers across the country were left without mobile service on Bank Holiday Monday. Many customers were left staring at “no service” warnings on their mobile phone as the network suffered a widespread fault. 

The problems started yesterday afternoon, with many O2 customers reporting the loss of voice and data services. Those customers included the new Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, who sent a spiky tweet to O2 yesterday evening. “No signal @O2,” the Conservative minister tweeted. “Please sort it out.”

O2 did eventually sort it out, but not until most of its customers were tucked up in bed. At around 4pm yesterday, the company updated its service status page, warning that: “Parts of our network aren’t working in various locations across the UK. This means your service might come and go until we fix the problem. Mobile devices are displaying ‘no service’ in areas where coverage would normally be available.”

Finally, just before midnight, the company declared the problem had been fixed. “Further to our previous messages where some customers experienced some problems accessing our network, we can confirm that service returned to normal at 23.35 hrs,” a message on O2’s support page reads. “We apologise for any inconvenience caused to those customers affected and we will now begin a full investigation to identify the root cause.”

The cause of the outage is unknown, but it appears to be a core network problem rather than an isolated capacity issue, with customers across the country reporting loss of service. 

O2 is in the process of being taken over by Hutchison Whampoa, the parent company of the Three network. The £10.25bn takeover will instantly make the combined firms the biggest mobile network in the UK. It’s a time of great flux in the UK mobile market, with BT midway through a takeover of EE, and with Sky and Carphone Warehouse both entering the market as virtual networks. 

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