A network crash left millions of UK users without phone service on Wednesday, according to The Guardian. UK telecom provider Three said that a “significant majority” of its ten million users had been affected, and many customers were reportedly still without service on Thursday.
The outage began late Wednesday night during maintenance on Three’s network infrastructure.
UK industry regulator Ofcom said it did not yet know whether it would investigate the outage, but that it’s now discussing the incident with Three. The agency says on its website:
“Depending on the circumstances, it may be appropriate for your provider to offer you some money back while repairs are being carried out.”
And in December, the UK provider O2 said it would offer customers credit to compensate for an outage that affected 30 million customers.
After losing service for an extended period, Ofcom also says customers have the right to withdraw from a contract without facing a penalty.
“The UK is already lagging behind the rest of the world on the provision of 4G. Failures like this will only intensify the pressure on the government, industry and the regulator to up their game and ensure we get a decent service,” according to consumer rights expert Adam French. “The mobile operator has to do right by its customers by keeping them informed, ensuring no one is left out of pocket, and we expect those affected by this lengthy lack of service to be compensated.”
Ben Wood, an analyst at the consultancy firm CCS Insight, told BBC News:
“History shows that once service is restored people quickly forget about the issues. The challenge for Three UK will be getting its network back online reliably. Often it can take time for things to stabilize after such a massive outage, which can lead to intermittent service for a period of time after the original problems.”
According to TechRadar, many of the affected users were in large cities, including Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, London, Manchester, and Norwich. Some Twitter users suggested the outage may have had to do with recent “system migrations,” moves to new and improved core networks.
For users still having service issues Thursday, Three advised turning phones off and on again.
“We are aware that some customers are still experiencing issues and our engineers are continuing to work to fix this. To help with the process we advise our customers to turn their phones off and on or turn airplane mode on and off, which may resolve the issue,” the company said, in a statement released to TechRadar. “The service is returning to normal, and we expect it to be resolved over the course of the day. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to our customers.”
Photo by Isto2 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]