giffgaff logoGiffgaff, a virtual mobile network in the UK, has once again suffered a major outage affecting all subscribers.

This latest failure caused frustration, especially as it is the second within five days.

Today's failure kicked in around 4pm and affected all customers.

giffgaff message

At one point the service outage notice included :

we're currently working on a process that will slowly restore service, but we're seeing a few challenges that are preventing us from rolling this out quicker and completely.

Services began to returned at around 8:15 pm after four hours of downtime. According to their blog it with take a few hours to be completely operational.

Only five days earlier, on 27 September 2013 the network was down for several hours in the afternoon, into evening. All users were unable to make/receive calls and texts; data seemed unaffected. Later giffgaff offered a blog post explaining the issues of downtime. It cited a "failure in one of our network switch signalling processors which routes charging requests".

giffgaff do not own their own infrastructure; they 'hang off' another provider, in this case O2. This arrangement is known as a MVNO (Mobile virtual network operator) and is the same model used by Tesco Mobile, Virgin mobile, and others. Oddly, giffgaff is owned by Telefonica UK Ltd who are O2!

There are no accurate subscriber figures, however in February 2012 their CEO, Mike Fairman, said they had "seen steady growth and were over 100,000 users". 'giffgaff' is a Scottish word meaning 'mutual giving' !

At the time of writing this post there was no official word on what caused the latest failure. It will probably be attributed to the link between the giffgaff billing/charging system and the O2 network.

I would be interested in your views -- how has the issue affected your opinion of giffaff? Are you thinking of switching? Is failure just part of service, and to be tolerated? Please comment below.

Further reading: O2 suffer network outage

 

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