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EE, Vodafone, Three, Virgin and O2 are all down for some customers around the UK

That’ll help the millions of Brits working from home to combat coronavirus

As you settle into working from home in the light of coronavirus, you may find that your phone isn’t working as you would hope and expect.

Downdetector has a spike in people reporting problems for all the major networks in the UK – O2, EE, Vodafone and Three – as well as the services that piggyback off them (think Tesco, Giffgaff and Virgin).

Affected individuals are reporting that they can’t send text messages or make calls – if you just use your phone as a glorified web browser via WiFi, then, you’re likely unaffected.

It doesn’t appear to be universal, either. I’ve just texted someone via O2 to EE and the message got through instantly, while other Expert Reviews staffers are also reporting everything behaving as normal despite being in London, where Downdetector reports a big spike in problems. The site also highlights North-West England as a problem hotspot.

Still, your mileage may vary – it’s certainly not all in the mind, as O2 has already acknowledged the problem with its service and says it’s investigating, and there are plenty of people messaging the networks on Twitter asking what’s going on.

One theory is that the huge increase of remote workers following the government’s advice to stay at home where possible is putting strain on the phone networks, but we won’t know for sure until the companies give a full explanation.

Microsoft Teams had an outage earlier in the week thanks to an influx of new users, but BT says it believes its broadband network can cope with the sudden need to match weekend demand during the week.

It looks like the communications infrastructure businesses of the UK are going to get a taste of what it’s like to be an office IT support desk over the next few weeks…

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