Thursday, 26 August 2010

If the future's Orange, it's not very bright

Although I was always reasonably happy with their customer service, O2's network coverage was sufficiently bad that I was determined to switch networks as soon as my contract expired.

I was keen to return to Vodafone, because though their customer service wasn't brilliant, I'd never had any trouble with their network. Unfortunately, when my wife bought me the iPhone 4 as a birthday present, she was lured by the prospect of Orange Wednesdays, and trusted the Orange rep when he said their coverage was good.

It turns out Orange has all of O2's problems, and then some ...
  • For the first couple of days, I had no internet access at all.
  • After several text messages, updates, and reboots, mobile data began to work.
  • Unfortunately, internet remains slow, and coverage is patchy.
  • Call quality is terrible, with noticeable background buzz.
  • Getting through to Orange customer support is a nightmare. Simple tasks like transferring my phone number and enabling roaming required several steps of hateful IVR, followed by endless waiting. Even if you follow the usually-sensible strategy of choosing an option that involves paying Orange more money, you'll be kept waiting for several minutes.
It's tempting to blame the reception problems on the iPhone 4's antenna, which is famously defective, but coverage and call quality were never a problem for me while on holiday in Canada, even in Banff. By contrast, Orange are unable to provide a decent signal within the Oxford ring road! At The Isis, near open fields, there is often no signal at all.

To top it off, Visual Voicemail (one of the best features of the iPhone) is unavailable with Orange. I knew this going in, but I'd forgotten quite how maddening the IVR alternative is.

From my experience, I have to recommend that you avoid Orange like the plague. All things considered, even O2 is better.

1 comment:

  1. In many areas of 'digitalbritain' there is no coverage from any of the mobile providers. The same areas have no adsl either. It is getting even worse as more people get iPhones and other smart phones. The masts can't keep up with the data flow. Just like the copper can't keep up with the demands placed upon it. The answer is in the infrastructure. We need fibre to the businesses, homes and masts. Next Generation Access for everyone. Otherwise we will stay in the digital slow lane and other countries who are forging ahead with fibre digs won't wait for us...