Good­will ges­ture for mil­lions of O2 cus­tomers hit by out­age

The Guardian - - NEWS - Mark Sweney Me­dia busi­ness cor­re­spon­dent

The mo­bile phone provider O2 said yesterday that its 25 mil­lion UK cus­tomers will get up to two days’ credit in com­pen­sa­tion as a good­will ges­ture af­ter a UK-wide out­age that left them un­able to get on­line.

The tech­ni­cal fault, which re­sulted in the 3G and 4G ser­vices go­ing down and also had an im­pact on many peo­ple’s abil­ity to make or re­ceive calls, af­fected mil­lions of users on the UK’s sec­ond largest mo­bile net­work. The out­age be­gan at about 5am on Thurs­day, with 3G ca­pa­bil­ity re­stored at 9.30pm and the 4G net­work re­stored at 3.30am yesterday.

By way of apol­ogy, O2 is to of­fer its pay monthly and small and medi­um­sized busi­ness and mo­bile broad­band cus­tomers a credit of two days’ worth of charges by the end of Jan­uary.

Pay-as-you-go O2 cus­tomers will get a 10% credit when top­ping up in the new year. And pay-as-you-go mo­bile broad­band cus­tomers will also get a 10% dis­count on a bolt-on pur­chase – ad­di­tional call, text or data bun­dles that can be pur­chased at any time.

“We’re very sorry about yesterday’s data is­sue,” said a spokesman for O2. “We un­der­stand how im­por­tant it is to stay con­nected, es­pe­cially at this time of year.”

The out­age also af­fected about 7 mil­lion cus­tomers of ser­vices in­clud­ing Tesco Mo­bile, Gif­f­gaff, Sky Mo­bile and Ly­camo­bile, which use the O2 net­work. It will be up to those providers to de­cide if they will make any kind of sim­i­lar of­fer to their cus­tomers.

Sky Mo­bile has al­ready sent a mes­sage to its cus­tomers award­ing them a free day of data usage to make up for the out­age. “We’re re­ally sorry for the is­sues you ex­pe­ri­enced on Sky Mo­bile yesterday,” the com­pany said in a text to all its cus­tomers. “We’re giv­ing you a day of free un­lim­ited UK data this Satur­day 8 De­cem­ber, so you can catch up on all the things you missed. You don’t need to do a thing.”

A spokes­woman for Tesco Mo­bile, which has more than 5 mil­lion UK cus­tomers, said that it would also be of­fer­ing some sort of com­pen­sa­tion to cus­tomers.

It is not yet clear whether mo­bile vir­tual net­work op­er­a­tors such as Sky and Tesco will seek some form of com­mer­cial rec­om­pense from O2 be­cause of the out­age. O2 said it would be closely mon­i­tor­ing data ser­vices over the com­ing days and promised to carry out a re­view to un­der­stand what went wrong.

O2’s equip­ment sup­plier, the Swedish firm Eric­s­son, said its soft­ware had caused the prob­lem. “A re­view will be car­ried out with Eric­s­son to un­der­stand fully what hap­pened,” the O2 spokesman said.

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