UK's 02 data network suffers massive fail

UK’s exclusive iPhone network provider 02 suffered a protracted network outage yesterday potentially affecting over two million mobile data customers.

The network went down 1pm UK time yesterday and affected all O2 customers with pay-monthly handsets including BlackBerrys and iPhones. Affected users claimed that data services had crashed and could not send or receive emails or text messages, or access the internet. Over 2 million of O2's 20.8 million customers use data services.

The network is estimated to have been down for over 11 hours although the carrier has yet to reveal the nature of the outage.

Despite being inundated with service difficulty calls the carrier has yet to post an explanation on its website, choosing instead to communicate to customers via its Twitter feed.

A company spokesperson said service had been restored for the “vast majority” of O2 customers who had lost data connections. However, the latest Twitter feeds suggest that the problem is still being worked on.

The network problems come at a time when speculation suggests that Apple is considering dropping its O2 exclusivity and allowing rival networks Orange and T-Mobile to sell the iPhone 3G.

O2 recently secured an exclusive deal with Palm to become the exclusive launch carrier for the Pre handset later this year.