O2 customers saying O-no, thanks to iPhone

Looks like AT&T isn't the only carrier than can't handle the iPhone and its data hungry users. Since UK based, O2, got the iPhone, their network has slowly started to see issues. Customers have been experiencing dropped calls, the inability to make calls, and weak data connections.

According to Financial Times, Ronan Dunne, the head of O2, has publicly apologized to customers for the network's shortcomings. He says that he, himself, has been disappointed with the network performance since the summer. He goes on to say that the company is making progress towards fixing the underlying issues, but wants it to be known that the issue is not widespread, and is mostly confined to London. To rectify the issue, O2 is in the process of installing 200 additional base stations, as well as working with Nokia Siemens, their infrastructure supplier, to ensure that the network can better manage voice and data traffic without crumbling under the weight of data heavy smartphones.

This whole situation begs the question of who's to blame. Now that we see both AT&T and O2 having issues with the iPhone, is carrier neglect the reason for all these network problems, or is the iPhone just a problem causing device? It's interesting to note that Vodaphone is taking the "Verizon stance," claiming that their network would cope much better with the smartphone boom. Regardless, O2 is putting in the effort to rectify the situation; they deny nothing, and realize that they need to fix the problem to better serve their customers. Hopefully AT&T will follow suit.

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I used to work at o2 a couple of years back and i can tell you there network was crap then and from people who still work there they still havent done much to improve it. The only network which is capable of any heavy usage is vodafone.

iPhone popularized data plans for a phone to the mass market.
Phone companies are ill-equipped.

Hence, problems happen.

I'm currently on o2 in Nottingham, my network is perfect, I have never had any problems with calls and 3g is generally running at 1.3mb. Happy.

Ive been with O2 ever since there was an O2 in the UK. I always got a decent incentive for an upgrade but once O2 had the iPhone they didn't really care about anything else. For the first time in 10 years I am no longer tied to a contract as my 18 month O2 one expired 6 months ago. I'm going to get the X10 next but I'm not going to O2, they may no longer have their precious iPhone exclusivity but they showed what they do when they get that type of power.

I live in the UK and have an iphone on O2 and i can honestly say ive never had any of these issue's. I live in Leeds which is one of the biggest cities in the UK too. Maybe the infrastructure is better up here since O2 are only based down the road!

I guess this must only be some areas! I am happy with the service I have received from o2. Its a shame they couldn't have been more prepared though!

It is interesting that all this news regarding iPhone service provider's network failing paint this picture of an iPhone user being extremely "data hungry." I wonder what kind of research has been done to backup this claim that iPhone users naturally consume more data and are more addicted to be on their phones than any other smartphone user.

I'm not familiar with the technical aspects of running a wireless communications network. Seems like some ideas lean towards there being something wrong with the way the iPhone is operating on these networks. I tend to believe it has more to do with the iPhone's popularity. When these networks get the iPhone they probably attract a lot of new customers. Older customers that were on simple cellphones probably upgraded to the iPhone as well. The provider was not prepared and could not handle these new data intense customers.

O2 has an excuse, since they just got the iPhone. AT&T, on the other hand, has had 2 years to fix these issues.

How about refunding some of the money we've paid you, O2, when you haven't really provided a stable service for months.

bmaher said,
How about refunding some of the money we've paid you, O2, when you haven't really provided a stable service for months.

Most cell phone service agreements specifically state that they do not guarantee service unfortunately. You should be glad that they're working to improve the service. How long has AT&T had the iPhone? And they still won't admit there's a problem? It is a big difference.

Wow, I never realised it was that bad. We must be one of the lucky few then, as we've never experienced the call issues. I can't really comment about the data connection, as I never use it; it's always connected to the home Wi-Fi. One time I did use the 3G data connection at my nan's house though, it was snail-pace slow, but that's down mostly because the phone only had a two bar signal at best, and 3G is generally slow anyway.

MightyJordan said,
Wow, I never realised it was that bad. We must be one of the lucky few then, as we've never experienced the call issues. I can't really comment about the data connection, as I never use it; it's always connected to the home Wi-Fi. One time I did use the 3G data connection at my nan's house though, it was snail-pace slow, but that's down mostly because the phone only had a two bar signal at best, and 3G is generally slow anyway.

Just ran a speedtest on my HTC Magic, with 2 bars of 3G signal. I got 385ms ping, 1671kbps down, 364kbps up.

3G is not slow

EDIT - Vodafone UK, no problems ever with 3G.

I had to disable 3g altogether on my phone just to be able to have a conversation. Apologies and promises are all well and good - but when I am paying £35 per month, it just isn't acceptable.

Already cancelled my contract (only 2 months left) and moved to a different network. No doubt when my new phone arrives I will find they are all as bad as each other...

Duality said,
I had to disable 3g altogether on my phone just to be able to have a conversation. Apologies and promises are all well and good - but when I am paying �35 per month, it just isn't acceptable.

Already cancelled my contract (only 2 months left) and moved to a different network. No doubt when my new phone arrives I will find they are all as bad as each other...


Yes its unfortunate they couldn't fulfil their side of the agreement, but its rare to see a company accept their shortcomings and apologise, its a good start to say the least, more-so than can be said for AT&T.

TSO said,
Yes its unfortunate they couldn't fulfil their side of the agreement, but its rare to see a company accept their shortcomings and apologise, its a good start to say the least, more-so than can be said for AT&T.

Indeed. AND they're investing in improving their network and resolving this issue. Another thing AT&T failed to even attempt doing.

I hope it does happen to Verizon, just so they'd stfu!.. but im sure the Load of the Droid will do that.. Once more people buy it that is..

I will laugh my ****ing ass off when it does! +1, no, not +1, =infinity! I cannot wait to see Verizon's ****ty CDMA network fall down past it's knees! The iPhone will kill Verizon for good! I used to think I didn't want Verizon having them, and now I change my mind, all iPhone users should switch to Verizon once they can use that new iPhone on their network! When everybody leaves at&t, at&t will become the fastest again because they already are fast with the iPhone just a little spotty. When Apple considers at&t again, the network will be so powerful and well maintained, it will take the iPhone like a piece of cake. Why? Because only at&t has experienced how the iPhone can be so data-intensive.

Electric Jolt said,
I will laugh my ****ing ass off when it does! +1, no, not +1, =infinity! I cannot wait to see Verizon's ****ty CDMA network fall down past it's knees! The iPhone will kill Verizon for good! I used to think I didn't want Verizon having them, and now I change my mind, all iPhone users should switch to Verizon once they can use that new iPhone on their network! When everybody leaves at&t, at&t will become the fastest again because they already are fast with the iPhone just a little spotty. When Apple considers at&t again, the network will be so powerful and well maintained, it will take the iPhone like a piece of cake. Why? Because only at&t has experienced how the iPhone can be so data-intensive.

LOL!

Electric Jolt said,
I will laugh my ****ing ass off when it does! +1, no, not +1, =infinity! I cannot wait to see Verizon's ****ty CDMA network fall down past it's knees! The iPhone will kill Verizon for good! I used to think I didn't want Verizon having them, and now I change my mind, all iPhone users should switch to Verizon once they can use that new iPhone on their network! When everybody leaves at&t, at&t will become the fastest again because they already are fast with the iPhone just a little spotty. When Apple considers at&t again, the network will be so powerful and well maintained, it will take the iPhone like a piece of cake. Why? Because only at&t has experienced how the iPhone can be so data-intensive.

That's really just quite sad.

Electric Jolt said,
I will laugh my ****ing ass off when it does! +1, no, not +1, =infinity! I cannot wait to see Verizon's ****ty CDMA network fall down past it's knees! The iPhone will kill Verizon for good! I used to think I didn't want Verizon having them, and now I change my mind, all iPhone users should switch to Verizon once they can use that new iPhone on their network! When everybody leaves at&t, at&t will become the fastest again because they already are fast with the iPhone just a little spotty. When Apple considers at&t again, the network will be so powerful and well maintained, it will take the iPhone like a piece of cake. Why? Because only at&t has experienced how the iPhone can be so data-intensive.

Wow. Just... Wow... That really is sad.

I would like to point out that Verizon has been investing a LOT more into their network than AT&T, so comparing the two from that standpoint would be a mistake.

I doubt any mobile network was prepared for the iPhone. All they were broadcasting before the iPhone was WAP pages. Now their network is expected to broadcast full web pages, youtube videos, skype calls, push notifications and whatever other data apps you decide to install.

It's going to take a couple of years for their networks to catch up, but by then we'll be expecting mobile tv (I know it already exists in various forms, but in a few years mobile tv will be one of the major selling factors of these smartphones) and a lot more cloud computing type data (documents, music, videos in the cloud). So they will no doubt always be playing catch up. This is mainly because its not profitable to build a network which has spare capacity, the money isn't being used! (and the hardware costs so much).

DomZ said,
I doubt any mobile network was prepared for the iPhone. All they were broadcasting before the iPhone was WAP pages. Now their network is expected to broadcast full web pages, youtube videos, skype calls, push notifications and whatever other data apps you decide to install.

It's going to take a couple of years for their networks to catch up, but by then we'll be expecting mobile tv (I know it already exists in various forms, but in a few years mobile tv will be one of the major selling factors of these smartphones) and a lot more cloud computing type data (documents, music, videos in the cloud). So they will no doubt always be playing catch up. This is mainly because its not profitable to build a network which has spare capacity, the money isn't being used! (and the hardware costs so much).

You obviously never used a nokia s60 phone, as they have been doing everything the iphone does and more for 7 or 8 years now, and the networks coped.

The only failure they (the network providers) have, is how the uptake of the iphone and how much it a connection to the internet. The amount of iphones out there all requiring internet connections for video streaming over 3g or 3.5g is what is effectively killing them.

Every single provider would suffer the same irrelevant of what they say if they had the original exclusive contract that o2 had, now that the exclusivity has gone and all providers now carry the iphone, the load should in theory ease off o2 as people switch to other networks for it, but then those networks will experience themselves to some degree the same problems that o2 have faced and still are.

Whether they realise it or not, we live in an online world these days, and the data usage is only going to get more and more as time goes on.

I am on o2 myself and my experience is 3.5G (as high as it goes at present) I get approx 7-10k download speed through my handset, calls not able to be connected I make ("Network Busy" message on screen) and txt messages that seem to take up to 6 hrs some days to get through opposed to seconds or minutes.

I personally don't want to leave o2 if can be helped when my contract up for renewal, but the network definitely isn't coping and the handsets they offer seem to be getting less and less. I just hope that they can sort all these issues out

YouWhat said,
You obviously never used a nokia s60 phone, as they have been doing everything the iphone does and more for 7 or 8 years now, and the networks coped.

The only failure they (the network providers) have, is how the uptake of the iphone and how much it a connection to the internet. The amount of iphones out there all requiring internet connections for video streaming over 3g or 3.5g is what is effectively killing them.

Every single provider would suffer the same irrelevant of what they say if they had the original exclusive contract that o2 had, now that the exclusivity has gone and all providers now carry the iphone, the load should in theory ease off o2 as people switch to other networks for it, but then those networks will experience themselves to some degree the same problems that o2 have faced and still are.

Whether they realise it or not, we live in an online world these days, and the data usage is only going to get more and more as time goes on.

I am on o2 myself and my experience is 3.5G (as high as it goes at present) I get approx 7-10k download speed through my handset, calls not able to be connected I make ("Network Busy" message on screen) and txt messages that seem to take up to 6 hrs some days to get through opposed to seconds or minutes.

I personally don't want to leave o2 if can be helped when my contract up for renewal, but the network definitely isn't coping and the handsets they offer seem to be getting less and less. I just hope that they can sort all these issues out

Ha! This was questionable from the very beginning. So I did a quick search on the "S60". The first phone to use this was the Nokia 7650 and was released in Q2 of 2002 - so 7 years. This "smartphone" is no comparison to the iPhone nor any other real smartphone of today. To list the "smartphone" capabilities:

E-mail and MMS client
Organizer and SyncML
HSCSD and GPRS
Java and EPOC application support

Yeah , not very impressive. So anything after the first sentence is based on misinformation, sorry.

as you said yourself... 7 years ago and it has progressed a lot since then, so the mis information i think you find is from yourself.... Nokia and Symbian was the leaders in the technology field of smart phones for several years, they even had the copy and paste feature back then, which according to tv ads, is only on the iphone...... It makes me laugh how the tilt sensors, the afore mentioned copy and paste etc that apple advertise to make out as must have features that are only there on the iphone, have been incorporated into smartphones for years, the copy and paste was there from the begining in the nokia s60 phones, the tilt sensor 1st appeared in 5500, shortly before the n95 was released and this is just 2 examples.

The 7650 by todays standards is a glorified calculator when compared to the N and E series of phones. Next time do more than a quick search, you will find out alot more information and facts.

The boom is not due to the features of the iPhone I believe, I would have thought it was the market it is targeted at; late teens/young adults who use the phone for the more network intensive things (viewing videos for instance).

Most smartphones before the iPhone were targeted at the business user, who often used their phone for more mature content (word processors, organisers, which used less network bandwidth)

Minimoose said,
The boom is not due to the features of the iPhone I believe, I would have thought it was the market it is targeted at; late teens/young adults who use the phone for the more network intensive things (viewing videos for instance).

Most smartphones before the iPhone were targeted at the business user, who often used their phone for more mature content (word processors, organisers, which used less network bandwidth)


Minimoose said,
The boom is not due to the features of the iPhone I believe, I would have thought it was the market it is targeted at; late teens/young adults who use the phone for the more network intensive things (viewing videos for instance).

Most smartphones before the iPhone were targeted at the business user, who often used their phone for more mature content (word processors, organisers, which used less network bandwidth)

That is a VERY good point. Good post.

YouWhat said,

You obviously never used a nokia s60 phone, as they have been doing everything the iphone does and more for 7 or 8 years now, and the networks coped.

The only failure they (the network providers) have, is how the uptake of the iphone and how much it a connection to the internet. The amount of iphones out there all requiring internet connections for video streaming over 3g or 3.5g is what is effectively killing them.

Every single provider would suffer the same irrelevant of what they say if they had the original exclusive contract that o2 had, now that the exclusivity has gone and all providers now carry the iphone, the load should in theory ease off o2 as people switch to other networks for it, but then those networks will experience themselves to some degree the same problems that o2 have faced and still are.

Whether they realise it or not, we live in an online world these days, and the data usage is only going to get more and more as time goes on.

I am on o2 myself and my experience is 3.5G (as high as it goes at present) I get approx 7-10k download speed through my handset, calls not able to be connected I make ("Network Busy" message on screen) and txt messages that seem to take up to 6 hrs some days to get through opposed to seconds or minutes.

I personally don't want to leave o2 if can be helped when my contract up for renewal, but the network definitely isn't coping and the handsets they offer seem to be getting less and less. I just hope that they can sort all these issues out

I would agree with this to some degree; for sometime now other networks such as 3 have had significant mobile internet usage in mind so I believe they would have been a better carrier but then they would have never paid the $$$ for a handset which is all Apple really cares about...

I bought a Nokia N73 (it was a fantastic phone btw!) in 2006 on the 3 network I think which was bundled with the original Yahoo! Go app along with 512MB of bandwidth p/m which was quite unheard of back then.

They soon rolled out the X-Series thingy which focused on data intensive applications such as podcasting, video streaming and VoIP calls.

Coverage is great as they share network resouces with other carriers whereas O2 is a billy no-mates network which has to bare everything.

It quite clearly is the fault of the network. They have a poor infrastructure - and as soon as devices start putting pressure on it the cracks begin to show. The networks need to update and increase what infrastructure they have as well as installing new stuff.

Lets also not blame the iPhone... there are many data hungry smart phones, several of which o2 have the exclusive or dominant market - Palm Pre to name just one other.

It is good to see, however, that o2 are prepared to do something about the poor service. If only other carriers and companies like BT could follow suite.

It quite clearly is the fault of the network.

Yes, even O2 themselves take their responsibility and acknowledge it:
“Where we haven’t met our own high standards then there’s no question, we apologise to customers for that fact,” said Mr Dunne. “But it would be wrong to say that O2 has failed its customers en masse.”

He added that “any short-term blip” in O2’s “network reputation” would be “more than addressed” by three solutions to the difficulties.

O2 has been working with Nokia Siemens Networks, its infrastructure supplier, on software modifications that will ensure it can better manage the combination of voice and data traffic on its network.

Second, it is installing 200 additional mobile base stations in London, which will increase the traffic load the network can bear.

And third, O2 is liaising with handset manufacturers, including Apple and Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, to learn about applications that could place heavy demands on the network.

Mr Dunne said O2̢۪s network performance in London had begun to improve in December.


Almost everything here is an acknowledgment it's their issue, so blaming the iPhone would be a mistake, and go against O2 themselves. :-p O2 is basically saying "yes, we need to address the traffic capacity on the network as well as our understanding of the new kinds of traffic intensive phones". It's good to read about a company not blaming others.