John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

iPhone Strains O2’s London Network

iphonebeefeaterAT&T, O2 feels your pain. Like AT&T, the U.K. mobile services provider has seen its network overtaxed by Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone, particularly in London, where a massive surge in data traffic has been causing network congestion since summer.

In an interview with the Financial Times, O2 CEO Ronan Dunne said the company has seen an 18-fold increase in data traffic since the beginning of the year, most of it driven by super-smartphones like the iPhone. “Where we haven’t met our own high standards then there’s no question, we apologise to customers for that fact,” Dunne said. “But it would be wrong to say O2 has failed its customers en masse.”

Well, that’s one way of looking at it. The thousands of smartphone users who lost data service just a few days ago might see things a bit differently, though. Anyway, O2–like AT&T in the U.S.–is doing its best to contain the public relations damage arising from such outages. Dunne says the carrier has added an additional 200 mobile base stations in London to help it meet data demand and has been working with its infrastructure suppliers on network tweaks to improve data service.

Wise moves. Best to act quickly and get out ahead of issues like these, which can become PR nightmares very quickly. As AT&T recently learned, network congestion issues make great fodder for the advertising campaigns of rivals. Wouldn’t want Vodafone (VOD) running its own version of Verizon’s (VZ) nasty “There’s a Map for That” commercials, now would we?