back to article Customers peel away from Orange broadband

Orange has bucked the broadband market growth trend to report a net loss of 4,000 customers in the last three months of 2007, despite a high-profile TV advertising campaign*. It ended the year with 1,138,000 broadband customers, parent company France Telecom's latest financials revealed yesterday - making for a mediocre gain …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
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    Or maybe...

    it was becuase they were / are shit. End Of.....

    Hard to shake the reputation as the countries worst provider. Talk Talk was crap, but at least it was cheap / Free.

  2. Richard Eustace

    Apathetic customer

    I confess I'm an orange broadband customer (I feel slightly grubby now).

    Where I live I can only get 2mb broadband and because I have an orange phone (Which I’m happy with) I get their 2mb broadband free.

    To be honest if I was paying for it I would be looking to change. The broadband customer service is terrible, it's an Indian call centre and I always have language issues (I have a Northern Irish accent), granted their English isn't bad but I usually phone up with technical question. I find this a bit odd, I have never had any issues with mobile customer service, they are always very helpful and have always resolved my problems satisfactorily which is why I have stayed with them for a number of years.

    Maybe the reason they are having trouble linking mobile and broadband services is because when dealing with them it feels like two different companies.

  3. Richie M


    >*You know the one, where the annoying hipster family make a telephone and a computer out of their furniture for no reason at all.

    I never realeased thats what they were advertising! Thanks for the heads-up El Reg.

    (Care to shed light on their advert with the multi-coloured streams etc.?)

    Obviously, Oranges shoddy customer service and cr@p T&C have nothing to do with their loss of subscribers ;-)

  4. Anonymous Coward


    At best Orange customer service is indifferent and they are becoming famous for it.

    They offer no inovation in terms of data bundles for mobile use

    wtf is all that dolphin/rackoon stuff about

    How is anyone suprised ?

  5. Anonymous Coward
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    as they took over Wanadoo, better known as dontWanadoo,

    who in my experience were woeful, it's hardly surprising they're not doing too well.

    I use an orange phone, but when I looked at the proposed free service from orange, it was clear that I'd be much better off paying for a proper connection, rather than a micky mouse one with bugger all bandwidth and shonky speeds

  6. Anonymous Coward
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    I Wonder...

    If it has anything to do with their rubbish customer service and sub par equipment? Livebox anyone?

  7. david bates
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    Big suprise...

    Even free with an Orange Mobile Orange Broadband is poor value for money.

    I was, and now Im with Eclipse and O2. And I'm happy.

  8. Mark Sadler
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    but sir, your router says...

    I was going to have a proper rant here but I think i'd be boring everyone so straight to the point.

    Orange broadband is crap!

    Tech support are a nightmare to deal with. They have you running round in circles checking stuff. They say they will perform some line tests and get back to you (which doesn't happen). They have you run a few more circles, then they try and blame someone else.

    My average connection at the moment (different times of day/ night) is 200-500kbps... yes, i said kbps 200-500 kbps... on their 8 meg package! (despite the router saying i'm getting 7524kbps)

    Perhaps i have just been unlucky... anyone else as unlucky as me? I think the orangeproblems site says it all.

    Never mind my coat, just give me my damn MAC code!

  9. Anonymous Coward


    "An Orange spokesman said its fall was caused by a deliberate decision not to market aggressively, and to fix the technical issues that blighted its first year."

    So, their decline in numbers is caused (in part) by not marketing. Doesn't it make you wonder why they need to spend money advertising/marketing to stop people from leaving them?

    Oh yeah, because it's the poor service offered, poor reliability, poor value for money, poor technical staff outsourced overseas to people with accents so strong they might as well be talking a different language.

    I've had the misfortune of providing IT assistance to friends and family who are now with Orange (because Orange bought their ISPs) and I quite frankly am appalled that anyone would pay these cowboys money.

    I would very much suspect that the number of leavers would have been more, if it wasn't so hard to actually cancel your subscription ...

    ~flame off~

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Nice wagon where are you headed .....

    .... oh! and I see you have a band, can I have a lift?

    The addition of extra services doesn’t excite me at all, because to put it bluntly they can't support the ones they already have.

    It took them over 2.5 months to move a home broadband connection. This wasn't a problem with their staff answering the phones, this was a problem with their back end processes coupled with what appeared to be inter-departmental communication issues. To me this is a reflection on middle management within orange.

    In their defence – once the service is up and running it generally stay’s up and running. Just don’t ask them to do any adds/moves/changes because they will screw it up.

  11. Anonymous Coward
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    Poor Customer Service finally catches up...

    My experience with Orange Customer Services on behalf of my father were not exactly superb!

    At one point they told me to phone BT because it was a line fault despite me telling them the power supply on their provided ADSL router was deader than a dodo!

  12. Simon Hill

    Not a surprise but...

    Their CS and support for BB is poor and the word is getting around with many warning others off moving to Orange.

    However, I have personally had minimal problems and get 5.5Mb BB almost constantly. All for £5 on top of my mobile contract. I would seriously consider other options when my contract is up for renewal, but for now, very happy with them.

  13. Rob Laverty
    Thumb Down

    Orange Are Rubbish

    My Broadband did not work for three months, Tech Support / Customer Services told me to ring back in 5 days, 5 days later still no joy, call back in 5 days ond so on... One Customer Services Supervisor guy told me to go ask my neighbor to find out where my main BT Line in my house was!

    Then Orange Mobile charged me £250 for a "Free" upgrade.

    I am no longer with either.

  14. Tom

    @Richie M

    Yeah, that advert was designed soley to penetrate through your skin and head right for the blackboard of your very soul, and then starts dragging it's nails down the grain, whislt singing Donny Osmand and smearing any large TVs with sticky finger prints.

    I fu(<ing hate that advert, and if i ever met the man who made it, i will kill him. I hope you're reading this, you coke tooting days are numbered sunbeam!

  15. Stuart

    How The Mighty Have Fallen

    I used to recommend business customers use Freeserve. Not because it was cheap but because it was good. The nearest to Demon you could get at the time. Even though there owned by DSG.

    I used to recommend anybody use Orange mobile because Hans Spaak made it the best and most innovative network.

    Hence both have had their share of good but demanding customers who expected innovation (or just stability) to continue.

    And they are just the people who have taken flight. Now getting better deals/performance from O2/T-Mobile for mobile and even BT for broadband. BT - well when people switch that way - you know you are in serious trouble. That is everybody not in Orange Towers.

    Sad. I love the French but they have screwed this company up appallingly.

  16. Phil

    "Virgin is fastest"

    Are you taking the piss??

    My 8MB connection wouldn't stream youtube videos at 10 in the morning, let alone anything in the evening, and the exchange is practically next door! Their customer service gimps gave me the old 'must be your non-virgin router configuration' or perhaps my quad core gaming monster wasn't fast enough to browse some pissy web pages. Idiots.

    Switched to BT and all is fine, all the same gear and wiring my end.

  17. Anonymous Coward
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    Big surprise.

    We'd been with them through their various guises since our first Freeserve Anytime account, and a few months ago we finally decided to up sticks to the slightly better-hued pastures of BT. However, they've stubbornly refused to stop debiting our account for a service we no longer receive, nor particularly want to. (Which, coincidentally, hadn't changed from the original billing plan we had under Freeserve - that is, £27.99 per month for a paltry 512k downstream connection. Ouch.)

  18. kaiserb_uk

    distinguishing feature...

    is that they're crap. As everyone else has already said - I've also tried helping several friends/colleagues who were unfortunate enough to fall for the 'free broadband' offer.

    Sky Max FTW!

  19. sammy

    Its the French that done it!!!!!

    Both Freeserve and Orange provided a much better service before they were purchased by FT.

    And heres the rub because FT was doing so badly in France plus the mobile phones in the UK was going down the pan they decided to rebrand to Orange broadband, this had the effect of allowing Orange to take over the running of the ISP arm, so everyone who had any knowledge about the internal works of an ISP said f**K this I'm off!!

    They made a rod for there own back I have never been to a company with so much dead wood in it.

  20. John King

    On my own here..

    I think I'm the only one happy with my Orange Broadband. For £25 a month I get broadband (at 2Mb) with a wifi router, 600 minutes of calls, unlimited texts and a snazzy smartphone.

    Orange will be messing with my phoneline next week where I presume they are LLU'ing the line (along with a move to 8Mb I hope!). Let's hope that goes smoothly, gulp!

  21. Kevin Johnston

    Ah the Livebox (or is that the deadbox)

    I remember it well. My employer kindly withdrew the 'paid-for' BT business broadband which we used for out of hours support and let us know that we had to provide our own! Those of us who suggested they try folding and inserting it went searching for alternatives and Orange looked quite good at the time with their Livebox router offering VOIP and USB Printer connection. By the time I was on my fourth Livebox and stilll getting dropouts every 20-30 minutes I had had enough especially since every time I spoke to the Indiots I had to start the whole conversation from the beginning. To be fair they did pass my problem to the real TS group each time but since they could not find any problem from their end they would just close the ticket.

    Ah well.....have to win the lottery and get my own T1 or something

  22. Jbhoy
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    They could not care less!

    Their number one problem is they just cant look after their customers! I have been with them since the early freeserve days,through the wanadie times and on to orange ! Its just slowly got worse.

    I had an issue where i could not log on and knew it was because something in my logon name had been changed (at their end) . It took 3 days and 42 calls all on how to reinstall my modem even until i was blue in the teeth telling them it was the login details.Finally the last call was along the lines of "Oh it seems someone here has adjusted your username,try this" and low and behold i was back on the net.Sent a letter saying i should at least get call money back and got the typical"we value your input and thank you for your comments , best wishes" rubbish !

    Then i decided to pay the little extra to upgrade from 2mb to 8mb as they said it had been upgraded in my area . Thought for £20 one off it was worth it.So the money was taken and in the change over i gained an amazing....wait for it....0.00mb increase ! Contacted them requesting my money back and pretty much got a no chance reply !

    Now it seems they will let as much spam through (Ok its got ***SPAM*** beside it which ive set up a message rule on) but most of the time wont allow friends hotmail emails through and now hotmail are blocking freeserve addys at times too!

    Im waiting for BEthere to go live in my area then im offski.Had enough.Did get a call saying £28 a month which im paying was to much and they would do me a special deal but id have to sign another contract.I politely told them they were a nightmare and hung up !

    The futures bright...well when its anything but orange!

  23. Anonymous Coward
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    not a happy Orange customer..

    As an Orange customer who was previously on their 8MB service which was never active for more than a month at a time, and then would be turned off for a week, to return (after a LOT of phonecalls to India) at less than 1MB.. I eventually gave up - I am now running on their upto 2MB service and just waiting for the day my contract runs out so that I can tell them where to stick it!

    I kept getting told that the entire network speed had been reduced to cater for their increased customer base due to the heavy advertising they had been doing with the free laptop deal, etc. but it only appeared to be me (at the time) who was suffering - I would call three or four times a day and get completely different stories about everything and would be bounced backwards and forwards between broadband technical support and customer services and no-one would handle my queries. When I asked to talk to a Supervisor I was told by the same person: we don't have any supervisors, supervisors are not allowed to talk to customers and I am a supervisor you cannot talk to anyone higher than me.. and all this from someone who didn't know how to use the computer he was sitting in front of!?

    I regret the day I got my Orange mobile and later my Orange broadband.. ! I'm switching as soon as I can.. I'm counting the remaining weeks :)

  24. Mike Green

    Rubbish CS again...

    I became unable to log into Orange for 3 weeks. During this time I phoned and phoned and phoned 'Technical Support' and each time I got the same 'Lets try this series of tests' before they claimed they would do a line test. Only after 3 weeks did i manage to get some help from their Customer services, who said 'Oh there's a note about a modification to your line'. DOH! What is Technical support if it's a monkey reading off a card each time you call them? The one british guy I managed to get through was completely sympathetic, whilst when I told one guy I'd done this 6 times, said he wouldn't be help me if I was going to get irate... And then read off the card. they have you over a barrel too, as you have to have 3 MONTHS of 'support' before you can get arbitration and get your migration code to go somewhere else. Who can be offline (when you run a business online) for 3 months??

  25. Joe
    Thumb Up

    Let it all out!

    It seems that broadband customer support is a major frustration for many people.

    They sell it as an essential service, yet when my friend's broadband was cut off by BT for a week (it would have been much longer if I hadn't intervened) customer services such a lax attitude to the whole affair.

    My own Orange experience was this: we moved from Orange 8mb to O2 8mb (after harassing Orange for a MAC code) and now our connection is up from 2mbps to 3.5mbps - with the same equipment at our end!

    Bye bye Orange!

  26. kain preacher

    Hmmm justa thought

    they should merge with tiscali. That way you can real know what bad service is :)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FT have messed Orange up

    Orange used to be an incredibly innovative company, willing to take risks to deliver new and interesting services. It makes complete sense that they have to offer a broadband/internet service, but the way the business has been managed by FT has meant it has become top heavy, lethargic, risk averse and lacking any clear strategy for the internet world - they are a telco! even their ads are typical of a corporate marketing department in a large enterprise - confusing and dull for most of us but seeemingly intelligent and smart for the 'creative' types who make them! C*cks!

  28. Ken Jones


    Funniest CS call I ever had was with Orange.

    I rang up said my mobile phone isnt working and they said clean the SIM, I said I dont think it will be that

    He said you are being abusive now I am hanging up !!!!

  29. Spleen

    That's what the advert was about?

    I remember the hipster-phone-making thing, but if you asked me who it was advertising, I'd've half-guessed BT. Now, I don't pay much attention to adverts, but if you asked me who makes those adverts with the surfing horses, I wouldn't say John Smith's, and if you asked me about the one with the bird in the black getup walking along a cliff wondering whether she should jump off now her subprime investments have collapsed, I wouldn't say Nationwide. Whoever Orange hired as their ad agency obviously hired all their staff from one of those stupid trendy colleges who forgot to tell them: be as creative as you want, but hammer the name of what you're selling into the punter's skull while you're doing it. (Adverts which deliberately avoid the name of what they're selling to engage the customer's curiosity are the exception, not the rule.) They all need a course in advertising from Surallan Sugar.

    Mike Green's comment is revealing. One of the easiest ways to tell if you're going to get shitty service is if the company treats complaining as a criminal act. Generally, former or current state-backed monopolies, e.g. train companies or the Royal Mail, are the worst offenders. Orange has either been infected by France Telecom or always had the attitude to start with. If you work in a company and you get a complaint, even it's delivered with a torrent of unnecessary and offensive abuse, your job is to suck it up. The Samaritans take far more crap and they don't get paid.

  30. Steve

    Hardly Surprising

    As an Orange subscriber I can say their downfall is due to:

    1) Rubbish connection- I lose count of how many times the connection drops each day. Sometimes for 20-30 minutes at a time.

    2) Slow speed - I should have been on 8mb, they couldn't manage that so downgraded me to 2mb. I'm lucky if I get 1mb at the quietest time of day. It almost grinds to a halt some days after 6pm

    3) Dreadful support - I've been accused of lying about issues plus had to fork out goodness knows how much for endless phone calls, where staff never made notes on what the previous call was about so have had to re-explain everything again and again.

    4) Staff have a very basic knowledge of any broadband issues - all they know how to do is instruct you to unplug your equipment.

    5) Refusal to admit their is an issue- it's easier to blame it on my equipment than their crap service. I have been told to unplug and replug every device in the house umpteen times even though I've insisted that I've tried all that before and it's their service that's the problem

    They even called me up the other day to offer me a combination telephone and broadband service. Oh how I laughed!

    By the way, the only reason I am still with them is that I'm leaving the country shortly and didn't want another 12 month contract, otherwise I would have been out of there like a rat leaving a sinking ship. I was supposed to leave last November already but my stay was extended at the last minute so I've had to endure another 5 months of their dire service aaaaaargh!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Changed from BT to Orange recently, and given that connectivity could occasionaly be spotty with BT I thought this was a good move. Especially as Livebox "looked" (last time I judge a book by it's cover) good. How wrong could I be - it might be cheaper, but connectivity is worse than ever.

    Maybe I just live in an area of poor connectivity. Or maybe Livebox is just pap!

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