O2 has been forced to apologise after network problems caused millions of its customers to lose mobile phone coverage.
Chief executive Ronan Dunne said the “embarrassing” failure had affected more than 7m of the network’s 23m UK subscribers.
The outage meant that users were unable to receive phone calls or text messages, and were also not able to connect to mobile data services for 24 hours from Wednesday afternoon.
O2 restored 2G mobile access, allowing phone and text reception, yesterday morning, and 3G data networks were fully restored in the afternoon.
“The first thing I would like to do is apologise to our customers,” Dunne told Sky News. When asked if he was embarrassed by the fault, he replied: “Yes, yes I am.”
The blackout is believed to have been caused by a faulty upgrade as the network prepared for increased mobile usage during this summer’s Olympics.
O2 said customers would be compensated.