back to article Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

Customers of O2, GiffGaff and virtual operators who use Telefonica's network in the UK have been hit by a spectacular outage across the country. Transport information services have also been affected. Ericsson, whose central user database caused O2's 2012 25-hour mega-outage, told The Reg: "We are aware of the issue and are …

Alien8n
Silver badge

Not just O2

There are reports of it affecting Vodafone and EE (not so much Vodafone from what I can tell).

The Down Detector page for O2 is full of outraged people having a go at O2, but in reality there's nothing O2 can do except wait for it to be fixed. Lot's of "OMG I'M NEVER USING O2 AGAIN". Imagine their shock and horror when they discover these issues affect all mobile providers at some point. Maybe we'll see them shouting "I'M NEVER USING A MOBILE PHONE EVER AGAIN" in the future.

If you want a laugh though there's a chap on there claiming to be "Nigel from O2" who is doing some expert trolling of the outraged masses...

https://downdetector.co.uk/problems/o2/news/232190-problems-at-o2

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not just O2

I didn't realise I was using O2 until now - OMG I'M NEVER USING TESCO MOBILE AGAIN

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not just O2

If you want a laugh though there's a chap on there claiming to be "Nigel from O2" who is doing some expert trolling of the outraged masses...

https://downdetector.co.uk/problems/o2/news/232190-problems-at-o2

I like his style - particularly impressed with his insights into Falkirk

Aladdin Sane
Silver badge

Re: Not just O2

It's close to the whole "matey" style that social media drones take at the moment anyway.

Korev
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Pint

Re: Not just O2

>If you want a laugh though there's a chap on there claiming to be "Nigel from O2" who is doing some expert trolling of the outraged masses...

I liked

"Hi Matt, This is Nigel from O2.

How does the gift of christmas cheer sound! This is the season for forgiveness and we at O2 would like nothing more! :)"

One for Nigel -->

Lee D
Silver badge

Re: Not just O2

"The Down Detector page for O2 is full of outraged people having a go at O2, but in reality there's nothing O2 can do except wait for it to be fixed."

They could switch to their backup system.

Oh... you mean "nothing they WANT to pay to have in place for just such an occurrence that'll drastically affect their ability to operate if it ever happens"?

To be honest, if I were coding things, I'd make sure that when the accounting etc. database was down, that data was still kept active anyway (it's run from leased lines on the masts, not from some central location) - yeah, you might get people use data unaccounted for while you're having issues but an unannounced "we've not counted some of your data because of a problem on our end" is far better than "Oops... everything's down for everyone and there's 'nothing' we could have done about it".

This is a company with millions of customers that doesn't want to spend on a separate, isolated, failover database that doesn't get software-updated in tandem with their primary database. I have zero sympathy.

Gimme my data, or stop running a telecommunications firm. Either way, stop running it like some mom-'n'-pop outfit without any way to fail back when the primary database falls over.

tim 13

Re: Not just O2

Geraldine Wilson • an hour ago

This is serious - O2 is out in Cambridge & it's been hours! My mobile is my only point of contact & I'm ill with flu right now. What happens if I need to call the doctor, O2?

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RealityCheck Geraldine Wilson • 42 minutes ago

That's terrible news, I think without medication you will probably die, like they did in the old days. Sorry about that.

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N-O2 Geraldine Wilson • 44 minutes ago

Hi, This is Nigel from O2!

I can only apologise for this, its a terrible time to be ill around the christmas period. I will issue this as a formal complain that you feel you have caught the Flu due to our network being down!

Best wishes!

Tom Paine
Silver badge

Re: Not just O2

In the US, at least, mobile operators and VOIP services were supposed to tell customers not to rely on the service for emergency services, as the networks don't have sufficient Ma-Bell approved reliability and resilience - as of a few years ago anyway. In other words, have a landline backup if you care about 24/7/365 availability guarantees for 999 service. Trouble is that no-one thinks about that nowadays, and the mobile network's probably almost always there. (Would be interested in the number of emergency calls missed due to network outages, presumably someone somewhere tracks that number.) Bet it's an infinitesimal fraction of the total number of 999 calls.

MyffyW
Silver badge

Lack of O2

I did wonder what Project Phlogiston was... but I was afraid to ask

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not just O2

"The Down Detector page for O2 is full of outraged people having a go at O2, but in reality there's nothing O2 can do except wait for it to be fixed."

Gobsmacked by the number of upvotes this has - because O2 have outsourced something, it's not their problem and people shouldn't be annoyed with them?

FuzzyWuzzys
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Happy

Re: Not just O2

A good laugh over lunchtime, especially the "window-lickers" who think Nigel from O2 is a real O2 employee, some people just don't get sarcasm.

Alien8n
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Re: Not just O2

Fairly sure the upvotes have nothing to do with that... maybe something to do with "Nigel from O2" perhaps?

And as an IT Manager part of my job is to manage expectations. Do I want a mobile phone provider that never goes down? Yes. Do I expect my mobile phone provider to never go down? Of course not, I deal with hardware and software issues all day, expecting a mobile provider to maintain 100% uptime is like expecting politicians to never lie.

FuzzyWuzzys
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Not just O2

"..because O2 have outsourced something, it's not their problem and people shouldn't be annoyed with them?"

I bet you're one of those people who berates the platform guard at stations 'cos your train was cancelled? Sure you have a point, up to a point, but this isn't just a server room with 20 PCs running a couple of SQL Server databases. This is a huge, global f**kup by the provider, Ericsson I believe. So O2 are much like you when your heating goes out and you're waiting BG to come round and fix your boiler! Stop stressing, go outside and have a fag, come back when your nerves are calmed down.

Nick Kew
Silver badge

Re: Not just O2

There are reports of it affecting Vodafone and EE (not so much Vodafone from what I can tell).

Datapoint. I'm using EE 4G, and it's just fine.

Unlike my phone's O2, which has no data.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not just O2

"Of course not, I deal with hardware and software issues all day, expecting a mobile provider to maintain 100% uptime is like expecting politicians to never lie."

Yep, get that, your post suggested that because it was a third party behind O2, the O2 customers should be venting their annoyance at the third party.

Agreed the Nigel posts are amusing though. Like a non-real-life version of the poor guy called John Lewis who receives a lot of queries on Twitter as to where their sofa is...

m0rt
Silver badge

@alien8n Re: Not just O2

"expecting a mobile provider to maintain 100% uptime is like expecting politicians to never lie."

Poiticians never lie. They reframe your question and answer based on an entirely different paradigm.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not just O2

"I bet you're one of those people who berates the platform guard at stations 'cos your train was cancelled?"

That doesn't really work as a comparison does it? If the argument was "stop berating the poor O2 customer services rep, it isn't his fault" then that's fine, but it wasn't.

Presumably TSB customers shouldn't have been annoyed with their bank over the summer, they should be complaining to Accenture instead?

silks

Re: Not just O2

Same, I'm on EE and have had no problems either. o2 PR bull I suspect.

MrWibble
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Not just O2

Love Nigel's work!

"Hi Harry, Big fan!

We are trying our upmost to sort this and understand as a professional footballer you need to keep in contact with your many fans! Ludicrous display last night in the game!"

Problem with Arsenal is that they always try to walk it in...

Lee D
Silver badge

Re: Not just O2

Station guard?

No it's more akin to complaining to the ticket office, and then being told "Not my fault, mate, we hire the ticket machine from Job Bloggs Ltd. I'm working for <insert rail company here>. Not my problem."

If you bought a product or service from O2, your only legal, financial and customer-service recourse is to them, or an ombusdman of their industry. I don't care WHY they're having problems (whether that's that they haven't paid their bills, that their suppliers are useless, that their contractors didn't turn or, or that heavy snowfall in the Outer Hebrides stopped the consultant coming out today). That's up to their business processes to handle.

My only interaction with them would be via the service they are contracted to provide, and are failing to do so.

In the same way that no court would entertain someone saying "Well, my contractors didn't deliver the goods, so I couldn't give them to the customer who sued me" (they'd just tell them that's their issue, and irrelevant to the case, they are still bound by the contract whoever their goods come from), customer service, returns policies, etc. work the same. They would actually get sued by the customer, and then they would have to sue the supplier to get their money back if that was the case.

You only have to deal with the people you bought the good or service from. You NEVER have to deal with any one of their contractors or manufacturers. Otherwise quite literally you'd be given the run-around between 50 different companies who all do one bit of the work, in order to fob you off as long as possible.

Bought phone from shop and it doesn't work? Take it back to the shop. It's up to them to argue with Samsung/Apple.

Bought phone service from O2 and it doesn't work? You shout at O2. They can blame anyone they like, it's their responsibility, choice of contractor and problem to resolve, not mine.

Otherwise, you'll literally end up being told "Yeah, well, your local mast is run by Bloggs Masts Ltd, who we paid to run it. We don't care. Speak to them."

Dal90

Re: Not just O2

>Ma-Bell approved reliability and resilience - as of a few years ago anyway. In other words, have a landline backup if you care about 24/7/365 availability guarantees for 999 service.

Outside of core downtown areas, you haven't had Ma-Bell approved reliability since the early 1990s.

Better than the cable company to be sure. But the neighborhood concentrators used to reduce the number of copper lines running back to central offices and expand the availability of DSL rely on batteries that die in 24-48 hours. And I live in an area that hurricanes or ice storms produce widespread one to two week long power outages one to two times a decade.

My state has been slowly building out its own fiberoptic network connecting public buildings for this reason (loss of reliable telecommunication service). As long as the fiber is not cut (unusual from storms, since the the power lines usually take the brunt of the hit) and you have power (generator) for the optical network terminals, voice and data will continue to work.

werdsmith
Silver badge

Re: Not just O2

Bought phone service from O2 and it doesn't work? You shout at O2.

No, don't shout, whinge or whine at them. You will only get a service rep anyway And it just makes you look a dick. You can usually get much further by dealing with them in a businesslike way.

Those people who have been conditioned make a huge fuss at every little thing are just bell ends.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: @alien8n Not just O2

m0rt,

"...Poiticians never lie. They reframe your question and answer based on an entirely different paradigm. ..."

100% Incorrect with our current politicians.

The bunch of nomarks we have currently (all parties) are not even capable of 'reframing the question and answering based on a different paradigm' ..... therefore ..... they lie.!!!

Proof ..... Brexit (both sides) !!!

cosmic caper

Re: Not just O2

this is why I still have a land line at home for emergency use

Telboy

Re: Not just O2

If O2 is down 999 and 112 calls will go to another network, try it, take your sim out and screen lock your phone and the dial the emergency services.

therealmav

Re: @alien8n Not just O2

Poiticians never lie. They reframe your question and answer based on an entirely different paradigm.

i call bullshit on that... evidence = boris johnson

oh and everything the leave campaign said

TomG

Re: Not just O2

That infinitesimal fraction may have resulted in deaths. The fact that the number is infinitesimal is small comfort to the deceased person loved ones. Yes, a functioning land line has its use.

FlamingDeath
Bronze badge

Re: Not just O2

Ref: Nigel from O2

This may seem like harmless fun, trolling those who are distressed, even if the thing that is causing the distress is imagined.

Could Nigel from O2 be a George Duke-Cohan in the making?

First it starts with animal cruelty

Then arson

Then upping their game to something more thrilling

If you're someone who gets enjoyment from other peoples suffering, even if it is just a trivial thing, then you are basically a sociopath. How far will you take it?

Oh, and there is no cure for you. You are what you are

Dead inside

FlamingDeath
Bronze badge

Re: Not just O2

Poe's law in the flesh

Satire is lost in text form, it is lost even further when it is idiots who are the subject matter, namely the moron masses

gerdesj
Silver badge
FAIL

Pffft

32M customers in a country with a total population of 66M. I hope the PM is requesting a report on what happened, that thing counts as national infrastructure.

katrinab
Silver badge

Re: Pffft

32m phones, which is not quite the same thing as 32m people, given that there are more phones than people in this country. I have two phones. TfL has 19,500 bus stops and 8,000 buses, and they have their own phones.

wolfetone
Silver badge

Re: Pffft

"32m phones, which is not quite the same thing as 32m people,"

Exactly, drug dealers use 2 or 3 phones.

MyffyW
Silver badge

Re: Pffft

Vodafone have recently been strapping SIM cards to cows butts with an outfit called MooCall, so you can add the number of pregnant bovines to the overall phone count too.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Pffft

metoo - wife, gf1 and gf2

hey, the simple life is just too boring :-)

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Pffft

Your wife has two phones as well. I know this because I'm on with her right now.

AndyS

Re: Pffft

*at least* two phones.

J.G.Harston
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Pffft

32m out of 66m, that means 34m are ok, so YOU LOST, GET OVER IT!!!

wolfetone
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Pffft

"32m out of 66m, that means 34m are ok, so YOU LOST, GET OVER IT!!!"

TITSUP means TITSUP!

Danny 14
Silver badge

Re: Pffft

doesnt the smart electric meter network run on O2 aswell? Good job the things are useless.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Pffft

> Your wife has two phones as well. I know this because I'm on with her right now.

Well, hurry up and get off it. You're interupting us, and he'll be home shortly.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Pffft

It is less than half of the electorate so they don't count.

Jay 2

Work mobile on O2 and my own on GiffGaff. So no data for me. Though I'm stuck in an office all day with web and wifi, so not the end of the world. Though the lack of calls/texts earlier was somewhat annoying.

I now await the examples of rage from users on Twitter who have based their entire existence on O2 infrastructure... If it's that important, have some sort of backup.

Derezed
Trollface

Backup?

I based my entire existence on O2 infrastructure, but fortunately I have a backup mobile infrastructure in my back pocket...stupid normal people probably don't.

Commswonk
Silver badge

@ Jay 2: I now await the examples of rage from users on Twitter who have based their entire existence on O2 infrastructure... If it's that important, have some sort of backup you need help. Urgently.

tiggity
Silver badge

Re: Backup?

I have backup phone on a different network...

.. backup phone is dismal spec, but at least I can communicate

Ironically main phone is dual SIM .. but did not have SIM tool with me when I found the problem (had not transferred emergency kit (bag with SIM tool, spare SIMS of 2 networks, external charger & lead) to cold weather coat pockets! & no access to anything similarly small & pointy to get the sim slot open)

So my being prepared turned out to be a bit of a fiasco. due to key items sitting in pocket of lightweight coat, not the coat I was wearing!

Ben1892
Trollface

Re: Backup?

I don't use any cloud infrastructure, I run my own mobile network on-prem. That way I know where the problem is and who I can shout at, rather than relying on someone else to fix it.

TimMaher
Coat

Re: Backup?

A brief word of advice. Hang a paper-clip on your keyring. That solves the socket opener problem. As to the rest, maybe buy a burner SIM at the station or somewhere? Only if it’s really urgent.

I’ll get my coat. It’s the light weight one for Summer wear.

Soruk

Personal line is on giffgaff, and since we have to sort out our own work mobile (we get a mobile allowance for this) I deliberately put it on a completely different network. Still, I'm fscked if both EE and O2 go down at the same time.

ShortLegs

Re: Backup?

@TimMaher

[i]"I’ll get my coat. It’s the light weight one for Summer wear."[/i]

ROFLMAO :) Wish I could give more than the one upvote

David Paul Morgan

Re: Backup?

well, dual-sim OnePlus6T here...

my main data sim is O2, my 2nd sim for work is, you guessed it, O2.

My JT sim for international roaming (and does have a bit of data in it) is actually in my Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet, so cue my 'Dom Jolley I'm on the phone' moment...

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