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EE struggle with iPhone launch

Today is the launch of the new iPhone and as with all products released by Apple, there has been much hype and fanfare. After the release of iOS7 this week, the anticipation levels for the new iPhone 5S and 5C have been at fever pitch.

As is customary with iPhone launches, there have been stories of eager shoppers setting up camp outside flagship Apple stores with the hope of being the first to get their hands on the new items. Whilst I am an inpatient individual, there would be no chance I would camp outside to buy a new phone. Instead I’d much prefer to buy the phone whilst at home in my pyjamas. This latter method of buying seems to be a popular one, and if social media is anything to go buy, a lot of people have been trying to buy their new piece of Apple equipment online.

We monitor the website performance of all the major phone network  providers and vendors in the same way that we monitor other online retailers. When we checked to see how their websites were fairing this morning, we knew all these sites would have increased load on them. The question was, could they all handle it?

Unfortunately for EE, the answer was "no" this morning. Compared to the other service providers such as Vodafone and mobile phone retailers such as Carphone Warehouse, EE struggled with slow homepage response times. Things weren't much better yesterday, where we saw response times averaging around thirty seconds which doesn't compare well to their average (year to date) of 3.08 seconds. 

Things went from bad to worse at around 9am today, when we were unable to get a response from the EE website. For the next forty minutes, the site was down and displayed a ‘maintenance’ message on the homepage. I also tried to access the site from my mobile phone and again saw the same message.

There may be a number of reasons why this website performed worse than others. As Kevin Bacon so happily tells us, EE is the first 4G ready network and it may be that a lot of people wanted to buy a phone with well known 4G provider. Another argument could be that the website was not properly tested. What do you think?

The launch of an Apple product is by far one of the most important days for companies such as EE, Vodafone and Phones4U. For ‘web maintenance’ messages and the negative outpouring seen on Twitter, today could not have had a worst start for EE.  As I write this, their homepage is back up and running but the shop.ee.co.uk retail site is still offline. Bad news for an online retailer....

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