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O2 Apologizes for Wireless Network Performance Issues in London

U.S. exclusive iPhone carrier AT&T has received significant criticism for its apparent difficulties in maintaining network performance under heavy demands from iPhone users, but it appears that it is not alone in its struggles. The Financial Times reports that UK carrier O2 has publicly apologized for similar difficulties with its network in London over the past few months as demand has grown there to strain the company's network capacity.

Mr Dunne said O2's network difficulties had been caused by an "explosion" of demand for data services on smartphones but insisted the problems were largely confined to London.

Some O2 customers have periodically been unable to make or receive phone calls, or download material to their handsets, because the network was clogged up by smartphones.

Like AT&T, O2 has been taking steps to address the issue, including working with third-party vendors to improve network traffic management and adding additional mobile sites for increased bandwidth. But in a comment that may be slightly unsettling to heavy data users, O2 CEO Ronan Dunne noted that the company is also talking to Apple and Research in Motion in trying to "learn about" data-intensive applications. Dunne did not elaborate on what O2 might do with that information on data-intensive applications.

Just last week, O2 experienced a significant outage of its data network lasting nearly 48 hours and affecting a significant proportion of its customers.