CUSTOMERS WHO rely on the O2 mobile network woke up to a whole crock of bork this morning, as an ongoing major outage affects customers on the UK number two provider and its dependencies.
Down Detector shows a sharp rise in customers reporting outages since around 0445 GMT today. Some voice calls are getting through but all 4G and SMS services are completely jiggered.
Even though you many not be on O2 yourself, this could still seriously affect your morning, because lots of connected devices rely on communication over the network. Londoners, for example, are finding that the Countdown timers at bus stops are all crippled as they can't communicate with London's transport executive, TfL.
Connected cars and cabs are also being crippled.
It doesn't end there, because some major MVNO (virtual networks) that piggyback O2 signals are experiencing the same disruption. These include subsidiary Giff Gaff, and third-party networks, notably GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile and Lycamobile.
Other MVNOs potentially affected include C4C, Champions, CUniq, Fonome, KC, TalkTalk, Torica, Toggle, Truephone, and 365.
In total, around 32 million customers are affected.
At just after 0730 GMT, the company tweeted the following message:
We are aware our customers are unable to use data this morning. Our technical teams are working on the issue with high priority. We are really sorry and working as hard and as fast as we can to fix this. Please keep an eye on our status checker: https://t.co/O8fb26fNIv— O2 in the UK (@O2) December 6, 2018
At 1000 the company confirmed it has found the source of the problem but has no timings for a fix:
Outage Update: One of our 3rd party suppliers has identified a software issue in their system. Our technical teams are working extremely hard to resolve this. We'd encourage you to use Wi-Fi wherever you can and we are really sorry.— O2 in the UK (@O2) December 6, 2018
The third party in question is Ericsson, whose infrastructure powers a number of global networks resulting in major outages for other networks including those in Japan and Australia.
It's thought that the problem is down to some sort of software drop on the network which has gone wrong. We can't help wondering if they've tried to install Windows 10 Build 1809?
To compound matters, O2 has confirmed that the strain on its voice network caused by increased traffic (ie people complaining) is having a knock-on effect on the ability to make calls too.
As of 1600, a new statement suggests that although the outage is a "number one priority", they're not much closer to a fix than they were when we first reported the bork at 0730 this morning.
This is not O2's first outage and it won't be the last, but it is the first major incident for a mobile network for months, and easily the most widespread, not to mention longest.
We'll keep this story updated with the latest developments. Just remember - this is a test. Do not give in to it. Do not attempt to converse with colleagues or read a book. Normality will resume at some point, we imagine. μ
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