Today was the day my mobile number was to be ported from Virgin to Orange. This was to occur, they said, between 11 am and 4 pm. I was looking forward to it and to setting up my Orange online account and email with the new number.
Did it work? Well, yes, after a fashion.
Don’t think I am unused to porting numbers. I have done it several times before. I know—or thought I knew—how it went. I left my Orange SIM in phone number 2 and turned this off. I left phone number 1 on, with the Virgin SIM in it. Then I waited. According to the customer services person, I would know when the port had occurred because my Virgin SIM would stop working.
The day passed. I kept trying my phone and it kept working. I went to lunch with Tigger and her sister and came home again. It was still working. At 3:30 I went down to meet Tigger from work. Before I left home, something slightly odd did occur: I found that if I dialled a number, it appeared to ring but didn’t actually connect. I assumed the port was taking place so went off down to Borough, expecting the changeover to have occurred by the time I emerged from the tube.
Instead, I found that numbers now connected again as if nothing had changed. It had now gone 4 pm and I was feeling cheated: why hadn’t the port occurred as promised? Back home, around 5 pm I was about to ring to complain but decided first to try the phone with the Orange SIM in it. I used it to call Tigger’s phone which reported my usual number: so the port had occurred and I hadn’t known it. But wait a minute: I could still place calls with the Virgin SIM! It seemed that both SIMs were working! Perhaps this is because it takes time for the new details to pass through the network of computers and that for a while your status is ambiguous. It at least explained why I thought the port had not occurred.
I now happily went about the business of setting up my online account. It accepted my new phone number without a murmur and… brought up all my personal details without my having to type them in. In other words, it had resuscitated the old account that had been deleted. And I still couldn’t get rid of the obsolete home landline number!
This time I felt I had cause to call the accounts helpline. The chap I got found it difficult to grasp what I was telling him. Maybe he has had a long day and is tired. I gently and politely went through the problem with him several times until he finally understood or seemed to. It became clear that he was unable, or didn’t want, to take any action. “With a problem like this, I would have to escalate it up to the next level and that could take a long time,” he claimed. He suggested that the problem has arisen because the port is recent and hasn’t filtered through the system yet, though I know (and pointed out) that this is not so because the problem already existed with the old account.
In the end, I agreed to wait 24 hours and to see if the situation had righted itself. Having ended the call and gone back to my online account I saw a status notice: my account will be unavailable tomorrow and the day after while essential work is carried out! How frustrating is that?
I think I will simply forget about Orange online accounts and email (it wouldn’t let me create an email account though it wouldn’t say why). It is just too wearing on the nervous system to continually beat one’s metaphorical head against their metaphorical wall. I can set up a GMX email account quite easily instead and top up with vouchers from Sainsbury.
By the way, if you need an email account independent of your ISP, I recommend GMX. If you set up an account with them, you can access it both on the Web and with POP3. And it’s free! And it’s not Google mail, happily.
Oh, yes: did you guess which new phone I eventually bought, the black or the red? I bet you guessed red, eh?
In the end I decided that as the red phone also had red decor on its display which could become a bit wearing after a while, and as I saw no point in paying extra just for a different colour, I would choose the black one. I have ordered it but with the postal (dis)service in disarray, who knows when it will reach me? I am still waiting for my geotagger…
Frustrations, it seems, never come singly but travel in groups.