Digital Transformation

Calls for O2 to compensate customers after network downtime

Network provider also faces investigation by telecoms regulator Ofcom

Mobile network provider O2 has apologised to its 23 million UK customers after nearly eight million of them were left unable to send or receive text messages, calls and emails due to a technical fault on Wednesday (July 11th) afternoon.

Following the incident, chief executive Ronan Dunne told Sky New that "the first thing I’d like to do is apologise [to] our customers who have been disrupted by the lack of service", as many were left cut off from their family, friends and businesses as a result of the downtime.

And given the severity of the incident, the company is said to be facing investigation by telecoms regulator Ofcom, as well as calls from various bodies to provide customers with compensation.

The executive director of consumer group Which?, Richard Lloyd, said: "We want to see O2 offer compensation to all customers who have been hugely inconvenienced by this service blackout and have been paying for a service they cannot use."

With normal service now said to be restored, O2 is reportedly on a charm offensive via its Twitter account to respond to customer complaints and offer personal apologies to irate consumers.

Yet while no definitive reason for the downtime has been given, it’s likely that O2 will be conducting an extensive investigation of its own to find out exactly what wrong, and may be thinking of stepping up its disaster recovery strategies for the future.

What’s more, there’s also the threat that the incident will see existing customers look elsewhere to avoid the risk of further problems, with research conducted by revealing that 28 per cent of small business owners and traders have lost confidence in the telecoms company and would consider switching network provider as a result.

Indeed, as well as the financial cost of the fault, there’s also the lasting damage to O2’s reputation that could threaten its performance and popularity in the coming years.