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O2 outage hit one-third of UK customers

Around a third of O2's customers in the U.K. were affected by the outage, but the phone giant could escape legal trouble altogether.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

O2, one of the largest U.K. mobile networks, said millions were affected by the outage that saw its phones unable to make calls, send text messages, or do anything for that matter. 

Around Wednesday lunchtime, O2 updated its status pages to warn that there were "problems affecting some customers' mobile service." Three hours later, when the situation was getting somewhat out of hand, O2 took to Twitter to calm angry customers. 

While many had said "tens" or "hundreds" of thousands of customers were hit by the blackout, add an extra digit and you'll have your ballpark figure of affected mobile subscribers.

According to The Inquirer, the mobile network said: "at any one time, up to a third of customers were affected by the issue."

With around 21--22 million mobile customers, minus broadband subscribers, as many as 7 million customers were left with an expensive paperweight as a phone for more than 12 hours. In some cases, many were without cell connectivity for longer.

O2 had asked its customers to switch off the still-broken 3G network on their handsets once the 2G network was back up and running. The 3G network still took a few extra hours to get back on its feet.

In O2's Pay Monthly terms of service, it says "the Service isn't fault-free," making compensation claims likely difficult nigh on impossible. But because many --- if not all --- mobile networks and other services include force majeure clauses which offers legal protection to the company when things go 'up the creek,' class action suits and the like will likely fail in court.

However, with the Olympics less than a fortnight away, many will cross their fingers and hope their mobile networks --- including O2 --- can cope with the strain of a massive influx of tourists. 

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