O2 leaves travellers in the lurch
Callers left speechless in numerous languages
Updated A mere day after cutting data access for domestic users, O2 has managed to leave those customers travelling abroad without even a voice service to keep them connected.
The problem surfaced last night, and doesn't seem to be affecting all users, though some are reporting they've been cut off from voice and data connectivity since around 22.00. A few have claimed to have received e-mail contact from the operator saying the service could be down for anther two days.
The GSM protocol requires several contacts with the home operator's infrastructure when roaming, not least in authenticating the user's SIM and routing data connections though the home network. So the fault could lie in any of half a dozen places, and the operator isn't being very forthcoming in narrowing down those options.
It's been a bad week for O2: UK users only got their data connectivity back yesterday after failing to get IP addresses for a few days, a fault which really shouldn't have existed if appropriate backups were in place.
Upsetting roaming customers is going to cost the company a lot more than dodgy data connections. Roaming customers not only generate a lot of revenue by making calls - particularly if they roam outside the controlling influence of the EU - they also tend to be the most profitable of customers even when they're at home.
Multiple problems so close in time, and over the summer, could indicate a lack of backup facilities and staff, or perhaps it's just really appalling luck. ®
Update: O2 has finally been in touch, with an underwhelming statement that tells us almost nothing, but at least they claim to be sorry: “We are aware of an issue currently affecting customers who are roaming in certain countries. We have identified the cause of the problem and are applying a fix which we hope will restore service for these affected customers as soon as possible. We are very sorry for this loss of service.”
@AC 27/07/09 07:12 - T&Cs be damned
When you have services carried out, you have rights against the trader under the Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982/ Common Law Scotland. This provides that work should be carried out with reasonable care & skill, for a reasonable charge (unless the price is fixed by contract), and within a reasonable time (unless the time scale is fixed by contract). It also provides that any goods & materials supplied as part of the service should be of a satisfactory quality i.e. free from defects. If the trader has failed to fulfil the above requirements then he should come back and rectify the problem, without additional cost.
You can't sign away your legal rights (as a consumer) and any T&Cs which attempted to do so would very likely be deemed unfair, and thus unenforcable, in UK courts.
Any compensation is likely to be negligible though.
I lost service for three hours in the UK on Friday - it is very frustrating.
I disagree with the above comment...
I work for one of O2's competition, in network operations. I fail to imagine any fault on any service that I am on call for right now resulting in such a long, sustained outage, of the type described, and I do devote a considerable amount of time towards trying to dream up such scenario's.
For a bit of balance, I can imagine faults and knock on effects that could lead to the data issues on O2 the other day. Resilient AAA services and IP address management for a mobile data network is an incredibly difficult beast to get right, especially when the aggresive nature of the iPhone and its PDP setup retries is thrown into the mix.
O2 may have been removed from the BT tree, but it looks like they still follow the business model...
Then continue to milk and over-subscribe the infrastructure, whilst performing pitiful maintenance, upgrades and disaster prevention/analysis.
@pctechxp - Yes I work in IT. The systems I am involved with are required real time, kind of like ummm I dunno, say a telephone network. Which is why we have multiple sites, multiple internet providers, multiple power sources and redundancy at every level. You could nuke all but one of my sites and full service would still remain.
So far JCB digger man has never managed to take down more than one at a time.
So yes, I have had systems down, but it has *never* impacted my users/customers.
I hope you would be this forgiving when stranded at Heathrow for several days because someone decided air-traffic control needed no redundancy.
Megaphone - Cos it's a more reliable form of communication than O2!