• O2 Apologizes for London Network Failures, Blames iPhone

    O2, the largest mobile phone carrier in the United Kingdom, has had network problems in the city of London, especially in the second half of this year. Now, in an interview with the Financial Times, Ronan Dunne, the Chief Executive Officer of Telefónica O2 UK, has apologized to customers who have been unable to make calls or use data services in the capital city.

    Dunne said he was disappointed with the carrier's performance in London since the summer, but claimed that his network was swamped by people using smartphones like the iPhone, which O2 carried exclusively in the UK until November of this year. O2 reportedly experienced an 18-fold increase in network traffic, and Dunne said there had been "explosion" of demand for data services by smartphone users. In particular, the London network failed to keep up with the demand several times since last summer, and many customers had no way to make calls or transmit data during these outages. Last week, the carrier's network was down for almost 48 hours.

    "Where we haven't met our own high standards, then there's no question, we apologize to customers for that fact," Dunne said. "But it would be wrong to say O2 has failed its customers en masse." He said that the "short-term blip" in O2's network operations was being addressed in three different ways. First, O2 is working with Nokia Siemens Networks on software modifications to improve how it manages the combination of voice and data traffic on the network. Secondly, Dunne said that the carrier is in the process of installing 200 additional base stations to augment the carrying capacity in London. And finally - in a somewhat vague statement that MacRumors finds "slightly unsettling" - O2 says that it is "liaising with handset manufacturers, including Apple and Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, to learn about applications that could place heavy demands on the network."

    O2's deal to carry the iPhone exclusively in the UK ended in November when Orange UK began carrying the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Vodafone will start selling the iPhone in the UK on January 14.

    image via Engadget
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