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Author O2's reputation damaged by another outage??
Bonovox
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Posted: 2012-08-09 19:55
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After the operator’s eight million UK customers were hit by a network blackout this month, Jasper Jackson asks industry figures whether its name has been permanently tarnished

Earlier this month around eight million O2 customers were unable to make calls, send texts and access the internet for approximately 24 hours following a network outage.

The outage not only affected O2 customers, but also those on MVNOs Tesco Mobile and giffgaff, as well as other services such as payment terminals and the London Cycle hire scheme, which also uses O2’s network.

According to O2, the outage occurred because its core network had problems registering mobile numbers, leaving customers unable to make even emergency calls.

The outage lasted from midday on July 11 until the following afternoon, despite O2 deploying hundreds of engineers in a bid to tackle the problem.

Ofcom has said it is looking into the outage. A spokesperson for the regulator said: “We have been in contact with O2 throughout the outage and we will be discussing it further to fully understand what happened.”

Disaster?
When BlackBerry manufacturer RIM suffered service outages in October 2011, which affected around 35 million customers globally, the news went viral – and many argue the network blackouts damaged its
reputation beyond repair.

While O2’s outage was limited to the UK, knee-jerk reactions from some suggest similar damage may be inflicted.

From the moment the network went down, hundreds if not thousands of angry O2 customers took to social
networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to vent their displeasure.

Some demanded compensation while others threatened to leave and sign up to rival firms.

Those industry figures we spoke to who deal with business customers said O2’s communication during the outage was very effective.

They claim O2 provided regular updates that could then be passed on to their customers.

However, it appears to be a very different story among consumers, with members of our panel saying O2 failed to get information out to the public quickly enough, especially when it came to fixes such as turning off 3G in order to get a 2G signal.

Poor communication
A survey by pollster YouGov found that 57 per cent of O2 customers it interviewed felt there was a lack of communication from the operator. And only 20 per cent felt it handled the outage well.

And according to YouGov’s BrandIndex online brand value tracker, O2’s score dropped 21 per cent following the outages and was still at its lowest level for three years five days after the outage.

Our panel said the outage caused greater anger this time around due to the evolution of smartphones and increasing reliance on data-related services.

Though demand is good for operators, it also makes customers more likely to make a fuss when something goes wrong.

The operator promised to make up for the outage to its customers “in the O2 way” and last week announced a 10 per cent reduction of mobile bills and an additional 10 per cent of top-up on prepay for all customers affected by the network outage.

The reduction for contract customers will be applied to their September bill, with prepay users able to receive their extra top-up credit in the same month.

All O2 customers will receive a £10 voucher that can be spent in an O2 store. Customers can only redeem the voucher by downloading the O2 Priority Moments application.

Customers received text messages apologising for the issues they experienced as well as large ‘we’re sorry’
messages placed on social network sites Twitter and Facebook.

The reaction by O2 appears to have appeased many consumers who use these sites.

Other technology companies affected by similar network blackouts have come up with a variety of responses to placate their customers.

Orange France offered a free day’s calling following its outage earlier this year, while Telecom New Zealand went further in not only crediting customer bills with small refunds, but also putting money into community projects in areas most affected by its outage.

In contrast, when BlackBerry services collapsed for days last autumn, RIM offered a selection of free apps, which received a mixed response.

Concerns remain
But not everyone remains confident that O2’s wounds will heal entirely, with customers still expected to leave for a rival.

An online ‘flash survey’ by coupons service MyVoucherCloud of just under 900 O2 customers found of those respondents who were affected by the outage, 34 per cent said they would not renew their contract or would stop using O2 prepay as a result.

This was, however, prior to O2’s compensation announcement, which may go some way towards changing their minds.

Ninety-four per cent of respondents said they were ‘annoyed’. However, six per cent said that they weren’t bothered by it.

However, one thing our panel agreed on was that consumers have short memories, and while anger might be at its height now, in the long-term O2 can avoid significant damage as long as there are no repeats of the problems.

This is what they had to say.

http://www.mobilenewscwp.co.uk/2012/07/30/has-o2s-reputation-been-damaged-after-network-outages/#comments

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goldenface
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Posted: 2012-08-09 20:16
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O2 customers should look upon it as a good bargaining chip for when their next upgrade is due - I know I certainly would.

I know they're one of the biggest but they're certainly not the cheapest or the fastest network and this is going to make a lot of their customers consider other networks.
Bonovox
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Posted: 2012-08-09 20:51
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Yes. But it seems from the past O2 seem to suffer more outages than most. I very rarely hear of T Mobile,Vodafone or Three having big outages as often as O2 does.
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chunkybeats
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Posted: 2012-08-10 13:18
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I used to be on o2 years ago back at home and were bloody brilliant, coming from Vodafone who were useless they were the best network in 2006 now hearing this is disappointing although Vodafone nZ had ab outage in Auckland and nobody made a peep, I suppose the demand for coverage is even more in the UK when I was there. After all its not the end of the world but still annoying but they will sort it out, one thing the English seem to complain sorry tot English pals but it's true
Bonovox
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Posted: 2012-08-10 18:20
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That is true cos what I believe is networks,systems & technology do break down,don't they?? Everything has it's software or system problems at some point. Also networks have to do maintainence too. I guess we live with our phones 24/7 & it's the end of the world when we cannot use them or we gotta resort to a landline I guess UK is more populated. One thing I don't like though in UK is Vodafone's terrible call quality. I find it so bad even in good areas that it becomes unusable. Dalek sounding voices scratchy quality blips etc even in this day & age of 3G But I will say O2 have had ALOT of outages compared to the rest over the recent times.
[ This Message was edited by: Bonovox on 2012-08-10 17:22 ]
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Bonovox
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Posted: 2012-08-17 18:57
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O2 seems to have a great marketing strategy but network performance is not their forte.
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chunkybeats
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Posted: 2012-08-18 04:19
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On 2012-08-10 18:20:52, Bonovox wrote:
That is true cos what I believe is networks,systems & technology do break down,don't they?? Everything has it's software or system problems at some point. Also networks have to do maintainence too. I guess we live with our phones 24/7 & it's the end of the world when we cannot use them or we gotta resort to a landline I guess UK is more populated. One thing I don't like though in UK is Vodafone's terrible call quality. I find it so bad even in good areas that it becomes unusable. Dalek sounding voices scratchy quality blips etc even in this day & age of 3G But I will say O2 have had ALOT of outages compared to the rest over the recent times.
[ This Message was edited by: Bonovox on 2012-08-10 17:22 ]



Sounds like Vodafone havent changed since I was there, really improving there lol
Bonovox
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Posted: 2012-08-19 02:42
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Yeah have tried them a few times and been disappointed with 3G coverage and scratchy call quality. O2's image is good but reliability is shit
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Bonovox
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Posted: 2012-10-12 20:02
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O2,again suffers another outage.

http://www.mobilenewscwp.co.u[....]t-10-per-cent-of-o2-customers/
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goldenface
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Posted: 2012-10-13 02:11
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I tried to contact my brother and sister before and couldn't get through. This looks like another biggie.
Bonovox
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Posted: 2012-10-13 02:40
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Hmmm,think O2 need to get their systems up to scratch before customers begin leaving for good. O2 have good marketing and image but their network is ancient. 4G?? They ain't even got decent 3G
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etaab
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Posted: 2012-10-13 21:37
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I never had a problem with O2 was with them from 2004 through to 2012. Thats a long time. My only issues with them was their lacklustre tarrif deals and bad coverage of 3G at my place of work and indoors compared to other networks.

O2 in my area seem to get 2G phone signals better however than other operators.

I have friends on O2 also, who yesterday were moaning on Facebook how they cant get any signal.
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Bonovox
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Posted: 2012-10-14 02:32
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Many of their tariffs are crap value imo now. Data is stingy too. When I was with them from 2007 to 2009 I had no issues until very late 2009 when calls would drop all the time and internet never worked consistently. So I left despite great customer service. Anyway things seem to have not changed with reliability. I'm with Three and it's rarely down at all and when it was they warned me via text
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Bonovox
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Posted: 2012-10-18 18:16
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http://www.mobilenewscwp.co.u[....]abase-change-to-avoid-outages/

O2 network for some still out after 4 daays but no compensation this time. O2 to now invest in new systems
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etaab
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Posted: 2012-10-18 22:43
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It'll still not affect them much though. The public as a whole are pretty forgiving because the hassle of moving networks is not worth the effort.
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