Feeds

O2, Tesco Mobile go titsup for 220,000+ Brits in 13-HOUR 3G cockup

GiffGaff also falls down, sky still above sea, water still wet, etc

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Nearly quarter of a million O2 customers struggled to make calls, send texts and use their mobile internet connections yesterday.

The outage, triggered during upgrade work on the operator's 2G and 3G systems, also hit Tesco Mobile and came only a day after O2-owned GiffGaff suffered similar problems.

Tesco and GiffGaff are both virtual mobile operators camped on O2's phone network, so they share some of their parental infrastructure. Both had partial outages this week, though GiffGaff was struggling back to its feet just as O2 stumbled.

O2 attributes the outage to "routine upgrade work" leading to "unexpected congestion" resulting in "intermittent problems" lasting all day, but isn't saying any more. It claims one per cent of its customers fell off the network.

The characteristically open GiffGaff has admitted to botching an MSC/HRL (Mobile Switching Centre, Home Location Register) upgrade which led to overloading on Wednesday evening, but GiffGaff was up and running well before O2 dropped out.

GiffGaff doesn't share O2's MSC/HLR so it would seem the problem is unrelated, if coincidental. Tesco Mobile, which is half owned by O2, does share more infrastructure with its parent and Tesco customers were hit with problems lasting all Thursday.

O2 pegs the outage running from 1045AM BST to 1145PM BST - 13 hours of intermittent coverage hitting "around 1 per cent" of customers, which would be 220,000 based on their latest figures and not including those on Tesco's network.

The official line is that the problems were caused by upgrades to the 2G and 3G network, but the problems were was national so clearly nothing to do with building more base stations or pushing coverage into more homes - it was a signalling problem in the core that left customers disconnected.

And it's not the first time. Last year O2's attempt to install Ericsson's Centralized User Database led to two national outages, including the unprecedented 21 hours of down time that whacked O2 customers last July. Back then the company's chief operating officer promised: "We are not prepared to risk this happening to our customers for a third time ... performance will now be measured on customers’ confidence in our network."

Yesterday that confidence took another knock, and it will take more than canned promises to rebuild it. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.