Feeds

back to article O2 dropped the ball in Olympic cycle race Twitter fiasco

O2's mobile network is to blame after a surge in tweets from spectators' smartphones scuppered the live reporting of an Olympic cycling road race. Onlookers were told to stop using Twitter on their mobes to allow vital data to reach the organisers. It is understood tiny mobile GPS electronics on athletes' bikes were unable to …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Sure, at box hill

but what about everywhere else? that was only the circuit element. The timing was rubbish all over.

12
0
Mushroom

Re: Sure, at box hill

funny that they used one of the most used network in the UK (orange,T,3 count as well)

when this news posted, the GPS devices use O2 it was like err, well what you expect to happen Olympics + O2 = congestion, why do you think they are offering free wifi

almost every one i know has o2 (or giffgaff) i know a lot that have orange and t-mobile, Vodafone is very rare, i see more 3uk phones then Vodafone

they should of used Vodafone as they norm have plenty of capacity due to the lower user count and mostly due to pricing that target business users (why most GPS trackers use Vodafone) as Vodafone norm works everywhere (even thought it most likely only be 2G a lot of the time, that GPS trackers use only any way)

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Not Their Fault

Criticising the Olympic race organisers for their data cockup isn't fair. They asked OFCOM 8 years ago for licensing permits on a different band, but OFCOM hadn't managed to a decision. :P

8
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not Their Fault

Hadn't managed to make a decision I mean :)

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Not Their Fault

You were probably right the first time.

5
0
Coat

Unfair criticism

Hey stop having a go at poor old O2, it's not like they had 7 year's notice to prepare for this event.

21
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Unfair criticism

Or a swathe of data related to football grounds... I've been on O2 and any time I'm even near a football ground data signal drops off. It was quite annoying when I used to live two roads away from Fratton Park.

2
0
Megaphone

Re: Unfair criticism @AC

In my experience, it wasn't the data signal which was the annoying part about living near Fratton Park...

5
0

Re: Unfair criticism

Just as well you got out then.

0
0
Bronze badge
FAIL

I Am Omega

I don't know why the BBC have such problems with all their resources and millions available. I sat at home with a stopwatch*, clicked start as the lead group rounded some corner or passed a notable landmark, clicked stop when the footage cut back to the peleton passing the same point. It wasn't that hard and quite easy to predict when the cut would happen and what to time against; they nearly always show both going round sharp corners or through feeding stations so as to not miss any mishaps which may occur!

I was getting quite accurate timings, and far better than the BBC's own DIY timings during the Woman's race yesterday. Despite what the commentators claimed for the final kilometres into London; the GPS -derived timings were more accurate than their own, did indeed change quite significantly up and down over short distances.

* A habit-come-hobby born of frustration with repeatedly bizarre and obviously wrong time gaps being quoted by commentators in long distance events such as the marathon.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: I Am Omega

Pretty sad.

2
1

This post has been deleted by its author

"There was a capacity issue with Box Hill at the weekend," an O2 spokesperson told The Register

I just love that quote, genius. That person needs a pay raise ;)

What he meant to say was "Sorry, we completed effed-up. We totally underestimated the number of people who would be speculating. As a result O2 were utterly unprepared to supply any of the services we had been contracted to supply over the course of this event."

Then followed up with "Due to the (even further) humiliation we have brought to this shoddy network and following O2's previous network crash earlier in the month, our complete incompetence is self evident, as a result we are folding the company, the CEO has resigned and we will be giving all customers a cheque for £1000 and a Three UK PAYG SIM card. Sorry, again." :)

5
0
Anonymous Coward

"You can imagine that all of the people around that area were frantically using their phones"

"so that was the reason for the oversubscription"

Oh god they want to use their phones?!?! but surely they know they are just subscription paperweights?

NO! the real reason for the oversubscription is the full to the brim under provisioned network, as usual! as soon anything out of the ordinary happens the whole thing collapses anyone whose been to a concert or a fairground or a football match or a motor race, or even a beach on a sunny day knows this all to well...

5
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Strange that the spectators didn't notice this setback though. If it was oversubscribed you would think that the end users would notice the issues.

Or maybe they did, but couldn't tweet O2 about it.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

North Greenwich Arena..

O2h yo2u want us o2ut of the headlines do2 yo2u..

We'll so2o2n see abo2ut that.

0
2
Bronze badge
FAIL

and then they advertise...

a PAYG offer that "gets better over time". Presumably it gets better due to all the refunds for when you can't use the network?

1
0
Silver badge

Re: and then they advertise...

Well, yeah, it will get better over time... As soon as all those pesky Olympics people and spectators go home, it'll get at least a bit better.

1
0

While standing on Box Hill...

...just what did people have to send messages about anyway? Most of them seemed to have painted them on the road the night before.

Anyway, I'm still aiming to be the last man standing without a mobile phone.

2
2
Silver badge

oddly enough

O2 had been rolling out extra base stations along the route (a lot of the surrey course is my route to work), however I suspect they hadn't managed to actually switch 'em on as no improvement in coverage had shown up.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: extra base stations

I don't know about O2, but on Nothing Anywhere the problem is rarely shortage of base stations or lack of signal. It's the fact that the base stations apparently use a 300-bps acoustic coupler to access the internet.

4
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Down

They're on O2? The same O2 that had a meltdown in the past couple of weeks?

2
0
Holmes

And I saw it all

Well I was at Richmond Park to see both races out and back :-)

It was very funny.....loads of people trying to stream the race on their iPads (I am sure that uses way more data than twitter!!!

Anyway I had purchased a little portable TV......guess who had a load of people looking over my shoulder!

Lets face it we all know that when you get that many people in one space you need to revert to tech other than you mobile......if we get loose anyone meet at x point......and in my case good old TV works way better than streaming at events like this!

6
0

Re: And I saw it all

It evidently wasn't a "good old TV" given the analogue service in London was switched off just a few short months ago.

2
0
Gold badge
WTF?

Anyone?

Can anyone remember how bicycles used to work before the invention of GPS and Mobile data?

1
0
Happy

Re: Anyone?

Yes you knew where you were going!

It is not the GPS data that is the problem here.....it is the fact they used the phone network to transmit the data.

GPS on a bike is fab......100 miles of open road that you have never cycled before....and away you go without getting lost or having to stop at each corner and consult the map.

2
0

It seems to be all Telco's favorite excuse...

Doesn't matter if it is here in the USA or in the UK or any other country. The Telco's blame everyone else but themselves for having what amounts to a piss-poor network capacity.

They are all happy at charging their customers for the service but then they throw a hissy fit at their customers when they are actually using the network and are within their rights to use that same network.

I am sure that there were other methods of transmitting this data that could have been employed if the IOC had taken the time to develop the means but when a company says that they can carry the data and I am sure they guaranteed that the service will work. Then when it doesn't they blame their 'users' in the stands for everything going tits-up on them.

5
0
FAIL

O2 network coverage poor - that is not news

that is sadly everyday O2 'service'

2
1

Re: O2 network coverage poor - that is not news

Yes, I have to agree. When I flew back to the UK to visit family I thought I could deal with WiFi and my verizon iPhone 4 until I actually tried to do it and was so frustrated.

So I purchase an out of contract iPhone 4S and ask for a sim card, they suggested O2. What a mess! Got almost no data service, in fact I was lucky if the battery lasted a few hours because it struggling to get a decent signal and most of the time got 2g data. After 72 hours of fighting it I replaced it with T-Mobile and finally got the emails that I couldn't get with O2 because the data service was almost non-existent (even when it did say it had 3G it had no data service).

I gave the phone to my brother when I left as a gift but when I go back to visit again I sure as heck won't use O2 for any services. They are so like AT&T in their attitude to customers and service.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Most of the ISP Mobile Back-Haul Carriers use

xDSL for radio base-station to PoP transmission.

0
0
FAIL

Re-inventing the wheel

Stood on the Tourmalet 2 weeks ago it was noticeable that not a single person was using their phone for texting while the riders were passing. Ok so trying to stream it to an ipad/phone isn't going to help the bandwidth but REALLY.... it's not like the first time someone's organised a televised bike race is it?

The pictures and mixing seemed perfectly watchable but three times the went to interview Vino and there was no sound and then you could hear noises like people talking in a studio. An early event admittedly but a bit of a sham.

Twitter sources are saying that the team cars had good time updates and that it was the TV feed that was failing to show them. We've not heard any of the riders complaining they weren't getting time checks so maybe there's some truth in this.

1
1
Silver badge
Coat

read the small print

I'll bet it says that they can support "up to" 100 olympic cyclists...

2
0

I'm watching Dressage (not my choice) at Greenwich park next week. Hope the Three coverage is working well, I'm expecting to saturate their coverage or fall asleep - I haven't decided yet.

0
0

It is not sup rising the race goes overt the Surrey hills and part of the route was along Staple lane and there is a break in the circuit their,I know I drive to work that way everyday and get cut off!

1
0
Silver badge
FAIL

O2 for the yanks

Think AT&T right after the iPhone launch for the network quality for O2.

2
0
Silver badge

Twitter isn't the main culprit

I was at the race - outside Harrods rather than Box Hill, and a lot of people were trying to watch TV footage of the race on the BBC Olympics app on their iPhones and Androids, not surprisingly without much success.

0
0
FAIL

Surely they have the concept of a priority device,

that gets preferential treatment by base stations, that these GPS devices could have used?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

science guy

People are jerks now. They go outside so they can watch crappy quality TV on their little 4 inch phone of slightly bigger tablet. Makes them feel like scientists or something.

0
0
Boffin

Geeky tech question

Is there no priority flag in the mobile protocol that says that 'My data is more important than yours' which the base station can use to disconnect as many twitters as necessary?

0
0

O2 Stratford to Liverpool Street

I have had O2 for three years and there has never been full coverage on the little railway line in that obscure part of the world through which trains run from Stratford to London. Phone calls cut off as you get close to Liverpool Street. When I complained I was told the coverage was good.

They put the Olympic Park there now and there is still scrappy coverage, just even more people know about it.

0
0
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: O2 Stratford to Liverpool Street

Yes, I also get borderline zero reception on that line with O2. It's sad. When I told O2, they told me they spend £1m a day improving their network.

I suggested they spend more.

C.

0
0

O2, is it?

The fact that spokespeople have suggested not using their mobes except in 'urgent' or 'necessary' situations makes me want to organise a tweeting flashmob at all Olympic events.

Of course people are going to tweet and use Facebook at these events, they're probably the most interesting thing to happen to the users in an age (and that's not a dig - if I was there, I would tweet, update my FB status and check in using Foursquare. Think of the pointage on that!). Of course they want to record the events for posterity. If people are taking photos and they have Dropbox synced up those photos will be going up to 'the cloud' as well, so the networks can't blame unexpected usage.

They need to cope; beef it up however that's done, and expect people to use the service they provide. It's not rocket science, is it?

0
0

I was at the junction of the A3 and the A244 to Esher. I got the best information from another spectator using an FM radio. No capacity worries there!

0
0
FAIL

I had train delays in Stratford a week prior to the Olympics and you'd think that just a week before the big event I'd be able to get a mobile signal to call my wife and tell her? Nope. Not a thing. I had to walk away from Stratford before I picked a signal up so O2 not having the capacity over at box hill doesn't surprise me. If they are asking people to stop using services then they have failed as mobile carrier network.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.