Rating: Doesn’t look good ahead of the Olympics
UK mobile network operator, O2 (which is part of the Telefónica group) suffered a major network outage when its 2G and 3G services went down yesterday [July 11th 2012]. According to Press reports hundreds of thousands of its 23 million UK customer base were left without the use of their mobile phones. The official 02 network status web page here says, “Following previous updates, our tests now show that all our 2G and 3G services have been fully restored for affected customers. If any customers are still having problems we recommend they turn their phone off and on again. Once again, we are sorry.” However, Askar Sheibani, CEO of telecoms repair company, Comtek, claims that O2 simply took its eye off the ball in its haste to launch 4G services.Sheibani says, “O2 has failed to deliver a basic service to its customers in the past few days, leaving hundreds of thousands without not only data services, but also basic call connectivity and the ability to send text messages.
To have an entire network down is a poor show for the company, and does not bode well for an operator who plans to deliver 4G services in a year’s time.”
That’s a bit harsh but then Sheibani does have a point. Existing O2 customers can’t have been too impressed.
As he says, “Mobile phones are an increasingly essential part of day-to-day life for consumers and businesses alike, and incidents such as this are simply unacceptable.”
This sentence neatly summarises most observers’ viewpoint, “For too many businesses, simple practices such as repairing and maintaining existing technology gets overlooked, in favour of newer fads.”
Sheibani continues, “Unfortunately this ‘throw-away’ culture is not just wasteful and inefficient, but it is also detrimental to the service the consumer receives – as O2 customers have witnessed in the past 24 hours.”
He’s right. Existing customers cannot have been too impressed by the sudden loss of their service.
As Sheibani observes, “Whilst O2 has paid the price this time round, other network providers following a similar path would do well to take heed of the warning signs, and ensure their existing infrastructure is up to scratch.”
What Comtek is unsubtly hinting at is that whilst investing in innovation and developing new technologies is a highly sensible business plan, someone somewhere has taken their eye off the ball.
And guess what? Companies like Comtek specialise in keeping things going.
GoMobile News isn’t sure that pointing out O2′s dismal failure is a good idea for a supplier hoping to get extra work, though.