O2 swamped by iPhone pre-registrations – site goes down

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It appears that O2 had no idea the iPhone 3G would be this popular in the UK, because someone there didn’t add any extra bandwidth or redundancy servers to their store. So when the hordes descended this morning, prompted by a text message to existing O2 subscribers and people who’d pre-registered on the O2 site, guess what happened? This:

I contacted O2 to ask them to explain what their response was, so here it is:

Due to extremely high levels of demand, the O2 online shop is
temporarily unavailable. We are working to restore the service as
quickly as possible. Customers who are unable to place an order online
can still go into store from 8.02am on 11 July, although we urge people
to get down there early as demand is expected to be very high.

No kidding. Meanwhile, a source inside O2 tells me they had 200,000 pre-registration via the O2 site after the Steve Jobs Keynote.

  • http://www.crowdstorm.co.uk Philip Wilkinson

    Muppets! Surely you would look at the 200,000 pre-reg and think – we must make sure that if most of these people try and upgrade at the same time – we can cope.

    Mike – find who is responsible so we can get laugh at them..

    I wonder whether Bill Gates has been contracted by Vodafone to screw it up for them, now he has some time on his hands!

  • http://middledigit.net Jonathan

    Ordering from the comfort of your laptop and having it delivered doesn’t quite compare to joining the real-world scrum on Friday morning though ! Also – why weren’t some more dots joined and that message put on the store failpage ? Hmm.

  • http://www.cheeze.com Jamie Riddell

    Do you not think they planned for such a boost? do they not check the wires for commentary and excitement. Muppetry in motion.

  • Kuli

    I like the fact that I got an email saying “iPhone 3G is here”, except when you go to the shop, the 16GB version is not available! How about sending out an email saying “iPhone 3G (8GB only) is here” …Bah!

    Poor show O2! Anyone know if the 16GB version will be available to buy on Friday?

  • http://davidsmalley.com David

    Kuli: The 16gb was available when I signed up immediately after they sent the email out…must’ve sold out.

  • T

    The upgrade site is awful…. I guarantee they are getting customers trying to upgrade between 5-10 times each. I’ve been through the process about 10 times myself… finally thought I got through only to get a ‘Bad Request’ error. I have no idea if I’m formatting my details correctly. They might want to consider some client side validation next time…. wankers.

  • Mike Coulter

    I got a sms on v1 of my iPhone from O2 the other week too, with a hyperlink to the online store.

    Top marks to them for knowing I had an iPhone. Cunning marketing mavens.

    However nil point/FAIL for linking me to a hugely busy web page NOT optimised for iPhone.

    Wouldn’t it not a been a good idea to redesign the iPhone area of the O2 site, that is being accessed by mobile users, to be er, a mobile friendly design/UI?

    Muppettry 2.0.

  • http://www.mobilecomputermag.co.uk Scott Colvey

    Posted about my experience here: http://www.mobilecomputermag.co.uk/20080707659/iphone-3g-on-sale-today-in-uk.html

    But seems to be working now – just got a confirmation email from O2 (for an 8Gb model).

  • http://www.cynic.com A Cynic Writes

    …Or perhaps it was utterly deliberate. Add no extra bandwidth so the site falls over, which gets reported widely and further feeds the hype…..

  • http://www.soapyco.com Andy

    To add to the pain the site is truly awful. Unnecessary Ajax popups that constantly fail to load coupled with no ability to “go back” to retry one of the 20 or so sms codes they have sent make this a truly painful experience.

  • Sam Sethi

    Fully agree with the comments above. Very frustrating as the O2 callcentre were no help either. I tried to sign up for the 16GB version and had one in my basket before the failure message. I think I’ll just wait a few days for the madness to subside.

    One question: If O2 are willing to allow customers to order online and deliver the phone to home. Can customers activate online or will we still need to go to a shop?

  • A C

    According to the O2 upgrade site they have run out of online stock already

  • http://patphelan.net/why-is-there-no-irish-interest-in-new-3g-iphone/ Why is there no Irish interest in new 3G iPhone?

    […] going on here? With queues already in place at the Apple store in New York, O2’s UK website being swamped by demand and a seriously upgraded phone on offer I was expecting to see excitement instead I am […]

  • http://blog.urbanhorizon.com Andrew J Scott

    Yea I tried to place an order this morning, site was slow, got as far as the checkout twice; first time wasnt sure if it went through, turned out it hadnt as site had hung, then did it again and then got distracted with a conference call – now they are out of stock .


    So much for VIP “O2 Customer Select” service. Ive given them 1000’s over the years. The least they could do is have priority for people like me who have bills well into 4 figures every year….

  • http://www.crowdstorm.co.uk Philip Wilkinson

    So – “apparently” we can pick up an iphone in store on friday (the upgraded version): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoINOJ2uSZk

  • Jules Morgan

    Shop was down for much of the weekend too.

    In my opinion this has more to do with mobile operators in the UK having shocking websites than it is testament to the iPhone being amazing. Fair play that they’ve managed to sort their shit out and put together a compelling phone/talk plan package and we’re seeing unlimited data plans at last, but I’m going with the HTC Diamond which gets released next week anyway.

    For starters I can get it with Orange (who are marginally less awful), and there’s definitely something to be said for actually weighing up the options and making a decision rather than just going for an iPhone because, well, it’s an iPhone.

    Thanks go to Apple for kicking both the handset manufacturers and the mobile companies into gear though.

  • http://onemorething.co.uk Nick

    I managed to order a 16GB iPhone at about 8:30 this morning.

    Had to try to buy it about 10 times though and user registration kept on failing!

    Even managed to get a Saturday delivery although its costing me £9.99!

  • Moe Glitz

    Was looking to purchase a Pay As You Go iPhone on July 11th, but now at the 11th hour the 02 site is stating that the Pay As You Go model will not be out until later this year.

    I feel really sorry for all of the thousands of people that have paid up online to get an iPhone on July 11th. At least 99.9% of you will not recieve a dicky.
    You will get the usual nonsense as to why you have not recieved your iPhone and you will spend the next few weeks or months, pulling your hair out.

    By the way must mention about the great service I recieved from the 02 staff at their store in Oxford Street, next to the Plaza. I made a few enquiries about the 3G iPhone and was met with an uninspiring response from Three Male Sales Staff. Talk about ‘death warmed up’.
    Come on 02, you have exclusive rights to the 3G iPhone. At least train your Staff to reflect that ‘Great Sales Scoop’.

  • http://www.yinkaadeyeye.com Yinka

    Anybody else received a confirmed email?, mine still says ‘in progress’ and CreditCard not charged yet

  • Matt

    As soon as i got the text yesterday morning i logged on, but did not get anywhere!!, it took 7mins to load the page and then there was a error after filling everything in!!!. I then tried on my lunch break at around 1pm and everything worked fine (Fingers Crossed).

    I filled in all the details and chose the free update, hit the button & then had a message saying that O2 would contact me if there were any problems with my details….. But i have had no confirmed email & no new order history in my account as yet…

    Will just have to see what happens :)

  • Adam

    i managed to get a confirmation email for my 8gb iphone model which was a sigh of relief….of course that feeling only lasted 24 hours, checked the tracking option on o2.co.uk tuesday morning, now my order has been marked as “cancelled”, no email telling me what, why or when. rang up customer services to recieve a very simple answer “don’t know really…you might get one, might not”…now do i sit in and wait for an iphone delivery, or head down to the shop on friday morning? what would someone in my shoes do?

  • Scott Colvey


    You could fetch an iPhone 3G from your local store and then make use of the distance-selling regulations to cancel your online order. Despite being in contact with the O2 press office today I feel no more informed about whether or not an iPhone will arrive with me tomorrow, so I’m contemplating doing just that.


  • Matt

    Got my 3g at 8.30am and at 4pm I still have not been able to activate it due to a problem with iTunes

    I keep getting a message “We could not complete your iTunes Store request. The network connection timed out.”

    But all my diagnostics are fine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://blog.taptu.com/2008/07/07/o2-creaks-and-groans-under-the-weight-of-uk-iphone-interest/ Taptology - Taptu Mobile Search Engine » Blog Archive » O2 creaks and groans under the weight of UK iPhone interest

    […] Everyone and their grandma’s dog have reported the issue O2, one of the UK’s main mobile operators, has suffered by now, but I’m amazed (yet oddly unsurprised) that an operator can be so unprepared for a traffic rush. […]

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