My phone (a HTC hero) has given me nothing but grief over the 18 months I’ve had it – it’s been difficult to use but to be fair, being on Orange doesn’t help.
It’s a patchy network – phone calls are always cutting off and I randomly get texts failing but I have been too lazy to change, instead faithfully paying my phone bills which vary from £40-£85 for the last seven years.
Well enough is enough! I’ve been experiencing extremely poor 3g/2g connectivity whilst I am work – which is about 9-10 hours a day and it went from me missing out on a few emails (so having to come home and trawl through my inbox to see what was missing) to total blackout.
Calls and SMS are now also difficult whilst I’m at work. I have to walk 15-20 minutes in order to get some connectivity…needless to say, this is hardly workable!
Obviously, it’s quite a specific problem; I don’t have the connection problems anywhere else, so it’s been difficult to diagnose what’s wrong. This is where you can separate a network worth their salt and one that isn’t.
I have tried a few things, like using another phone to see if that helps, but it doesn’t so it is a network problem. My friend is new to Orange and has an iphone – sure enough she gets no emails whilst in the office.
I have called up customer services, emailed, twittered, asked over the phone, emailed their executive office.
Customer services over the phone, though polite, diagnosed in 5 minutes that is must be “my office building”.
Ah yes, but it worked until a month or two ago.
“You can have poor network in built up areas” she continued…
“But I didn’t have this problem before” I pleaded
“Then, I don’t know.” she concluded.
The executive office basically told me off for emailing them (they offer a senior level of customer service, basically it’s not an office of plebs who don’t have authority, this lot can generally make things happen) and told me to go back to customer services, and if I wasn’t happy with the response, ask to be diverted to the Team Manager and if the issue wasn’t solved could forward the problem on…to them.
Great. Because I have a whole year to sort this problem out.
Email customer services told me to call customer services (see a pattern) and they would do a network check (I’ve told them a million times, it’s mainly the mobile internet I have an issue with NOT the phone reception so how the hell do they check for that?). I would have to do this check whilst I was suffering the problem…can I be on the phone for an hour whilst I am at work, diagnosing a problem with my phone? Bearing in mind I’d have to use another phone (ie. work phone?!). NO.
In Store customer services; one told me there was a 3G issue in my town (apparently a lot of iphone users going in store to complain – boy would I be pissed if I spent a fortune on an iphone that can’t connect to the internet!) and it would be reset on October 14th (has made no difference to me).
The second in store guy I saw said he didn’t know because he’s “from Sheffield” and admitted that Orange were “a bit crap” but were “getting better” but “that doesn’t help you, I know”.
Orange’s Twitter help was at least short and painless; they asked for my affected post code and responded with “There are no issues with masts in the area, does it happen at peak periods as it may be down to congestion .”
8 week congestion? I don’t think so. I’ve used their online network coverage checker (I am in a very central area which should have full connection) – trust me here, it lies. Apparently my affected area is “excellent” !!!
I don’t get it – I’m not some pleb who doesn’t pay bills, I am a current customer whose contract – thank god – is up in 3 months and then I don’t care if they offer me a free iphone for £10 a month – I won’t stay with them. Think about it – a phone that doesn’t work 50% of the time is as useful as a pig with a spanner.
(Despite the phone not working, I must add that my bills are higher than ever).
Sorry, I could rant all day. It’s clear to me now that no one at Orange is going to take full responsibility for this so all I can do it sit out the contract and meanwhile find a better network to go on. I’m just thankful I didn’t sign up for another 24 months with them.
So anyway, here are my 5 reasons to avoid Orange (as if the previous rant wasn’t enough to put you off Orange!).
1. They are tyrants: Orange phones are always locked to their network
Even though people pay out a fortune over the 18-24 months they have a contract (the therefore have already paid out for the phone many times over) Orange seem to think it’s ok to lock their phones to their network.
As far as I am concerned, once you have completed your contract, that phone is your property and is there for you to do with as you wish.
I always pass on my old phones and it’s so irritating when I have to fork out another £20 to get it unblocked (I don’t see why my friends and family have to move over to Orange to use a phone I’ve paid over £1,000 for).
T-Mobile also do this (T-Mobile and Orange have recently merged, so it’s a match made in tyrant heaven). Vodafone and O2 have provided unblocked phones since forever – and rightly so.
2. They are tyrants: They will not upgrade your sim card no matter how much you beg
Orange for some reason, always makes odd little rules for itself that other networks do not.
One thing I found was that they will not upgrade your sim card no matter what.
Well, why would you want to upgrade your sim card you ask?
Well, say you want to change your phone, because it it’s broken, or you need something with more functionality but you can’t upgrade with Orange yet. In my case, I had a 2G Blackberry and bought a new 3G one because I needed something faster.
It turns out that Orange will only give you sim card relevant to the phone they sold you.
So I ask them if they can upgrade my sim to a 3G one (it’s not a difficult job – ALL of the other networks will do it for you, my aunt even got an upgraded sim card in store with O2 for no charge).
Bear in mind I am still paying £70 per month on my phone bills at the time – but Orange say no way.
Orange are extremely strict with this – you get a sim card which matches the phone THEY sold you only. No negotiation.
I think that as long as you are paying your bills why do they care what phone you are using? It will probably make them more money anyway…
Why does Orange have to be so awkward and difficult, instead of helping a customer out?
3. Their 3g/2g/network connection is piss poor
See previous rant. My friends on Vodafone don’t complain about their connectivity – when I say, “My phone always cuts off” their response is, “Oh, on Orange are you?”
4. They have the worst deals
A network that locks your new phone and won’t give you a new Sim Card that is worth about 5p is hardly going to be generous now, is it?
Check out Cnet’s comparison, for example, of iPhone 4 deals. Orange isn’t the best value in any of the categories (neither if Vodafone to be fair, but at least Vodafone works).
Infact, Orange gets the crown for having the most expensive deal for the iPhone 4:
Imagine having that deal and not being able to use the phone fully!
I have just generally found Orange an expensive network to be on – I don’t mind paying premium for a PREMIUM service.
5. Their customer support is….
Once again, read my original rant! You get diverted back to the customer call centre and the thing is, they will not do anything for you! Anything remotely complicated is ignored. Simple stuff, they can do. They don’t seem to have a problem setting up direct debits, for example -_-
And their website never works properly – I’ve still never managed to do payments on it after 7 years!
Listen up Orange! I am that sort of easy going, just-let-it-renew kinda gal that is worth holding on to. All the times you have screwed up my upgrades, screwed me about with sim cards and send me faulty phones and yet I’ve stayed with you cos it’s been easy. If I can avoid your customer services and sort things out myself, I do.
Not any more! You can wave goodbye to my excessive internet usage I am skipping over to…well I don’t know yet. But there most definitely won’t be a hint of orange in sight.
Any network recommendations ladies?!