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Ericsson software glitch hits mobile services in Britain and Japan

Ericsson software glitch hits mobile services in Britain and Japan
A sign hangs outside an O2 mobile phone shop in central London January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett   -   Copyright  Suzanne Plunkett(Reuters)
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LONDON/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Ericsson <ERICb.ST> said it was working with mobile companies in Britain and Japan to restore full service to millions of customers hit by outages caused by a software glitch in the Swedish company’s equipment.

O2 <TEF.MC>, Britain’s second biggest network, and Japan’s Softbank <9984.T> reported network outages on Thursday, leaving many customers unable to access internet services.

Once the world’s biggest supplier of mobile communications gear, Ericsson has lost ground to China’s Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] and Finland’s Nokia <NOKIA.HE>.

It has staked its recovery on demand for next-generation 5G mobile equipment, and analysts have said it stands to benefit from the problems of market leader Huawei.

SoftBank said the outages stemmed from problems at exchanges for its high-speed wireless LTE network, while O2 blamed an issue in a third-party supplier’s system that was impacting services globally.

“We are aware of the issue and are working together with our customers to solve it as soon as possible,” an Ericsson spokesman said.

O2, which is owned by Spain’s Telefonica <TEF.MC>, said customers of Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile and GiffGaff, which all use its network, were also affected by the outage.

It said it was working closely with one of its third-party suppliers to fix the issue “as quickly as possible”.

O2 said other operators around the world were affected, but did not identify any companies.

Users of O2 services, who were unable to access the internet or apps that require an internet connection, found their way on to social media to complain about the outage.

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the Chinese company’s founder and CEO, was arrested in Canada on Wednesday, at the behest of U.S. authorities investigating alleged violations of U.S. trade sanctions, according to a source.

The United States had already taken steps to block the company’s equipment from mobile networks over security concerns, and Australia and New Zealand have barred the supplier from new 5G networks for the same reason.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle in London, Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru and Olof Swahnberg in Stockholm; Editing by Susan Fenton and Keith Weir)

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