O2 hit by nationwide network failure that has left “millions of users” unable to make calls or text
Company uncertain as to what is causing the problem or when it will be fixedNetwork has about 23 million UK customers, but claims not all are affectedBBC newsreader Huw Edwards criticises service on Twitter

Thousands of mobile users across the country could not send or receive calls or texts tonight after O2

Thousands of mobile users across the country could not send or receive calls or texts tonight after O2″s network crashed

The O2 mobile phone network crashed tonight leaving thousands of customers across the country cut off.

Users were left stranded, unable to make or receive calls or send texts, as the firm – which has 23 million customers in the UK – said it did not know when the problem would be fixed.

Some customers also had no internet access.

O2, Britain”s second-largest mobile phone operator, admitted it was unclear exactly how many people had been affected.

It said ‘thousands’ may be experiencing problems.

The problems began this afternoon for some mobile users, the network said.

O2 are urging customers to check their Twitter and Facebook feeds for updates – but the company’s webpage which displays live information about network coverage crashed.

A spokeswoman said the problem was not “location-specific”.

‘The problem is an issue within part of our core network that is preventing some mobile phones from successfully connecting,” she said.

‘The problem is not location-specific. All possible resources across our and our suppliers’ engineering teams are being deployed to restore service as soon as possible.’

Thousands of angry customers took to Twitter to complain.

BBC television presenter Huw Edwards (@huwbbc), tweeted: ‘6 hours of non-service and counting, simply not good enough, O2.’

One Twitter user, Kelly Jones (@kelly-92), tweeted: ‘Having a phone that hardly works usually is annoying, but this whole no signal on o2 all afternoon is beyond irritating.’

Another Bethany Kemp (@Krazy-Kempy), said: ‘It’s ridiculous, haven’t had a signal since 1pm. @O2 you are going to have to do some apologising if you don’t want to lose customers.’

The network, which has around 23 million customers in the UK said the problems began at around 1.30pm and are continuing into the evening

Statement: The network, which has around 23 million customers in the UK said the problems began at around 1.30pm and are continuing into the evening

Anger: BBC reporter Huw Edwards vents his frustration on Twitter

Anger: BBC reporter Huw Edwards vents his frustration on Twitter

TOP UK MOBILE OPERATORS

Subscribers (millions) as of March 2012

Everything Anywhere (Orange and T-Mobile) 27.2O2 22.3Vodafone 19.23 8.2Virgin Mobile 3Tesco Mobile 3

However, some saw the humorous side. One Twitter user, @Gazbelfast, posted: ‘What did one O2 customer say to the other Nothing.’

In October last year, BlackBerry’s data centre went down leaving millions of users worldwide unable to access email or internet services, or the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) system for three days.

The problem was traced to a centre inSlough, Berkshire, which caused disruption starting in Europe and the Middle East,and quickly spreading to India, Latin America, Canada and the US.

Just last month, IT problems at RBS and Natwest banks caused problems for thousands of customers who could not access their bank accounts.

Millions of payments, including wages, disappeared from accounts leaving customers unable to withdraw cash, check their balance or settle bills.

IF YOU ARE BEING AFFECTED

O2 insist they are doing everything possible to resolve the problems.

If you are an O2 customer you can check for any updates over the internet at status.o2.co.uk

There is also a facility allowing you to check the signal quality in your local area

If you need to contact customer services from a landline the number is 0844 809 0202

Calls are charged at 5p / min

Problems started when a software upgrade failed, with one technology website claiming it was the fault ofa junior technician in India.

RBS refused to comment on the claims.

O2 was formed in 2001, following the demerger from British Telecom of its former mobile business, BT Wireless.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We are currentlyseeing a problem on our network affecting some of our customers, who will have difficulty making or receiving calls, sending texts or using data.

“We apologise to those customers who are inconvenienced by this.

‘Our engineers are dealing with the problem as a priority and we hope to restore full service as soon as possible.’

Confusion: A spokesman for the company, which has headquarters (pictured) in Slough, Berkshire, admitted it did not know what was causing the problems or when they would be fixed

Confusion: A spokesman for the company, which has headquarters (pictured) in Slough, Berkshire, admitted it did not know what was causing the problems or when they would be fixed

AND THE BBC ARE HAVING PROBLEMS TOO…

The BBC website crashed tonight, the broadcaster confirmed.

When trying to access the bbc.co.uk website, an error message and holding screen appears.

A message on the screen says: “We are experiencing abnormal traffic to our network or the service or servers it is on is not currently available.”

The problem is also affecting BBC”s iPlayer service.

The BBC Press team tweeted: “We are aware that our website is experiencing some difficulties and we are investigating.”

One tweeter, Graeme Cowie (@woodstockjag), said: “BBC website”s down. Proof if any were needed that the public funding model doesn”t work”.