O2 has taken to its blog to reveal the news, saying that after a series of tests the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system failed to meet the standards the network lays down for an update to take place.
“When a manufacturer releases a new version of Android for their phones, we will usually test this software to make sure it is right for our customers”, said O2.
“Often the software passes our testing and sometimes we spot a few small issues that our testing team quickly work to fix.
“Unfortunately with the Xperia Ray, Arc and Neo our testing found that the software update affected the phones' speed and performance. These issues were present on three separate versions of the Android 4.0 software we tested and are caused by the software having more advanced hardware requirements than previous versions.”
As an update to Ice Cream Sandwich is irreversible - other than restoring the phone to factory settings - O2 has decided to keep the Sony Xperia Ray, Xperia Arc and Xperia Neo as Android 2.3 Gingerbread-run handsets.
Pocket-lint is in the process of speaking to the other major operators to see if they will follow suit. We'll be sure to keep you posted.