O2, EE, Vodafone and 3 suffering outages as millions work from home

The networks having issues from about 9am

Update: 17 March, 2020 1pm GMT

Vodafone are understood to have chaired a NEAT (National Emergency Alert for Telecoms) conference call this morning to get technical teams from the operators talking to each other regarding the outage.

A spokesperson for O2 stated:

“Today the industry experienced an issue that meant some calls between different networks were unable to connect.

“Specifically, O2, Vodafone and Three were unable to connect to EE and EE customers were unable to connect to O2, Vodafone and Three.

“At a time when the country needs connectivity most, it is important we work together rather than pointing fingers before facts have been determined,” they added, before confirming there would be another NEAT conference call at 2:30pm on Tuesday.

Customers of all four major UK mobile networks, O2, EE, Vodafone and 3, are having issues today making calls, and comes as millions of workers across the country are staying home to work to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The problem is currently being blamed on “interconnect issues” stemming from O2. EE said the issue “is affecting all operators and we are working closely to fix it”. “We don’t believe it is connected to the rise in home working” added EE.

O2 said:

“We are aware that some customers may be experiencing issues with our voice service. Our technical teams are investigating and we apologise for any inconvenience.”

It added that the issues were limited to making and receiving calls on its 2G, 3G and 4G networks, while data and messaging services were not affected. O2 also denied that the problem stemmed from its network, saying it was a “cross industry issue”.

Vodafone said that it was a “short-lived problem” only affecting around 9% of voice calls on 3G networks.

According to Down Detector, 89% of O2 and 73% of EE issues are linked to mobile phone use.  DownDetector is an independent website that tracks social mentions around certain topics to detect outages across the globe – and currently it’s peaking with complaints from users from all companies.

Some 58% of Vodaphone reported problems were mobile phone issues while 34% was down to home broadband.  Virgin media problems were also more widely spread with 43% being cable internet issues, 36% mobile phone snags and 19% affecting mobile internet.

Customers are complaining they can’t make or receive calls, send or receive text messages, while others said they were having difficulties getting online.

Microsoft Teams suffered a similar outage across Europe on Monday morning as a result of a huge influx of new users.

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