O2 backtracks over network outage comments

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Operator says reports that customers could be without service for up to eight hours are “misleading”

O2 has backtracked on claims its staff made at a distributor conference last month that customers would face outages as it begins its network share agreement with Vodafone.

At the ‘Avenir Telecom 2013: The Year Ahead’ event on January 16 in Burton-on-Trent, the operator said its customers may face up to eight hours of service disruption as the first clusters of the new network are switched on.

O2 had told dealers customers would receive a text message to inform them of the outage.

A document was also sent to dealers on behalf of network-share JV firm Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure, warning of possible disruption to the network.

It informed them coverage capacity might be reduced on the day of a site upgrade while work is carried out and that customers might also experience dropped calls during the transition period, but that this would only affect them if they were on the move.

However, O2 said in response to the article: “Reports that our customers will be out of service for eight hours at a time are misleading. We are conducting our upgrades on a site-by-site basis, which means that in that majority of cases a neighbouring site will provide sufficient coverage to support customers in the area.

“As ever, our first priority when undertaking any network maintenance is to keep the customer impact to an absolute minimum. We list all our planned network maintenance on our online Network Checker, which can be found at status.o2.co.uk.”

O2 also dismissed comments made by its staff that spectrum could be available for the operator to go live with a 4G network by July.

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