Millions of O2 customers will have woken up to ‘no service’ warnings on Thursday, following an overnight service outage.
An estimated 32 million people on the network were left without online access – with O2 blaming it on a software issue with a third party supplier.
The network issues started shortly after 5.30am on Thursday with customers taking to social media to reveal they had no connection, even after troubleshooting their devices.
The company then issued a public statement confirming the network was down, adding it was working to sort the issue as quickly as possible.
O2, which has about 25 million UK customers, said that voice calls were still working but advised people to seek out wifi if they needed to get online while the outage persisted.
To worsen matters, Giffgaff and Lycamobile customers, both subsidiaries of O2, were also left without servcie.
“We’d encourage our customers to use wifi wherever they can and we apologise for the inconvenience caused,” said an O2 spokesman.
On Thursday, one mother of two told Mirror Money she was unable to contact her children because of the outage.
She said she received dozens of bouncebacks on texts, only to later find the messages had sent multiple times.
“I feel as if I’ve been cut off. I use my phone to stay in touch with my children, and I have no way of contacting them if the service is not working,” she said.
O2 said that the problem stemmed from a global software issue at a third-party supplier, understood to be Ericsson, which has also affected other mobile operators around the world.
On Friday morning, the company issued a public apology on Twitter, stating services have now been “restored”, adding a full “review” has been launched into the matter.
A statement said: “Our 4G network was restored earlier this morning. Our technical teams will continue to monitor service performance closely and we’re starting the full review to understand what happenned.
“We are really sorry for the issues yesterday.”
In total, about 32 million mobile phone users were affected by the outage including Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile, Lycamobile and O2’s Giffgaff.
So should you get your money back?
Regulator Ofcom said it’s currently working with O2 to identify how best to address the problem.
“We are aware that O2 is experiencing problems with its network. We are in contact with the company to establish the cause of the problem,” an Ofcom spokeswoman told Mirror Money.
You can get updates on whether O2 is still down here.
Are you entitled to compensation for O2’s outage?
Depending on the circumstances, it may be appropriate for your provider to offer you some money back while repairs are being carried out – especially if you’re still without service. You can raise this with O2 over the phone, online chat or on social media now, though be aware lines will be extremely busy as the service gets back up and running.
In more extreme cases, where repairs take much longer (for example it takes longer than usual to access a mast site to undertake repairs), you may be entitled to an additional refund or account credit.
In cases such as this, where you have been without service for some time, you may also have the right to leave the contract without penalty. There may be a term in your contract saying you can do this if your provider has failed in its obligations to you or breached a key condition.
Furthermore, if you’re forced to incur any extra charges because of the outage, such as having to pay for public wifi, you can complain to your provider and ask for compensation to cover those unexpected expenses. Keep all evidence including receipts and emails for this as you will have to prove the expenses in your claim.
Finally, O2 customers are paying for a service that rightly expect to receive. If they don’t deliver, you are well within your rights to ask for the money back covering the hours affected. This would most likely be your monthly bill divided by the month and multiplied by the number of hours affected. O2 will most likely have a threshold in place for pay-as-you-go customers.
How to complain and claim money back
If your provider fails to repair a fault by the date promised, or you are unhappy with how long it is taking, you should follow their internal complaints procedure. You can get in touch with O2 here, although it’s worth waiting for the service to be back up and running, first.
If you raise a case but it’s still unresolved, or solved without good reason, you can submit your complaint to an independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme after eight weeks.
If your problem cannot be resolved, ask your provider for a ‘deadlock’ letter so that you can refer your dispute to the relevant ADR scheme directly before the eight week mark.