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Posts Tagged ‘orange’

  1. Thanks, O2, for being deliberately vague and annoying

    April 5, 2013 by superlative

    A couple of weeks ago I realised that I suddenly had no mobile reception at home. I live in a basement flat, so reception can always be a little bit patchy, but this was different – there was absolutely none at all.

    I’m currently a giffgaff customer, which means that I use the O2 network but I pay my money to giffgaff. I’ve been pleased with giffgaff overall – after a few problems getting my number ported over to them, my service has been very good and they’re very cheap. I don’t blame giffgaff for my coverage problems, as they don’t maintain the infrastructure; that side of it is up to O2.

    I rooted around a bit online and found the O2 webpage where you can check if there are any problems in your area, and sure enough it told me ‘We’re currently working on a mast in your area’. So I stuck with it for a bit, but after a couple of days there was no improvement and I started to get huffy.

    I asked the O2 Twitter account if they had any information, and they requested that I send them my postcode so they could check. When they came back to me they said ‘We’ve upgraded nearby sites to increase signal and we’re putting long-term steps in place to restore service.’ Oh right, I thought, they’re doing some upgrade work, and once they’ve finished I’ll be back to normal, possibly with better coverage than before, because it’s been upgraded.

    Except I won’t be because it hasn’t. I found out yesterday that what’s actually happened is my nearest O2 mast on top of the Royal Sussex County Hospital has been decommissioned to make way for a new helipad they’re building there. O2 hasn’t been successful in getting planning permission to build a replacement mast nearby, so all they have been able to do is boost the capacity at their other nearby masts to try to compensate for the big hole that’s been poked in their network coverage.

    So when they said ‘We’ve upgraded nearby sites to increase signal and we’re putting long-term steps in place to restore service’, they weren’t lying, but what they actually meant was ‘We’ve decommissioned a mast; we’ve tried to compensate from other masts (but that obviously isn’t doing very much, as loads of people in Kemp Town now have no network); and we’re looking into a replacement but have no idea what or where that will be, or how long it will take to get planning permission for it’.

    So that’s a bit shit really. They skirted round what the real explanation was, and have left anyone who asked them hanging on thinking that their network coverage would be restored within a few days. I can’t see them being able to sort this out in anything less than a few weeks, and it may even be months. So what are people meant to do in the meantime? A mobile phone really does depend on having a network connection, otherwise it just becomes a very small tablet computer that magically transforms into a phone once you get the bus to a different part of town.

    I’m quite annoyed with them, because they were deliberately vague to try to delay any loss of customers. When I asked them about their lack of clarity, they replied ‘unfortunately we didn’t have this information [about the mast being decommissioned] at the time’. Oh REALLY? It wasn’t struck by lightning. It was dismantled, and it belongs to you. You must have known that was going to happen, and you must have known you had no location for a replacement mast. Did you tell anyone? Your own customers, or giffgaff so they could tell their customers? No. You switched it off, waited for people to start complaining, and then fudged a response.

    I think that’s very poor. If a service you provide is going to be significantly disrupted and you know about it in advance, the least you can do is tell people. It’s just treating your customers with respect. But they haven’t done that, and now I’m most likely going to have to leave a network I was otherwise happy with and transfer back to Orange (/T-Mobile/EE/can you PLEASE just pick a fucking name and use it?).

    Poor show, O2. Very poor.

  2. Orange vs giffgaff

    September 7, 2011 by superlative

    I have been trying out a SIM card I got from the mobile network giffgaff for the last week or so, to see how it compares to the service I get from Orange.

    Basically I have been with Orange for about four years, but the reception I get from them is a bit rubbish. The data connection I get when using the internet on my phone is awful, and it yo-yos up and down from HSDPA to 3G to 2G to no Gs at all. Coupled with that, Orange introduced the extremely useful function last year of customers being able to use the T-Mobile network as well as their own – which would be a benefit, were you able to get anything other than a 2G connection on it. So once your phone hops onto T-Mobile you get capped at 2G, and it’s really difficult to force your phone back onto Orange.

    Since we moved into our basement flat, my reception at home has been terrible and I have to leave my mobile in strategic positions round the house to make sure it has a signal. My reception at work has always been pretty poor, and again I have to leave my phone in the right place on my desk otherwise it drops off the network entirely.

    All in all, it makes my phone very hard to use for data, and given it’s a smartphone that’s kind of the point.

    So, as some of you may remember from previous posts, I have become a lot more proactive in the last year or two about taking my custom elsewhere if I’m not getting good enough service. I changed bank and I changed broadband provider, and now I’m thinking I might change mobile provider as well.

    giffgaff is a not so well known network that runs on O2’s infrastructure. It is similar in that way to companies such as Tesco Mobile and Virgin Mobile, which don’t actually have their own masts and instead pay to use those of one of the big proper networks.

    giffgaff sells itself as ‘the mobile network run by you’, in that it is a kind of community where members offer technical support to each other and customers are fairly tech-savvy and don’t need a lot of help from the company itself. For this reason they don’t offer telephone support of any kind, and that helps them to keep their costs down. If you look for a phone number on their website you won’t find one, or at least I haven’t managed to so far.

    They also offer an unusually cheap pay as you go package.

    At the moment, I really don’t spend a lot on my mobile. I buy the handset separately, so I do spend a bit on that, but month to month Orange has worked out very cheaply indeed. I’m on their Dolphin PAYG tariff, and if I top up by £10 in a month I get a free bundle of 400 texts and 100Mb of data to use. I never use that many texts, and 100Mb is sufficient just about for me given I only really use my data allowance on the way to and from work. After I have exhausted my bundle or my month is up, I still have the £10 of credit left that I put on it, and with it I can buy an ‘Extra’ (another bundle basically) of unlimited texts for £5 that lasts for a month, and another one of 250Mb of data for £5 for one month. My only other expenditure goes on the very occasional calls I make that require me to top up by a little bit more every now and then.

    But in total and on average, I would estimate I’m only spending about £7.50 per month on using my phone, which is really good.

    BUT it’s not so good if your reception is crappy and you can’t actually use the phone half the time.

    So I have been doing a comparison with giffgaff, and here are my results so far:

    Reception at home: not dissimilar, I still have to leave the phone in the right places. The signal is perhaps marginally stronger.
    Reception at work: much, much better. It stays on the network most of the time, and I can actually carry it round with me and it still works! It’s stupid that this is unusual for me, but it is.
    Data connection to and from work: AMAZINGLY BETTER. It basically stays on HSDPA the whole way, and only occasionally does down to 3G. It’s really fast, and generally very stable.

    How does it compare on price?

    Well giffgaff is pay as you go too, and they call their bundles ‘Goodybags’. All networks have to make up stupid names for their bundles, apparently.

    A £10 goodybag on giffgaff gets you:
    250 UK minutes to any mobile or landline
    Unlimited UK texts
    Unlimited data

    To get unlimited data on pay as you go is really unusual, and to get free minutes to any network is pretty unusual too. That goodybag would easily cover all my usage, and would allow me to use my phone a lot more for things like streaming music than I have ever been able to before. I’d have to buy a goodybag every month, so I’d be looking at spending a small amount more £10 every month rather than around £7.50.

    I did a little experiment yesterday to see how much data I’d use on my phone if I really used it. I left it on Orange, with 77Mb of data allowance remaining, and then I streamed Google Music all the way to work while tweeting every so often. I got to work, and my WHOLE allowance was gone and I’d spent £2 of credit! I was shocked that it was so much, and that was even streaming using a crappy connection that kept cutting out. So if I wanted to do that all the time, there is no way I could do it on Orange, I would need an unlimited data package like giffgaff.

    Reading all that back, it sounds like yes I should switch to giffgaff. I’ll be spending a bit more, but other than that I haven’t really found a downside. I just get a bit jittery about committing to something like this, in case I regret it later. But I can probably transfer my number back to Orange in future if I really want to, can’t I? Yes I probably can.

    So it looks like giffgaff it is then.


  3. In your FACE, Sony Ericsson

    April 21, 2010 by superlative

    UPDATED 2 JULY 2015: During 2015 the domain name was purchased by a different company based in the United States. The comments made in this post bear no relation to the new owners of this domain name. This note has been added out of courtesy to the new owners.

    I fixed it!!!

    This is an update to my post from yesterday about Chris’ shitty broken Sony Ericsson.
    I looked at it again last night, as I said, and tried the Phone Repair function that is part of its program on my PC again. It had already failed to repair it several times on Monday, so I thought it was a bit of a long-shot last ditch attempt, but I had suspected that the reason it was failing was that the battery wasn’t lasting long enough each time for it to wipe and reload the software before the phone switched off.
    It was difficult to charge the phone though, because it seemed to refuse to charge for more than 10 minutes at a time before all its lights went off and it looked suspiciously like it was ignoring the power input. So in the end I kept unplugging and replugging it every time the lights went off until I decided it might have enough power stored up to give it a go.
    And it worked! I was SO surprised, as normally these things never do anything. It successfully downloaded the newest version of the software from Sony Ericsson, accessed the phone in some weird Flash drive mode, wiped everything (this is the point where it kept failing and I thought I might have actually made the phone worse than before), and then shoved the software back in before it ran out of power.
    And now the phone is up and running again! Yes it has lost all of its previous data and phone numbers, but that ship sailed the minute it packed in on the plane anyway.
    AND we won’t have to pay anything getting it fixed, or mess about sending it off for repair. And that’s probably all the repair person would have done anyway, so it would have been a total rip off.
    So yay me!
    One thing I forgot to mention before was that I am APPALLED by the new ‘repair under warranty’ system that Orange seem to be operating. When we went to the Orange shop and the guy agreed it needed to go off for repair, he gave Chris a card for a repair company who he said were now handling all their repairs. But in order to send it off to them for assessment and repair, even under warranty, you have to pay the company a £15 handling fee! How is that even legal? If it’s broken and under warranty, it should be fixed at the expense of the retailer or manufacturer, surely? So we weren’t very happy about that at all.
    But anyway, fuck it, it’s fixed now and it didn’t cost anything, so and Sony Ericsson and Orange can all suck my balls. They’ll have to form an orderly queue though.
    FINGERS CROSSED it will remain fixed and not screw itself up again. My C510 lasted without error for a year after it had its software upgraded, so I’m hoping this will be the same.
    I shall be basking in my own smugness until such time as it breaks again anyway 🙂

  4. Stupid Sony Ericsson AGAIN

    April 20, 2010 by superlative

    If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that last year I had some issues with my new Sony Ericsson phone. ‘Some issues’ is probably an understatement actually, as its software decided to completely fuck itself up and render the phone inoperable.

    After some internet searching, it transpired that this was a not uncommon problem with phones using that version of Sony Ericsson’s software, and that the only solution was to have Orange send it back to the manufacturer to be wiped and the new version of the software installed. This I did, and I lost all my numbers and it was annoying, but the phone at least worked again until I replaced it last month. Well, I say it worked, but that was only with some bits of paper jammed in next to the battery to stop it from switching off all the time, in another apparently characteristic problem with Sony Ericssons.
    Anyway, shortly after my phone woes, Chris decided that he liked the tariff I was on with Orange, and he also wanted a 3G phone like I had, so off we toddled and bought him a nice new Sony Ericsson W595. As I mentioned in my previous post on this subject, that phone also had the randomly-turning-off problem, but as I didn’t know about the bit of paper solution at the time we had to take it back and get it replaced immediately after we bought it. After that it was fine.
    Except that after that it is NOT fine, stupid stupid me for possibly thinking that it would be. Because what has happened? The software has fucked his phone as well! As we boarded our flight to New York and he was checking his texts before switching the phone off, up popped, to my horror, a funny error message: “Insert correct SIM”. Erm… OK, it’s still got the same SIM in it.
    Maybe it’s got some dust in it. We’ll just take the SIM out and put it back in and it’ll be fine. No, no that’s not done it. Well we’ll just leave it switched off and then charge it up when we get to New York and it’ll probably sort itself out.
    Plug it in in New York. “Unable to charge. Use only a Sony Ericsson battery.” Now WHERE have I seen that message before..?
    I can’t fucking BELIEVE it. What kind of faulty crap are Sony Ericsson producing?
    So I bought my C510, and it broke. I got it back, and it still wasn’t right, and I had to jam lime green post-it note pieces inside it just to make it work.
    Chris bought a W595, and it had to be replaced straight away. And then the fucker breaks with EXACTLY THE SAME PROBLEM as mine a few months later.
    I’m absolutely APPALLED. When the phones work, they are fine, brilliant in fact, and Chris had actually just said minutes before it broke “I love this phone, I don’t think I ever want to change it”. Ho ho ho, well thank you sod’s law for pissing all over that.
    But to have such a catalogue of failures just between the two of us I think is terrible. My previous opinion that Sony Ericsson make the best phones has been replaced by the view that they make shitty, shitty phones that you can’t trust. I’ve never, EVER had a phone that has died due to a manufacturing error and needed to go back for repair before I bought my Sony Ericsson. I’ve had Nokias, Motorolas, LGs, and even a fucking Lobster (yes that is a real phone make), and they just worked until I replaced them or bashed them and the screen went funny.
    And to make it worse, Chris doesn’t have his receipt. Why doesn’t he? Because when he took his first W595 back THE DAY AFTER BUYING IT BECAUSE IT WAS SHIT, Orange took it and clipped it to something so they could send the faulty one back to Sony Ericsson. So now it won’t be covered under warranty.
    What a fucking shambles.
    There’s a Phone Repair function on my Sony Ericsson PC Suite that I’m going to try again tonight which may allow us to fix it at home, but I tried it last night and it failed. I’m hoping that’s just because it needed to be plugged in for longer so the battery had more of a charge. If it won’t work, it’ll have to go off for private repair.
    I really don’t think I can bring myself to buy a Sony Ericsson again. They should be fucking ashamed of themselves.

  5. Stupid Orange – or stupid Sony Ericsson?

    September 17, 2009 by superlative

    I hope that Melany from Sony Ericsson is as on the case as she was last week, and miraculously finds this post while trawling the internet for discussions of their mobiles. Maybe she can offer some helpful advice in the comments? (holds breath)

    I got my C510 back yesterday, about half a week earlier than I was expecting, which was a nice surprise. I got them to turn it on in front of me in the shop to make sure it was working, and all seemed fine. Sony Ericsson have upgraded the firmware to the latest version, and you can tell that some improvements have been made to it because it seems to function a little better. For one thing it doesn’t hang for 10 seconds every time you try to go into the contacts directory, so I thought “oo, things are looking up”.
    It was fine all last night, and I got it set up again pretty much how I had it before. The only thing I noticed was that the battery seemed to run down quite quickly, but I attributed that to the fact I was using it a lot and launching and closing applications all the time.
    This morning it was also fine and let me listen to music on the way to work and check my Twitter. All fine and dandy it seemed. Until after about an hour of being at work, I noticed it was off. Strange, I thought, and turned it back on. Then I plugged it in to charge it, and it was suddenly off. No shut down sequence, just off.
    Hmm, I thought. The battery can’t have been that low, it would have warned me.
    After a bit of searching on the internet (AGAIN), I found that indeed Sony Ericssons do have a habit of switching off randomly. Chris just bought one, and it had to go back to the shop the next day and be replaced for the same reason; we just thought it was a faulty handset.
    The helpful internet forums suggested reflashing the firmware (erm, possibly not going to help in my case), OR that it could be a notorious loose battery problem that you get on SE phones. Some people complained that tapping their phone on its side would cause it to switch off. I gingerly tapped my phone against the desk, and off it went. I turned it back on, tapped it, and off it switched again. When I opened the back, I found that yes the battery was able to slide about slightly, roughly a millimetre from side to side. The gold contacts were also a bit grubby.
    I have cleaned the contacts, and have insert two small pieces of paper next to the battery, which prevent it from moving. It’s been on for a while now charging, and I have tried tapping it from various angles without any ill effects.
    So… is it fixed? I’m not sure. Why did it start doing this switching off thing suddenly? Who knows. I’m not particularly happy, but stupid and ridiculous as this folded paper thing seems, if it fixes it I don’t care.
    I’m very disappointed in Sony Ericsson though. I thought they were like the best phone make. Why can’t any electrical products be made to proper standards any more? The amount of things I’ve had to take back to the shop – cameras, televisions, phones – it’s just ridiculous. I don’t remember such problems when everything used to be made in Japan, maybe it’s cheap Chinese and Korean components that cause it.
    Well anyway, I guess I’ll just keep an eye on it. I can’t be arsed to take it back to the shop AGAIN. Everyone think good thoughts about my phone…

  6. Stupid Orange

    September 11, 2009 by superlative

    *** Update May 2010: You may also want to see my more recent post in which I successfully FIXED a phone with this problem at home! ***

    This isn’t a rant about citrus fruit (I’ll save that for later, stupid vitamin-filled bastards), but rather a complaint about Orange Mobile and their shoddy merchandise and shoddy customer service.

    I have been without my phone for the last week, and will continue to be so for next week as well. I’ve only had the bloody thing for five months, it’s a Sony Ericsson C510, but last Saturday it decided to keel over and die. What was I doing that taxed it beyond reasonable limits? Trying to text my Mum. Possibly the most mundane and easy thing you can do on a mobile.
    Having done some searching on the web, I realise now that I’m not the only Sony Ericsson owner this has happened to, and there were precautions I could have taken to prevent it. But of course before it died I had to reason to take them, so I didn’t.
    Basically, either the software or the memory or both decided to fail. I got as far as ‘Send message’, when it suddenly said “Memory full. Delete a file of your choice? Yes/No”. I said yes, and then the phone karked it. It crashed beyond recovery (I had to take the battery out), and then displayed this exciting list of symptoms:
    • no access to the network, or indeed any network. (The manual helpfully said “try changing your location if you cannot access your network.” Er, no.)
    • no access to the phonebook, it locked up if you even tried.
    • inability to charge the phone, as when you plugged it in it said “Please use a Sony Ericsson battery” and then refused to cooperate, even when I shouted “IT IS A FUCKING SONY ERICSSON BATTERY” at it.
    • all menu text had changed to black on a black background, so you couldn’t read anything. Well, in fact you could, because the highlighted menu item remained white, you just couldn’t see any of the other options in the list until you moved up or down. So that made navigation very exciting as you never knew what was coming next.
    • unable to connect the phone to the PC, as the Sony Ericsson Phone Suite programme thingy refused to recognise the phone.
    So, all in all, it was fucked.
    The helpful information I found on the web blamed a software error, and said it might be resolved if you updated the firmware. Indeed, on the Sony Ericsson site, there was a new version which proudly proclaimed it would resolve certain errors and improve memory access. Well, that’s lovely, but it was a bit fucking late now that my phone was dead and I couldn’t connect it to the PC to wipe it and reload the software. I also couldn’t back up my contacts directory onto the computer, or even onto the SIM, because it couldn’t access it.
    So after a couple of hours of futilely turning it on and off and hoping it magically healed itself, I took it back to the Orange shop.
    Were they concerned, apologetic, sympathetic and helpful? No.
    I got some woman, who I assume must have been the store manager judging by her rather casual attire and blasé attitude, and explained that the phone was busted.
    “Oh right. Well it’ll have to go back to Sony Ericsson to be fixed then. They’ll wipe it and reload the software. We’re not fixing them ourselves any more, we’re sending them straight to them” (a big hint, I think, that other people have had the same problem). “It’ll take 10 days.”
    “10 days, or 10 working days?”
    “10 working days.”
    “So two weeks then. What do I do for a phone in the meantime?”
    “You’ll have to use an old handset if you’ve got one.”
    “I have one, but it doesn’t work very well, that’s why I bought a new one. Isn’t there anything else you can do for me?” (I was hoping for a courtesy phone, which I know they can do because I could see the space on the form for it)
    “Not unless you have another old handset.”
    “So that’s a no then. What about my numbers?”
    “I’ll back them up onto your SIM for you.” (starts jabbing with her podgy fingers at the buttons)
    “You can’t. As I said, you can’t access the phonebook.”
    “Well you’ll lose your numbers then.”
    “Oh. Thanks.”
    And that was it! No apology, no nothing. I’m now just waiting for a call to say the phone is back and I can go and get it. I’m hoping it’ll be before the end of next week, but based on my experience so far it’s more likely to be the start of the week after.
    So I’ve got no 3G any more, and I’m stuck with my crappy LG Chocolate which looks nice but works like it was programmed by illiterate paraplegics with severe brain injuries.
    My advice to you if you’re reading this post because you’ve searched for Sony Ericsson C510 on Google is to install the Phone Suite programme thingy and back up your phone now. Then, if you know what you’re doing, upgrade your software to the latest version. I’m not sure if that means you lose any network-specific customisations (mine had special Orange links built into the menus), but it’s probably worth it to keep the phone from dying.
    It’s a shame, because I loved my C510, it’s the best phone I’ve ever had, and most people have told me Sony Ericssons are really good. Maybe it’ll come back in tip top condition and I’ll have no more problems with it, but whatever happens it’ll be no thanks to Miss Piggy of the Brighton Orange shop.

  7. Feeling ill and general rubbishness

    February 13, 2009 by superlative

    Yes I’m ill again, only a couple of months after I was ill the last time. This time it’s a horrible sore throat that I’ve had since Tuesday evening. I was off work yesterday with it and am off again today, even though I hoped it would probably be on its way out by now. It’s probably the worst sore throat I’ve had, normally I just get colds and feel bunged up and feverish. It feels like I’ve been eating razorblades, and sometimes it’s really hard to swallow. Oddly, it feels better when I’m eating (although not chocolate, ouch).

    I went to Boots just now and experienced my first of two examples of really rubbish customer service. I thought I’d go to an actual pharmacy so I could get something for my throat that’s a bit stronger than an off-the-shelf thing like Strepsils which don’t seem to be doing anything. So I went in and asked if they had anything for sore throats, to which a bored looking woman called Marianne gestured vaguely at the shelf behind her and said “we’ve got these, some are sprays and some are lozenges”.

    “Oh right…”, I said. “Are any better than others, or for different types of sore throat?”

    “These ones are sprays, throat sprays, and these ones are lozenges that you suck”, replied Marianne.

    Well thank you for that Marianne, I’m not sure I’d have known what to do with a lozenge if you hadn’t explained it to me. So I had to just say “well that one’s cherry flavoured, I’ll have that one” and leave feeling rather dissatisfied. Normally I’ve found pharmacy assistants really helpful and they’ve said which brand they think is best, or asked some questions about your symptoms. Apparently Marianne attended the Halfarsed School of Pharmacy though and doesn’t go in for all that.

    My second example of rubbish customer service is courtesy of Orange, to whom I’ve been complaining regarding my Mum’s email. Basically (I won’t bore with details), sometimes she can send mail and sometimes she can’t because the SMTP server refuses the connection or is down, and it can last more than a day before it comes back up again.

    I’ve complained to them before about this, and generally they fob you off with a copy-pasted answer on checking your Outlook settings, and then eventually they say there’s been a local issue which has now been resolved.

    So anyway, I sent them an email on Wednesday saying the problem still hadn’t gone away, explaining what the symptoms were, and saying nothing has changed on my system (I was pretending to be Mum) since it was working fine, so I don’t believe it can be the settings.

    A while later they replied with…. yes, a copy-pasted set of instructions about checking your settings, and a couple of questions tacked on the end asking if I can send email via their webmail (I can) and if I’m connecting to the internet using them as the ISP (I am). So I sigh, and reply.

    Then yesterday someone else replied again with a different-but-not-that-different set of instructions on checking settings, and some more questions, including “can you send email from our webmail” and “are you using Orange as your ISP”. YES YOU BLOODY IDIOTS, do you not even bother to read the emails sent to you?? So I’ve sent them quite a rude reply back saying I don’t appreciate being asked the same question over and over again, and can they actually read my email this time and do something about it. And now it’s all gone quiet for the last 24 hours. Maybe I’ve offended them…

    Anyway, Kristian Digby has just come on the telly so I’m off to drool over him now. He’s got tight jeans on today, he always wears nice clothes. Oh, and my cherry spray has sort of helped but not as much as I was hoping when I read that it contains the grand-sounding “benzocaine”. I was hoping that would be a novocaine-strength product, but apparently it isn’t.