The rip-and-replace project will cost the operator £10 million (US$16 million), which is in addition to the £1.5 million ($2.4 million) that O2 claims it spends on its network each day.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, O2 COO Derek McManus said: "We are removing the Central User Database provided by one of our suppliers, which has suffered two different faults in the last few months. We are not prepared to risk this happening to our customers for a third time and are implementing a proven alternative solution."
An O2 spokesman said the operator had not yet decided which vendor or product would replace the Ericsson database.
On July 12, the O2 network was down for almost 24 hours in some places and left about 7 million customers without services. On Oct. 12, the operator suffered a similar outage that it says left 10 percent of its customers without service. The operator has 22 million customers in the U.K.
In response to O2's decision, Ericsson issued its own statement today:
- With reference to the O2 UK network disruption on Friday October 12, 2012 Ericsson can confirm that we, as a key supplier, worked closely with our customer to identify any contributing factors and immediately took necessary actions. The fault was fixed on the same afternoon.
The issue was identified to be related to how the equipment was configured. O2 are moving to classic HLR which Ericsson has provided for many years in the network and continues to do so. We continue to work closely with O2 to ensure that service integrity is maintained.
Why this matters
Clearly, this is bad news for Ericsson. To be the supplier of the piece of equipment responsible for bringing down a customer's network and then being kicked out of that network is a blow.
O2's response today also reveals the cost to the operator of major network outages -- not just for equipment replacement, but also all the other investment they will need to make to restore confidence among their subscribers. It would seem that £10 million is only a start for O2.
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