The end of a special relationship.

The end of a special relationship.

If you’ve followed my mutterings on Twitter then you’ll know that I recently made a big change in my life.

We’ve actually been together since 1995, so I tried my best to work things out. However, recently I decided that it would probably be best if we went our separate ways. This has caused me a lot of inner turmoil.

Yes, I’ll admit that it was partially my fault. Yes, I was unfaithful. I looked around, I tried new things and found that others could offer more.

So yesterday it was time to finish it. After 18 years, I ended my Orange contract.


I’ve always dabbled with other networks when reviewing handsets, plus I’ve started carrying a couple of phones around now, but my “main” handset has always been a contract phone with Orange. Due to my increased use of data and the fact that I don’t need to upgrade, I’ve decided to switch to GiffGaff on a monthly SIM-only deal. Unlimited data and texts for £12? That’ll do me.

It could be a temporary measure in the end, but I don’t see the need to pay contract rates which subsidise a phone I’ve effectively finished paying for now. Plus, with Orange bumping up the prices mid-way through my contract and my workplace getting glorious GPRS constantly, I’ve switched to a network that offers me what I need at a lower price. SIM only also has other benefits in that I can switch to a full contract later down the line if I need to.

Orange, however, don’t make it easy. I told them a little white lie – I said that my employers had given me a mobile and I could move my number over. Sure, I have a work mobile, but in truth I don’t want to port my number across to it. However, it’s a way of getting the PAC code quickly, plus it avoids spending ages on the phone to the Retentions Department as they try and tempt you with other contract deals. I have the will-power of a chocolate-lover in the Cadbury factory.

Even so, Orange had placed a gorgeous-sounding girl on the line with a beautifully soft southern Irish accent. Somehow I remained strong and, within a couple of minutes, the divorce was complete.

I’ll let you know how things proceed from here but, like banks, many people choose not to switch and stay with one provider for a long time. Make that break if you see a better deal, you’ll feel much better for it.

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  • weirdstuff

    I’m on GiffGaff and there’re great, £12 for unlimited data and texts? Perfecto!

  • Giffgaff (hence O2) and the increased use of data? I’m guessing you’re going to switch away from that combination very soon. I’ve been a huge advocate for giffgaff, they really are an unique and exceptionally user-friendly network offering pretty good value packages, however their biggest issue is the quality (or lack of thereof) of the network which they run on. The quality of O2 network in London is simply unacceptable. The 3G coverage is a hit-and-miss, the data service is also very flaky and voice calls get dropped fairly often.

    In fact, while writing this words I have a MiFi with giffgaff’s Gigabag SIM inside next to me, I am in Central London and I’ve tried to use that MiFi to connect my laptop to the network literally around an hour ago. Despite device showing full 3G coverage, the data just doesn’t flow through it. I tried to reboot the MiFi, reconnect laptop’s wifi etc etc numerous times – no luck whatsoever. I just gave up and used different connection instead.

    It might turn out well in places you visit most, however my experience with O2 in London tells me that you might want to reconsider the choice quite soon… Good luck!

    • Eric

      I am in the London and o2 has always been fine for me

      • Sure, different areas might provide different experience, hence I said “It might turn out well in places you visit most” in the end. In areas where I’m most often in the quality provided by O2 is unfortunately not the greatest.

  • Cheap Bob

    The beauty of giffgaff is that you can change tariff to suit each month. I’m currently working from home, so knowing this, I simply went for their £7.50 deal. next month I might need the extra data, but I’ll cross that bridge….

  • Simon Hardy

    Of the 19 or 20 years that I have been using mobiles, all of that was with Orange with the exception of a 3 year hiatus to T-Mobile a few years back. I too decided to switch to GiffGaff at the start of the year. The low price of the Nexus 4 helped with this decision.

    However, my phone call to Orange to get my PAC code sounds like it was VERY different to your experience. I made it quite clear from the outset that I was leaving and nothing they could say would change that, but the guy on the other end of the phone still kept me talking for over half an hour. During that time he made no attempt to sell me any positives of staying with Orange, instead opting to spend the entire time slagging off all other networks and in particular the option that I had chosen.

    Also, watch out as when I received my final bill it was in no way representative of what I was lead to expect based on that conversation. As a result I ended up spending approximately £12 more than I should have done. I guess I could have gone back and insisted they retrieve the call recording and adjust the bill according to the information that I had been given, but I thought better of it. It’d be time I couldn’t get back and I was just glad to be free of the shackles of Orange and overpriced and under-delivering contracts.

  • the_prof

    From my experience, the once fantastic Orange left little to be desired over recent times. I left them in about 2007, and by then I’d been with them 12 years. Back in the beginning, they were a really refreshing alternative to the likes of Vodafone, Cellnet, etc. I always thought the contracts were pretty reasonable, and if you had a problem, they fell over themselves to help you out. That stopped abruptly in around 2004-5 (I think after their first takeover), and I’d pretty much decided then I no longer wanted to be a customer of theirs (for various reasons which I won’t go into).

    Since then, I don’t think I ever saw an Orange deal which even remotely appealed to me. Everything seemed overpriced, limited and usually nowhere near what I wanted.

    I feel most of the Mobile Operators these days do this, but not quite to the extent of Orange. My biggest bugbear is data. Why on earth do they feel 500MB is a reasonable amount of data these days? I think they all need to get with the times.

  • Cellnet …. that takes me back…

  • neuty

    myself and my family have been on giffgaff for 18 months now and it is just fantastic. Solid signal and the free giffgaff to giffgaff deal is great. I paid £45 a month for an iPhone contract. I now pay less for 4 contracts on giffgaff.

  • Clarkieboy

    Go for it, I say! I used to be a big fan of GiffGaff but, as my data demands increased, I found the O2 network was more and more of an issue. Went to Talkmobile for a while, as their deals were good, but now having issues with Vodafone too. Do either of these allow tethering any more?

    My mate compared his phone on Three with mine (exact same devices, both) on Vodafone during a journey up the M1 from Basingstoke to Darlington. He consistently had 2-3x the data speeds of mine – H/H+ most of the way on Three, G/E/3G on Vodafone. So much for the touted coverage of Vodafone – I’m looking at Three now – limited choices for legit tethering though, and only 24 month contracts that do allow it..

    • Bob

      I was on Three,. their data speeds were so much better, but their overall coverage was dreadful. I would have stayed, but we couldn’t even use our phones at home…. On giffgaff now.

  • It’s sad, but we probably don’t have the choice we think, as there is such inconsistency of reception on all the networks.
    I’m with Three and its brilliant for where I work and the commute (and reasonable round my house). However O2 (& so Giff Gaff) is abysmal – the highest I get is Edge, until I actually get to work (60 miles from home!), which is the first place I get 3G!
    So I count myself lucky I have reception on the contract/network I want, but why in this age is it still a postcode lottery?!
    (although home broadband is as well – again, why?!!)