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Cable.co.uk, Dan Howdle, comments on yesterday's O2 signal failure

26 May 2015 : O2 customers in London, Manchester, Glasgow and parts of Northern Ireland complained of loss of mobile signal and intermittent access to the network yesterday afternoon.

"If we want change, it is customer action, rather than customer complaint, that is the more effective motivator"

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Sajid Javid, was affected by the outage and tweeted: "No signal @O2. Please sort it out".

O2's live checker blamed phone mast issues across the country. After several hours, an O2 spokesperson said the network was back to normal at 11.30 last night.

Commenting on the repercussions for the network and its customers, telecoms expert and Cable.co.uk editor-in-chief Dan Howdle said:

"As infuriating as it may be during the disruption, I would be very surprised if many jump ship from O2 as a result.

"That is, in part, due to the fact that at some level we do appreciate that a mobile network is an enormously complex piece of distributed technology that, by its very nature, will fail from time to time.

"We’re also reluctant to switch provider.

"According to research we conducted last month among 2,500 UK mobile users, almost exactly half of them are still with the same provider they signed up with – in many cases a decade or more ago.

"When you consider how often network problems occur, that’s a staggering number, reflective of our reluctance to go through the motions of cancelling, porting our numbers, ordering a new SIM and so on (collectively referred to as ‘switching costs’).

"Venting one’s spleen on Twitter or Facebook provides both catharsis and a sense of shared burden among other O2 users – the sense that we’re not alone.

"But if reliability is our number one consideration, as many O2 users affected by the outage now claim, we must be prepared to vote with our feet. If we want change, it is customer action, rather than customer complaint, that is the more effective motivator."

Notes to editors

  • If using our research and/or commentary we would deeply appreciate a link either to this page or to https://www.cable.co.uk


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Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades. Having spent 12 years at the coalface of consumer telecoms research, initiating and running projects both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now Director of Communications and in-house consumer telecoms expert for Cable.co.uk.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer who frequently appears on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers and their websites, Dan leads a team of journalists and communications folk who spend their days researching and reporting on problems faced by UK broadband, TV and mobile customers both on an individual and macro level.

Dan campaigns on many issues currently facing consumers of broadband, TV and mobile products in the UK. These include, but are not limited to: Rural broadband provision; mobile coverage; broadband, TV and mobile customer contract issues; broadband and mobile broadband speeds; switching and money-saving; infrastructural challenges; pricing, changes and structures; shifts in technology and the marketplace; telecoms regulation, policy and law; fines, adjudications and policy changes; mergers and closures of UK providers; annual financials and more.

Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality. He also administers and adjudicates the yearly Broadband Service Quality Awards and sits on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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