Orange Data Fail

Orange yesterday held it’s hands up and admitted that it’s data network was having a massive hissy fit leaving Orange users without mobile data access.  Voice data seemed to be unaffected but email and web browsing completely failed for many users. The full extent of the problem isn’t known, but forum posts and other articles are suggesting that many users had been having issues with the data network for a good while before Orange admitted the problem existed. Me included.

While this may have been a minor inconvenience to some, roaming buisness users were no doubt livid, and were made more so by Orange’s admission that they had no scheduled fix for the problem.

No information has been forthcoming about the cause of the outage.

Earlier this year the advertising standards agency upheld a complaint about Orange’s claim that its “3G network covers more people in the UK than any other operator“, the ASA ruled that because orange could not show that they had gathered data for the performance of their rivals in the same way that they did for their own network the claim was misleading.

A big company misleading people? Advertising people lying through their recently whitened teeth?
Surely not.

I can’t help feeling that this outage and Orange’s response is a fairly standard fare for big business nowadays. If you work for a big company, feel free to print out and keep my handy guide to managing major technical problems:

1. Say NOTHING until someone goes to the media. Arrange for your forum to be  “down for maintenance”.  Spend more on advertising.

2. Deny the problem and stonewall any questions.

3. Keep denying the problem until several high profile third parties have confirmed it beyond the point where anyone with half a brain still believes you.

4. Issue a vague, non committal statement that the problem may possibly be real but only affects a few people and it’s probably their fault anyway. Stupid customers.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the problem is fixed or the media lose interest.

6. If the problem gets fixed, either:

a) SAY NOTHING, that would mean admitting you were wrong.

b) Announce the fix amidst great fanfare, casting yourself in the role of hero whilst glossing over the fact that it was your stupid fault in the first place.

7) If you are still getting flack, a member of management may have to do a Captain Oates.

Sound familiar?

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