O2 UK faces compensation claims after thieves cause major outage

Telefónica O2's UK network suffered a serious outage across its network in South East England after one of its operations sites in East London was targeted by thieves who stole equipment and vandalised the site. The company stated in a blog post that the incident was "a well organised theft which targeted this operations site."

The company reported that customers across East London, North London, Kent and East Sussex were left without service from just before 1 a.m. on May 17 until 5.30pm, and reports from customers suggest that the outage also affected parts of Essex as well. As a result, a significant proportion of O2 customers in South East England and those of its MVNOs, including Tesco Mobile and GiffGaf, were affected.

O2 informed customers of the problems through its blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, but the lack of information on its main website left many unsure of the reasons for their lack of service. This contrasted with one of its MVNOs, GiffGaff, which posted a useful map showing which areas were and weren't working.

Comments on the blog from O2 business and personal customers quickly turned to claims for compensation for the loss of service and potentially for the loss of earnings amongst business users.

However, claims are likely to fall on deaf ears as O2 established its position quickly. It stated:  "We provide a quality and award-winning service to 22 million customers in the UK and spend £1m a day maintaining it. Mobile networks are not completely fault-free but incidents like the one we have experienced today are extremely rare. In light of this we do not, as a rule, offer compensation but customers can be reassured that full service has been restored."

For more:
- See this Register article
- see this Cellular News article
- see this O2 blog post

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