Monthly Archives: June 2021


Since switching from a small-biz contract to a personal one, the service I get from O2[1] has been unrecognisable as the same provider. The small-biz service worked, never gave cause for complaint, and was always contactable if I needed to speak to someone.

The domestic service still worked, but was devoid of customer service. The first problem was trying to set up a direct debit for it: there’s no online facility, and a dysfunctional ‘phone number. The message is always “busier than usual”. On one occasion it promised a 15-minute wait (as opposed to the usual 45 minutes). I hung on, and found out what comes next: a series of menus that ended with it hanging up on me!

So I’ve been logging on each month to pay, which is a hassle I could do without! Last month even that was a problem: several times I tried, but found their site was down, before I finally succeeded.

Now this morning, two things. First, in my email is a message from them:

We’ve joined forces with Virgin Media.

There’ll be plenty more developments to come. For now, nothing’s changing for you. Your services will carry on as normal – you don’t need to do anything. Our FAQs can be found here.

Uh-oh. Virgin Media is altogether Bad News: an order of magnitude worse than what I’ve hitherto had from O2. And right on cue, I tried to make a couple of calls this morning only to find there’s no signal! Had to fire up my seldom-used VOIP on the other phone instead.

Again, this falls a long way short of the full Virgin experience. Indeed, O2’s status page helpfully explains that a mast in my area is down, and promises an update by June 8th (though its helpfulness is frustratingly limited: it doesn’t, for example, tell me where I might find a map of masts and coverage). But this is surely a clear warning, we appear to be heading that way. My need to bail out as soon as my fixed-term contract ends, or maybe sooner, is becoming more acute.

Shame. I was with them more than 20 years as a satisfied small-biz customer. I originally signed up with what was then BT Cellnet, and stayed with them precisely because it was a generally-good service free of these nightmares. RIP O2.

[1] A telco – one of the main UK mobile networks.