O2 Apologizes for Wireless Network Performance Issues in London

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U.S. exclusive iPhone carrier AT&T has received significant criticism for its apparent difficulties in maintaining network performance under heavy demands from iPhone users, but it appears that it is not alone in its struggles. The Financial Times reports that UK carrier O2 has publicly apologized for similar difficulties with its network in London over the past few months as demand has grown there to strain the company's network capacity.
Mr Dunne said O2's network difficulties had been caused by an "explosion" of demand for data services on smartphones but insisted the problems were largely confined to London.

Some O2 customers have periodically been unable to make or receive phone calls, or download material to their handsets, because the network was clogged up by smartphones.
Like AT&T, O2 has been taking steps to address the issue, including working with third-party vendors to improve network traffic management and adding additional mobile sites for increased bandwidth. But in a comment that may be slightly unsettling to heavy data users, O2 CEO Ronan Dunne noted that the company is also talking to Apple and Research in Motion in trying to "learn about" data-intensive applications. Dunne did not elaborate on what O2 might do with that information on data-intensive applications.

Just last week, O2 experienced a significant outage of its data network lasting nearly 48 hours and affecting a significant proportion of its customers.

Article Link: O2 Apologizes for Wireless Network Performance Issues in London
 

zombitronic

macrumors 65816
Feb 9, 2007
1,115
6
It's nice to hear a company admit to and apologize for their shortcomings. I think more AT&T customers would be content if AT&T treated their customers like intelligent beings who can observe the obvious, instead of pounding their chest and boasting about the nation's "fastest network".
 

countrydweller

macrumors 6502
Jul 16, 2009
447
0
Heavy data users need to pay for what they use, electricity, water, most other things we use, we pay for what we use.
 

Primejimbo

macrumors 68040
Aug 10, 2008
3,295
131
Around
I got here first!!! Hehehe.

So we are not alone here in the US now are we. Hhhmmmm.

I'm still saying Verizon would've been in the same boat if Apple went with Verizon as the exclusive carrier in the US as well.

I agree 100% and I hope Verizon gets the iPhone just so #1 people go to them and lighten the load #2 to see if this would be true and #3 Competition is always good for us customers
 

zombitronic

macrumors 65816
Feb 9, 2007
1,115
6
Heavy data users need to pay for what they use, electricity, water, most other things we use, we pay for what we use.
When a heavy data user's contract states that they're paying for unlimited data, they are paying for what they use.

Network strain is not a problem that is going to dissipate. Network improvements, not user repression, should be the primary concern.
 

ablack774

macrumors member
Dec 28, 2009
38
0
Scotland
I got here first!!! Hehehe.

So we are not alone here in the US now are we. Hhhmmmm.

I'm still saying Verizon would've been in the same boat if Apple went with Verizon as the exclusive carrier in the US as well.


At least in the UK we have the choice of 4 carriers for the iphone. Orange have the larger infrastructure and the best 3g coverage so i have my iphone on their network and have never had any problems (as yet). Hopefully exclusivity will finish in the US very soon. :apple:
 

countrydweller

macrumors 6502
Jul 16, 2009
447
0
When a heavy data user's contract states that they're paying for unlimited data, they are paying for what they use.

Network strain is not a problem that is going to dissipate. Network improvements, not user repression, should be the primary concern.
Ya, I know that, I am saying they should charge heavy data users more. Change contracts as they run out. Like $30 for a gig, $60 for 2 gigs, $90 for unlimited, something along those lines.
 

Droid13

macrumors regular
Jul 22, 2009
193
0
United Kingdom
O2 haven't been that good for a while...

Only in London did I have proper network coverage, and even then it wasn't all the time. I was recently in Aberdeen, where you only get full 3G reception in the very heart of the city and not even a decent EDGE connection just 20 minutes out, though you do get lucky sometimes.

Coverage in rural Scotland is pretty poor too from the point of view of web browsing over 3G, though that might be too much to ask for if they haven't got all the cities right yet. Their apology is a start, even though it only applies to London - the rest of the country needs an apology too...

Also, would I be right in thinking that the trouble with supporting smartphones isn't that they require a lot of bandwidth, but rather that they make many more requests to the network than, say, a laptop dongle using 3G?
 

rnizlek

macrumors 6502
Mar 31, 2004
268
4
Washington, DC
When a heavy data user's contract states that they're paying for unlimited data, they are paying for what they use.

Network strain is not a problem that is going to dissipate. Network improvements, not user repression, should be the primary concern.
I just don't understand this attitude. Everyone acts like data costs nothing to transmit and that the infrastructure to improve the network and handle higher capacities costs nothing.

This is equivalent to saying that if we all had plans that allowed us to use "unlimited electricity," then it's fair is someone is paying the same about to use 200 kWh as someone using 10,000 kWh. It's not. Unlimited plans worked in the past because smart phones had limited abilities and didn't move significant amounts of data. The iPhone changed all that, and pricing plans should change as a result. This is why laptop data plans have ALWAYS had limits - because the potential to move large amounts of data was always greater.

Network strain is not a problem that's going to dissipate - you are absolutely right. The question is, then, who should pay for increased capacity? Should we all pay equally, or should people who use more capacity pay more? I think the latter makes more sense. Pay for what you use. I'm not saying that carriers should cancel unlimited data contracts, but they should stop offering to activate new ones and not renew contracts on existing ones.

I use around ~500 MB/month in data. I spend much of my day on WiFi at my house and my office. I generally don't transfer videos or large files across the cellular network, and rarely stream audio. Why should I pay the same amount as someone who does all these things.

Carriers need to come out with tiered pricing, such as:
$15 for 1 GB
$30 for 5 GB
$60 for 10 GB

And so on. To make it easier to sell to the public, offer an option below the cost of existing data plans.

I just don't see how unlimited data makes sense, when you're looking at the big picture.
 

alywa

macrumors 6502
May 6, 2004
350
0
Rural Areas

I live in the southeastern US in a rural area... our house is 25 miles or so from the nearest 3G coverage. I knew this coming in when I purchased my iPhones (1st gen and later a 3G). Originally, EDGE was slow but usable and reliable. Over the past 8 months, EDGE has gone down to being usable only around 20% of the time. Very often I can't even check voicemail (which sucks, because you can't do that over wifi).

AT&T is getting killed. Not just in 3G areas, but even in their EDGE areas as well. Apple needs to start letting the other carriers carry the iPhone, and the carriers need to get serious about improving coverage.

The other alternative is for apple / AT&T to allow calls and VM to be made over wifi... that would alleviate many of my problems as we have wifi pretty much everywhere I work, live and play.
 

baryon

macrumors 68040
Oct 3, 2009
3,555
1,552
Maybe instead of making 3G better, companies should figure out a way to make WiFi available everywhere. I mean connecting to the internet through the mobile network is pretty stupid in the first place, it wasn't designed for today's net.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
Some O2 customers have periodically been unable to make or receive phone calls, or download material to their handsets, because the network was clogged up by smartphones.
I'm still saying Verizon would've been in the same boat if Apple went with Verizon as the exclusive carrier in the US as well.
Verizon puts voice and 3G data on different carriers.

The disadvantage of that is that it doesn't natively support simultaneous 3G voice and data.

The advantage of that (and the reason Verizon did it) is you would NOT get dropped voice calls because of too many data users.

So no, the boat would look different :)
 

Droid13

macrumors regular
Jul 22, 2009
193
0
United Kingdom
Here's a question:

Unlimited plans worked in the past because smart phones had limited abilities and didn't move significant amounts of data. The iPhone changed all that
I'm not sure if the problem is the amount of data being transmitted, but rather the large number of requests being made to the network by smartphones e.g push notifications, push email, using a map, accessing social networking etc

I could be wrong though - having a look at the web now to see whether this is really the case...

I use around ~500 MB/month in data.
And my question: what is the average user's usage over the phone network? I wouldn't be surprised if it was well under 1Gb...
 

cjmillsnun

macrumors 68020
Aug 28, 2009
2,399
46
Unlike AT&T in the US O2 aren't the only carrier with the iPhone anymore.
True, but there is little doubt that the vast majority of iPhones in the UK are on O2 right now.

I know mine is until the 4th Generation iPhone is out. Then it's hello Orange, as they actually have a 3g signal in Petersfield. I don't understand why O2 don't as we're on the main commuter route between London and Portsmouth by both road and rail.

Maybe instead of making 3G better, companies should figure out a way to make WiFi available everywhere. I mean connecting to the internet through the mobile network is pretty stupid in the first place, it wasn't designed for today's net.

Actually it was! 3G was primarily designed for data, as GSM is perfectly adequate for voice.
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
Don't any of these companies have analysts ?
They do but the problem is there is a lack of data to look at. The data demand on phones has exploded over the last few years and there was no real way to plan for it. The networks have to plan there expansions years in advance and it takes years to put in fixes. Now for phone part of the cell they have decades of data to look at and well they can predicted that growth easily.
If you want something to look at to compare this to. Look back at the early days of dial up. Phone lines were getting clogged because they system was never designed for so many people to be on the phone. It was designed for voice calls which they had models for. The internet killed those models and the real solution to the problem came about when they figured out how to do dsl and cable internet that did not effect the existing voice network.
To many people do not understand how quickly data demands on cells took off and overloaded the current system and right now the telecoms are just trying to keep from falling farther behind the demand.
 

jglavin

macrumors regular
Mar 21, 2006
124
9
And my question: what is the average user's usage over the phone network? I wouldn't be surprised if it was well under 1Gb...
Someone should post a poll on the iphone blog... I've yet to see that done regarding monthly data use. I personally average ~350MB/month on ATT.

edit: nm, there are a couple already.
 
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