Goodbye Orange, Hello Three

Last month I wrote about mobile phone tariffs and finished by saying that my next step was to call Orange and get a PAC so I could port my number.

When I called Orange they, as expected, put me through to retentions who then rather surprised me by saying that there was no problem adding data to my OVP Virgin tariff and that I could have 500Mb for £5 a month. That wasn’t quite as good as the other tariffs I had been looking at – it was the same price but less data – but I decided to give it a go anyway so he added it to my account.

As my understanding (from searching the internet) was that Orange had two separate classes of SIM only one of which allowed 3G data I explicitly asked if I would need a new SIM but the adviser assured that my current SIM would work fine so off I went to try it out.

Unfortunately, and as you’ve probably guessed by now, it didn’t actually work – in fact data didn’t work at all! So a few days later I found myself speaking to them again. This time I got a very helpful lady who immediately realised that the previous adviser hadn’t set things up right and she proceeded to send about six SIM updates to my phone and then wait while I rebooted it and confirmed that data now worked although I was only getting GPRS and not 3G data.

Once again I asked whether I needed a new SIM and was assured that I didn’t, and it must just be the coverage where I was that was stopping me getting a 3G signal so off I went again.

Fast forward two weeks and I still haven’t seen a 3G indicator once despite visiting a number of different locations so it is obvious that there is still a problem and I ring them again.

This time I get a slightly less helpful fellow who, after failing to find my phone on their database, says that they “don’t support it” and he can’t really help. When pressed that it’s not really about the phone as I know the 3G in it works fine on other networks and I just need my account enabling for 3G he finally admits that I probably do actually need a new SIM to make it work.

Of course it’s not that simple – they can’t just send me a new SIM unless my current one is broken. Even then they would only send me a 3G one if I had a 3G phone. I do, of course, have a 3G phone but what he really meant was “a 3G phone that you bought from Orange”.

So I went for the nuclear option and informed him that in that case I’d like to close my account and get a PAC to move my number to  a more helpful network. At that point he put me on hold and I started waiting…

Something like seven minutes of hold music later he finally came back – by this time I was sure that he was going to say that actually, after speaking to his colleagues, maybe they could send me a new SIM card. Unfortunately it was not to be and he just put me through to disconnections who, possibly for the first time ever, issued me a PAC without making any attempt at all to persuade me to stay.

So when my PAC arrives in a few days (for some reason they insist on sending it by post) it will be goodbye to Orange and hello to Three.

Tom Hughes

Tom Hughes
Software Engineer, Developer and system administrator for OpenStreetMap

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