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O2 Apologizes as iPhone/Smartphones Gorge on Bandwidth


December 30, 2009

O2's head honcho is apologizing to customers in the metropolitan London area for his company's network performance as iPhones and other smartphones munch up the company's bandwidth. In addition, The Financial Times of London reported that CEO Ronan Dunne laid out three things his company was doing to fix the problem.

"Where we haven't met our own high standards then there's no question, we apologize to customers for that fact," Mr. Dunne told FT. "But it would be wrong to say that O2 has failed its customers en masse."

To address the issue, O2, which is Apple's iPhone partner in the UK, is adding some 200 more mobile base stations in London in order to increase the amount of bandwidth available in the densely populated area. To better manage that bandwidth, the company is working with Nokia Siemens Networks to modify the software that controls the network.

The third step O2 is taking, according to Mr. Dunne, is to work with Apple, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, and other handset makers to learn more about the applications that are being run on these devices to better understand the way network use is evolving.

Mr. Dunne's seemingly apologetic attitude stands out in contrast to AT&T's approach to this same issue. When criticized by competitors such as Verizon, AT&T sued to keep those critical ads off the air. The company also said that it was looking for ways to help customers "reduce or modify their [data] usage." Mr. Dunne said O2's network performance had begun to improve in December compared to the previous several months.


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