Oranges and E numbers

Last Thursday, I wrote that we were changing mobile phone network suppliers, leaving Virgin, who have increased their PAYG prices, for a better deal—and better coverage—elsewhere. I concluded by saying that Tigger was going for the ASDA SIM while I had chosen Vodafone’s £10-per-month SIM-only deal. However, I did also say that I always have trouble making up my mind, and so it proved yet again.

I rarely have only one mobile phone on the go. I’m a belt and braces tiger and I know the fallibility of mobile networks and that where one doesn’t work, another sometimes will. Years ago I bought an Orange SIM on a PAYG tariff and stuck it in a spare phone. Many times it has come in useful when I have been places where only an Orange mobile will work.

The last few years, we’ve mostly gone to urban areas where our Virgin/T-Mobile phones worked and so the Orange SIM, in a switched off phone, was allowed to languish. A similar fate befell a Vodafone PAYG SIM in another phone. However, while Vodafone unceremoniously disconnected its SIM, taking my credit with it, Orange hung on in there and when I switched the phone on the other day, it was working happily. I felt that such fidelity should be rewarded if possible.

Now, a few years back, we were both “on” Orange. However, the service deteriorated alarmingly to the point where we couldn’t use our phones either at home or at work. Calls to customer services produced vague assurances that “the engineers are working on it” but after several months there was no improvement so we bade them farewell.

Today, Orange seems to be working well in these erstwhile blank spots and I do have tender memories of using it at the Lizard in Cornwall where no other network had coverage. So I finally took the plunge, changed my Orange tariff to Racoon (15p per minute, 10p per SMS) and asked them to port my number over from Virgin. The changeover is supposed to happen tomorrow between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm.

The ASDA SIMS arrived today, and I think Tigger will sign up for the PAYG service and port her number to it while I will keep my SIM as a backup.

So everything should be fine and dandy, shouldn’t it? Well, not quite. I had a very frustrating day yesterday though I think things have now been sorted out. I found there were problems with my online account with Orange and its associated email. I couldn’t get them to work properly. I naturally supposed this was my fault and spent hours fiddling with settings, all to no avail.

In the end I called customer services who put me through to the specialized online account department. They confirmed that there was a problem but they couldn’t locate the cause or see how to fix it. Not that it matters because once my number has been ported, I will in any case have to open a new online account and email. So the problem will be solved by dumping the faulty old account.

When you call Orange, you get the usual annoying “If you want X, press 1; if you want Y, press 2…” and so on and once beyond this nonsense you are treated to a puff about Orange being dedicated to “excellent customer service”. Did they match up to their claim? Actually, I think they did pretty well. The people I spoke to seemed to be on top of the work but didn’t hesitate to pass me on when a matter was beyond their competence.

The only criticism I have is the noise level on the line. This was especially noticeable when I was talking to the online accounts department where background conversations could be clearly heard, sometimes making it difficult for me to understand the person I was talking to.

That wasn’t the end of the frustrations, however. After much cogitation and battling of my inability to make decisions, I decided to buy the Nokia E90 as my new phone… only to find that Nokia has now sold out. You can still buy this model but it means searching around for dealers who still have the odd one left. It struck me that, however excellent this phone is, buying an obsolete model was probably not a good idea.

The nearest current model to our Nokia 9300 and the E90 appears to be the E75. Tigger has already ordered one at a good price from Amazon. I would do so too but for a little problem. (There’s always a problem, isn’t there?) They come in two colours, black or red. Tigger has gone for black. Guess which one I want. Yep, the red one. For some strange reason, the red one is more expensive, a lot more expensive. I have no idea why. The cheapest I have found is from the Nokia shop but even so it’s more expensive than Tigger’s black one from Amazon.

What should I do: settle for the black one like everyone else or pay over the odds for the red one? I think red’s nicer but black’s cheaper and quite smart. Here we go again: decisions, decisions… 🙂 Which way will the tiger jump?


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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2 Responses to Oranges and E numbers

  1. Claude says:

    I can’t believe that you’re almost worse than I am! Two phones!
    I have an iPhone that I dearly love and as it’s not simlocked, when I was in England, I got myself a T-mobile sim card that allowed me to go on the Internet, send photos and blog!
    I’ve now put the card away and will use it again whenever I go back to the UK.

    • SilverTiger says:

      I should say “two SIMs” rather than “two phones” because I have many phones. So does Tigger. We are thinking of collecting up the older ones and giving them to charity.

      Having two SIMs is modest for me as I used always used to have at least 3, all on different networks.

      It’s a good idea to put a “local” SIM in your phone when abroad. That’s what I did when we went to Canada. “Roaming” costs are ridiculous.

      I abominate locked phones. For a network to lock phones is dishonest and immoral and ought to be illegal. You own the phone and the network therefore has no right to limit your use of it. Nowadays I buy my phones myself but before that I always got my phones unlocked as soon as they reached me.

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