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Why O2’s big communication outage, is a lesson for businesses

On Thursday 6th December it was reported that the O2 network was suffering a major problem with its services, unable to provide 3G/4G data connectivity, phone calls and general services to there customers. This problem caused some major issues for users of O2 who were unable to use their phones all day effecting both the public and business’s alike.

O2 has 25 million users and also provides services for the Sky, Giffgaff and Lycamobile networks, which have another seven million users.

The threat to business’s

There were many stories reported throughout the day on how O2’s problem directly affected companies who were unable to contact staff, arrange appointments and notify the correct people when there was a problem, a serious problem in some industries. One example was reported by the BBC who interviewed a plumber who stated he was unable to contact any of his engineers or customers via email, unable to use their mobile systems to contact any engineers at all, so his workforce just had to down tools for the day. [BBC News, 2018]

Business’s took for granted that a company like O2 would just have working services and whilst this may be the case often, as a changing technology provider there can be problems. Companies need to consider non-typical options of communication and how they can protect themselves and their services in case of similar incidences.

What can be done

Whilst businesses who used O2 were unable to use their own communication services, businesses that use Multitone communication products did not face the same challenges.

Multitone’s communications and messaging solutions do not rely on any single network or communications pathway, instead we use a combination of technologies, and networks, to ensure the delivery of business-critical messaging, unlike O2 phones our products run via a variety of on premise, hosted cloud, or a combination of these technologies, to ensure service availability for our customers.

This means that our systems can offer a more secure solution that are unlikely to be affected if a similar event happens again, our products can be operated via dedicated or virtualised hardware and are not dependant on cloud-based services meaning they are independent. This is a vital aspect, especially to businesses or individuals who immediately rely on quick communications to operate every day. Multitone also offers back up options for businesses, as our products and hardware come with intelligent clustering built in which means they can recover themselves if a fault is recognised, resulting in a quick solution and automatic resolution to all problems.  

O2 had a network and coverage issue which they have since fixed, however we at Multitone feel it should make business’s reconsider their options and what back up alternatives are offered if their communication systems go down.

Resources used, BBC news (2018) O2 4G data network restored after day-long outage, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46464730