O2 data networks restored after day-long outage affecting millions of users

Mobile operator O2 has restored service across its data networks following an outage lasting for much of the day on Thursday 6 December. The second-largest mobile operator in the UK, O2 has 25 million users and also provides services for the Sky, Tesco, Giffgaff and Lycamobile networks, which amount to another seven million users.

On Thursday, O2 and mobile network equipment supplier Ericsson issued a joint apology to customers hit by disruption. Ericsson UK chief executive Marielle Lindgren said the “faulty software” that had caused the issues was being decommissioned. Ericsson said there had been network disruption for customers in multiple countries.

In a joint statement on Thursday, O2 chief executive Mark Evans said: “I want to let our customers know how sorry I am for the impact our network data issue has had on them, and reassure them that our teams, together with Ericsson, are doing everything we can.”

The knock-on effects were significant and extended well beyond individual mobile customers. The outage - which, for many users, interrupted mobile telephone calls as well as data network access - affected other users including Transport for London’s electronic timetable service at bus stops, which stopped working. Other business customers using the network include Sainsbury’s and NHS England.

Ericsson president Börje Ekholm gave more detail about the cause of the disruption, saying that initial analysis had suggested that the “main issue was an expired certificate in the software versions installed with these customers”.

Networks in several countries were affected by the problem, including Japan’s Softbank network, meaning services on Y!Mobile were disrupted.

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