Some time ago I got an Orange Pay-as-you-go (PAYG), not because I liked the brand but because I had just arrived to London and had to get a phone number as soon as possible. The network coverage was great as well as the website in which you can top up very easily. Then I bought an iPhone and used the Internet in my phone. Can you believe that in just one day using 2 times Google Maps (<200KB x 2), mail check 5 times (<100KB x 5) and visiting 1 website (<400KB), all the credit I had (>£7) ran out completely?
Orange UK is a thief with PAYG users using 3G Internet
There were days in which I would receive a text saying my salary was zero just because of having push notifications, not even by using the phone’s Internet, so I had to switch off Internet completely. Orange PAYG was costing me more than £5 a day for just receiving email notifications…
So I had to get a contract with unlimited Internet, I had bought a smartphone (iPhone 4) and wanted its full capabilities at a reasonable price.
Tesco mobile contract
While shopping one day I saw that Tesco offers 500 call minutes, unlimited Internet and unlimited texts for just £15 per month. Orange was only offering me 200 minutes and not unlimited Internet and texts. I was wasting £5 a day just for the damn Orange PAYG Internet so I bought the SIM and researched on how to keep my phone number.
Asking Orange for the PAC code
Called 450 and followed the steps until I got forwarded to a real person. Then I asked her for the PAC code (pronounced ‘pack code’). She was sorry for me to leave (yeah sure…) and asked me why. I told her I had seen a Tesco contract that was giving me twice the value for the same price plus having the network coverage of O2. She then offered me 600 minutes instead of 500 and unlimited Internet/texts, for just £15 as well. Keep reading…
I thought about it and accepted since they where offering me the same but I would keep myself in the same company saving me all the transfer hassle to a new mobile company plus enjoying an iPhone app Orange has (close to useless is quite a keen approach).
What Orange doesn’t tell you about getting a mobile contract with them
- I’ve never seen any contract terms & conditions but apparently I have one… and sucks
- The PAYG Orange SIM wasn’t valid for a contract so I had to wait a week to get the new one
- These 600 free call minutes are completely false. Most of them are ‘talk minutes’ and I have never used them since this might be something like ‘only Orange to Orange calls’. And my initial setup was only 200 minutes although we agreed to be 600 so I had to call 3 times more the following days until they fixed it. It ended up being 400 ‘talk minutes’ and just 200 normal call minutes…
- The iPhone app didn’t work for me, it detected me as a PAYG user although I had moved to contract and had to call 4 times more to get that fixed
- I still can’t access the web interface as it shows me an error, I called several times to get that fixed and finally gave up
- The ‘unlimited Internet’ actually means 80MB. Not even a ‘fair usage’ policy. They said it was more than enough but I end up paying extra even though I just use 3G for Google Maps and e-mails (not even watching YouTube or any other rich content)
- What happened to be a £15 a month contract ends being a £35 although I work from home (I use Skype and Google Voice/Talk for calls and WiFi for emails, I only use the phones’ 3G on weekends and push notifications when I get out of home for shopping or to meet with friends)
Moving to Tesco
I’m sure a ‘smaller’ company will respect the final user a bit more than the big company.
Update (June 2011)
Tesco was disappointing too, the Internet was very limiting in my iPhone and I met bandwidth quotas in the second week loosing Internet for half a month. I kept searching and… hell yes! Found the best mobile phone company in the UK! It is called GiffGaff and for only £12 a month you get unlimited Internet (6,000 MB per month), unlimited texts to any mobile phone in the UK, unlimited calls to other GiffGaff members and 250 real minutes to other UK phones! All of these without contracts or stupid conditions and it uses the O2 network which is the best in the UK, I’ve been using it until now and I am so happy to have discovered this company! If you are using Orange, Vodafone or any other give it a try, you can ask for your free SIM and if you like it then switch your mobile phone in a couple days! Get your free SIM through this link and you get £5.00 extra credit thanks to my recommendation.
Disclaimer: This is a personal true experience. I am writing this down so people don’t make the same mistake I did. All the information here is true and since I haven’t signed any non-disclosure contract I feel it is the right thing to let the world know about it.