back to article O2 PR calls Reg readers 'techie nerds'

Mobile phone companies are notorious for absurd customer segmentation schemes, but a mis-placed phone call by O2's PR department yesterday showed exactly what they think of The Register and its readers. We've been talking to O2 a lot lately, and clearly our interest in their "allocated bandwidth" has got them flustered. So …


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  1. Mike Dyne
    Paris Hilton


    Oh dear O2. How are you going to explain this one away?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Yay! Another Quality Cock-Up From The World Of PR People.

    Just makes you so happy to be someone other than them today.

    Puts me in mind of the answering machine message I encountered when calling a now defunct technical support department at 2am one morning..

    Click. Clatter. Clunk..

    "..uck's sake Steve, don't fuck around with that - if you screw up the messages we'll get a fucking bollocking."

    "Don't worry Dave, I've not.. Oh, for fu.."

    Clunk. Clatter. Click.


  3. James Pickett
    Paris Hilton

    Deep joy

    What is with PR people? First Phorm and now this - I'd call them muppets, but that's unfair to Gonzo.

    Paris, for the usual reasons.

  4. Rich Silver badge


    Techie nerds????

    How dare they! It's simply not true. Only last week I was discussing with my mate Ziggy the finer cultural points of that classic,THX1138!!!

    And I'll have you know I would have almost had a girlfriend a few years back, if she'd not objected to my Richard Stallman poster in the bedroom! Women, eh? Pah!

    Got to go now - have to repair the elbow patches in my cardigan.

  5. Chris

    Before we get too indignant

    We actually are all techy nerds.

  6. Mike Crawshaw


    Did they not realise they had goofed like this?? What did they say when they realised you were listening? I love watching PR types backtracking desperately when they realise they've f#cked up to the nth degree*....

    Sic 'em, El Reg!!

    *to any O2 PR readers - "f#cked up to the nth degree" is a techie-nerd term for "huge, career-busting balls up with no apparent end".

  7. Hugh



  8. brian
    Paris Hilton

    What a bunch of total *******s

    To "El Reg"

    You forgot to post the names of these half-wits so that they can be fired.... or do you want to let them persist in the hope of getting more "inside info"?

    Paris, because she knows how to deal with a good shafting.....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That's a story that writes itself ..... there is something to be said for being a geek. Geeks know how to use their communication equipment. I'm sure things are icy around that office today.

  10. Ash

    News just in!

    Big company thinks users disagreeing with their policies are idiots! Film at 11.

    I was leaving them in May, anyway. Suppose i'd best call the Retentions line to see if I can get a LUDICROUS renewal term out of them, or i'm off somewhere else.

    Either way, I have a Nokia E51; I may just go PAYG instead and use VoIP for voice calls, and hell any Symbian-compatible IM client for SMS replacement. Fring would be ideal if they could get the volume and Skype functionality sorted, but Truphone looks promising too.

    O2 lose every way.

  11. Christopher Officer

    was going to join O2...

    Was thinking seriously of switching to O2 next week from Orange. Might go give 3 my business instead now.

  12. Senor Beavis

    O2 PR staff in can't-use-telephone-equipment shocker

    Presumably Bill Ray has forwarded a courtesy copy of this article to the PR droids' boss, so he/she knows who should be up against the wall first when O2 begins to haemorrhage customers?

    I believe this coat belongs to O2...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not afraid!

    We are not afraid of Bill Ray!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha, genius

    Thing is, even with the hilariousness of the situation aside, the target market for mobile internet IS 'techie nerds', as they put it... surely they should be marketing their products to the target market?

  15. Sceptical Bastard


    Am I being a Gullible Bastard or did this *really* happen?

    If so it's the most serendiptitous accidental dial in history. And now, of course, those fuckwits will have the pleasure of finding out what prats they've been here on El Reg - as, indeed, will thousands of the chortling 'nerds' they despise.

    Did you tape it? If so, let's get an MP3 circulating pronto!

    BTW, O2 - as a 'geek', I've made a note to never buy any product or service from you.

  16. Head
    IT Angle


    I have an O2 phone, and it is quite a good bit of gear.

    If they have that much contempt for people voicing concerns though, i am leaving them when my plan is finished. I am more than happy to go somewhere else that provides better customer service, let alone cheaper prices.

  17. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Oh I nearly fell off my chair laughing

    And it's got arms on it!

    Come on O2, you're a bloody PHONE COMPANY. Do you think many people give a rat's ass about your view of the human race?

  18. Vince
    Paris Hilton

    Old O2. So near, so far...

    Oh that's just good. Fortunately the article about O2's 3G came out just in time :-)

    I *was* going to consider a switch back to O2, but since T-Mobile have a capable 3G service that runs at a respectable speed, and, 3 (you know, the ones O2 scoffed at) *also* manage to run a respectable service (I have first hand experience of both), I shall think again.

    Good old O2.

    (Although they are right, we are techie nerds. Except they forget, we make the purchasing decisions or at least have strong influences in a lot of cases, so best not to upset us...)

    Even Paris knows who to keep on-side.

  19. Simon Painter

    Oh please publish their names...

    PR people work entirely on reputation so publishing their names would make them pretty much unemployable after a gaff like this.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo


    > Yes, O2's comms team was keen to avoid anything that might encourage subscribers to leave the telco.

    Well naturally, 'cos it would be a /disaster/ if this caused their churn rate to go from 26.3% to 26.4%

    iSteve 'cos Jesus phone owners are so locked-in they can never churn...

  21. Anonymous Coward

    o2 are desperate to keep customers

    I threatened to leave o2 for 3 the other week and they gave me a years free line rental.

  22. Darren B

    Hurrah! I am a Muppet

    I move from O2 to 3 late last year (I am actually regretting it but not because of the 3G speed issue).

    I am starting to think it is O2 who are the muppets, my wife has moved from O2 Contract to Simplicty and they keep calling her to go on a contract.

    I have now come to the conclusion that they are a complete bunch of fuckwits.

  23. Dabooka

    This is hilarious!

    Sure, they're in PR and think we're all nerds (which I'm not, I don't even own an iPod!), but they're in PR and we know they're all arseholes, so it balances out.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    It's been a good week for PR cock-ups

    Who is next?

  25. Nick Palmer
    Thumb Down

    What a bunch of cretins...

    ...and I speak as one of their customers, though probably not for much longer, being as I'm on a monthly contract with them. 3, eh? Must go have a look...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    whats the big deal

    dont see what the big deal is...lets face it we are uber geeks anyone questioning that is just in denial. anyone offended really does need a life outside the virtual world...

    and el reg, reporting it like we actually care or should be outraged, you take yourselfs far too seriously, not great reporting

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Well I'm not afraid of PR wankers!!!!

    Yeah?? Come on!! Think you're hard?? DO YA??? COME ON!!!! I'LL HAVE THE LOT OF YA!!!

    Seriously, someone in PR making derogatory statements about any other group when they are only second to lawyers in terms of pond-life... really. Techie-nerd comes many, many levels above. And that's without counting the irony that they depend on "techie nerds" to develop the products that they're marketing - and thus give them employment!

    Pirates because I've seen O2's tariffs...

  28. Mark Lockwood


    So that's why the iPhone isn't 3G

  29. James Macinnes


    What a hilarious screwup. Please, please tell me that the call was recorded, as techy nerds surely we're capable of that.

    I deal with O2 bods frequently, and I can believe their stupidity.

  30. Roger Stenning

    Re: was going to join O2...


    * was going to join O2...

    * By Christopher Officer

    * Posted Wednesday 9th April 2008 14:36 GMT


    * Was thinking seriously of switching to O2 next week from Orange. Might go * give 3 my business instead now.

    Chris, I was thinking the self same thing!


  31. Jonathan

    Isnt the "nerd" redundant?

    I mean, if you are a techie, arent you guaranteed to be a nerd?

    Can you be a techie but not a nerd?

    Really, if you are going to call us names, at least get it right.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Blanket assessment...

    While I do know a couple of PR folks that are great, I'd have to say that by and large the genre are useless superficial a@@holes with few real skills. I think I'd rather stick to being a techie nerd. If nothing else, being in IT racks up less negative Karma, and people are actually GLAD to see me in the office...

  33. Mark

    They had it all wrong...

    They act as if those of us who hang around here would consider being called "techie nerds" a bad thing! I am proud of my geeky techie nerd status!

  34. Anonymous Coward


    As someone who left reporting for a local newspaper not one week ago, you've already managed to make me feel nostalgic over PR mess-ups! I'm glad you posted this today, because I'm reaching the end of my cash reserves and was wondering whether I could stomach soul-less PR for six months. Rest assured I've changed my mind on that.

    Flame icon because you burnt them good :)

  35. Anonymous Coward


    I know it's sad, but ....

    How do we order t-shirts with "I'm not afraid of Bill Ray" on them?

  36. Jason
    Thumb Up

    O2 - You just lost a lot to '3'

    I work for a US based corporation and a quite a few staff travel to the UK regularly. I've been looking to recommend a wireless broadband network for people to use rather than pay massively expensive hotel internet charges. I had debated O2 but given the coverage by El Reg, was having second thoughts.

    Now I can see the insane way in which O2 are behaving and the fact that I personally don't like being labelled a 'nerd' (Geek would have been fine), I have just recommended 3 as the network of choice.

    Way to go O2, you just lost several thousand pounds of revenue every quarter.

  37. David Bell
    Paris Hilton


    Ludicrous retention terms? I just threatened to leave as my contract runs out next week - got myself 12 months free line rental plus 25 texts and 200 minutes per month. Considering I don't use my phone anywhere near that much, I now have an effectively free phone contract. They must be desperate to keep customers! :-0

    Paris for the desperation angle....

  38. Will

    A certain irony..

    That people working at a phone company fail at basic phone operation skills..

    Well I was looking at replacing my old O2 phone, but hadn't considered 3.. thanks O2!

  39. Pete Slater

    Just in time

    Great timing, I was just thinking of joining them this afternoon but after reading this article, my decision has been overturned.

    Maybe 3 will want my custom ;)

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have nothing to say about O2 marketing

    Why would I need to?

  41. Greg


    Exactly how I've always described O2, funnily enough. And they can hardly brag about their data plans. Last year when I was shopping for a new phone they offered me, for £6 a month, a whopping - wait for it - 4MB of transfer! WOW! A WHOLE 4MB! Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

    Went around the corner into T-Mobile. Yeah, no worries mate. You can have 1GB for £7.50 a month, and our network's faster too.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    PR people !

    Are the sort of morons who got a 3rd in media studies who don't have a clue how the photocopier works and when do actually grasp how to press the copy button

    after a ten hour course from someone in tech support they leave it with a paper jam.

    Enough said !

    Why Paris ?

    Because she is as thick as mince too !

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @I'm not afraid of Bill Ray T-shirts

    Actually that's a good point. I was meaning to email someone and ask to be able to share designs using custom cash+carrion urls. Can we get that please? Then people can reply to this kind of story with urls for 'O2 aren't afraid of Bill Ray' t shirt links featuring the BOFH phone.

  44. Daniel Bennett

    I can officially say

    O2 got OWNED.

  45. Michael Sheils


    3 here I come then.

  46. Jay Cooper
    Paris Hilton

    Gotta love em

    Lets face it, it's not a shock that they identified you lot as geeks. You are. I omit myself from that brand as I'm one of the few cool and trendy people who uses this site. I'm not a geek. I'm not.....

    Gotta go, mums just said my tea's ready and she can't carry it up the stairs now she's ninety.......

    But in reality, I love PR cock ups. I'm with O2 and am gonna guilt trip them into an awesome deal come May. I would switch out of revulsion for their incompetence, but 3 are shite and the less said about Orange the better. I also used to work for Vodabone, so will never go there again.

  47. Illsay

    What makes you nerds...

    think the PR guys were unaware? Huh? The classification is spot on, so they must know what they're doing.

    Next time you want to break up, call a friend to discuss and just "by accident" conference your partner in.

  48. Keith Williams

    @Isnt the "nerd" redundant?

    No. I am a techie. I am NOT a nert. I don't have black hornrim glasses, held together with white tape. I do not have a pocket protector, I think slide rules are great for something, but I have no idea what. I think talking with my kids or my girlfriend is a helluvalot more interesting than playing with a computer.

    Mine's the one without electronics in the pockets.

  49. Jamie Edwards
    Thumb Up

    Digg it..

    Remember to dig it

  50. Rob W
    Paris Hilton

    I must be a 'muppet'...

    I moved away from O2 years ago, realising that I must not be part of their target audience (i.e. a muppet - in fact, Animal, I think...)

    Seriously, what a bunch of idiots! Not that any other PR people are better. They're all arses!

    And as for who to move to... Yes, 3 is ideal for all of us 'techie nerds'. They provide so much extra functionality that O2 deem isn't worth it. AND they're cheaper.

    I hope those particular idiots lose their jobs over this.

  51. Wellard
    Black Helicopters

    Irony is when ...

    ... El Reg display adverts from the very company that called their readers "techie nerds".

    Caution: Black helicopters approaching!

  52. Pete
    IT Angle

    I was going to join o2 this month

    what with the 128kbps thing too, I'll stay with 3.

    the Mix'n'match 1100 tarrif for £20 + xseries for £5 for 1gb seems good (+free phone, straight to ebay)

  53. Daniel Bennett
    Thumb Down

    An email to O2...

    Dear O2,

    Please read this first:

    I have to say, as an O2 customer for all the time i’ve had a mobile despite stupid “fair play” rules set in place and bandwidth caps – I am absolutely appalled and tempting my way towards another provider – And yes, Possibly 3.

    I’ve manage to cope as a PAYG user marginally, with prices and limits on everything that I do and despite reading things and other complaints I have always backed up O2 with saying that I am happy with them despite the prices.

    After reading this, i’ve totally changed my mind.

    I think I rather go somewhere that is honest and gives their customers what they want rather than what they want their customers to need.

    Goodbye, O2.

  54. David Perry

    @ Mark

    My last serious gf (admittedly 3 years or so ago, but still very good friends with) used to say "my geek get youre own" all the time - she was very protective of me, and I loved her too (until I got bored after 6 months, but in hindsight she was best gf I had). A few friends of mine happily sing my praises when I work 'miracles' [they call them that, I call them usually more tedious than hard things to fix/do].

    Heart cos I'm a tech with a heart, and am sure a lot of my fellow techs have one too :)

  55. Hugh

    Christopher, Roger et al

    Me too. About to leave Orange, thinking seriously about O2 (Is it really French for "Oh tu?")

    Off to 3...

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    A whole lotta nerd

    To quote an El Reg "About" page:

    "Our traffic figures, audited by ABCe, show that 4,122,526 unique individuals accounted for 28,287,472 page impressions during the month."

    Maybe you should change that to "4.1 million nerds"?

  57. Anonymous Coward

    O2 name change

    new name for them - SLOW2

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i moved from O2 to 3

    and have never looked back....

    I give there PR people a large Rimmer salute :D

    and, yes, i am a techy nerd - and dont care :D

  59. alistair millington
    Thumb Up


    Who is their target audience for fast connection speeds on mobile devices, luddites? techno phobes, bling merchants or nerds and business guys who need IT which is then supported by nerds.

    Perhaps they need some technie nerds to show them how to use a phone and work conference calls... R'tards...

    O2 are clueless. I gave them the shove after 7 days when the brand new phone sent to me was claimed by their sales guy and their customer support to be new. But the memory card had some guys wedding on it. So You know they were lying through their teeth and really didn't know what the score was.

  60. this

    enemy's enemy?

    just because the unfortunates at 02 don't like 3, doesn't automatically make 3 any good though. O2 just got overheard expressing the kind of opinion most corporate workers seem to have have of their 'customers'.

  61. Paul Bottomley

    All your nerds are belong to Reg

    nuff said

  62. Jamie

    Almost correct!!!

    I am what they would classify as a techie nerd (although I prefer the term geek) and an O2 customer (sorry that time has come and gone, going to go back to Orange again as of this Saturday)

  63. A. Muppet

    Sorry from the O2 press office

    I’m the muppet. As Bill well knows, I have a lot of respect for The Register and its readers. I apologise to anyone who has taken offence at my mistake, and hope that they will not allow it to influence their wider opinion of O2. Sorry.

  64. Nigel Jones

    no comparison

    O2 appear to be doing an excellent job in their broadband push - good service, super helpdesk, efficient etc. But they're just one of many many providers.

    3 on the other hand have demonstrated clear innovation in the mobile space. They appear to be taking 3G 2.0 seriously...

  65. thomas k.

    ah, the genius of marketing

    I'm an employee of an establishment which we were informed at a recent all-employee meeting was a "dying brand". The solution to our flagging fortunes, it was explained, pretty much boiled down to changing the colour scheme on our literature (brochures, notepads, etc.) to "better reflect/attract the attitudes/aspirations" of our target customers. Well, that and some remodeling incorporating these principles.

    I sat there in stunned disbelief at the sheer fatuousness of it all as the head of marketing for our "brand" cheerily prattled on about how "exciting and bold and blah blah blah" this whole venture was, thinking all the while this guy gets paid the big bucks to come up with this shite.

  66. Chris Cooke

    If they get fired...

    ... they could go and work for British Airways. Sounds like they'd fit right in there.

  67. Anonymous Coward

    Seriously though.

    Mobile data on O2? It's a joke. I'm with Greg above. I was on contract and asked if they had an "unlimited usage internet package". I was told, sure they do - that'll be £8 per month. "Fab.", thought I, and slapped down the reddies.

    O2, however, thought that "Unlimited" meant "200MB per month", which I burned through in about an day. I was understandably surprised to get a bill for several hundred quid at the end of the month, and a stern chat with O2's Customer Retentions people was in order.

    I didn't have to pay a penny, but O2 still have an "unlimited use" bolt-on. I'm sure the T's and C's will have changed by now.

    Anyway, £25 per month I get 7GB via my 3 (Huwei) USB 3G dongle at dowload speeds of ~100KB/sec, and O2 can kiss my ass (except the bit that's paying them £35/Mo for my iPhone contract, but I digress...)

  68. Cris Page


    Just another illustration of how utterly worthless the whole PR industry is. We KNOW they view us with contempt. We KNOW they pigeon hole us all in one category or another, personally I think they would do all of humanity a favour if they went and got a PROPER job, along with the advertising morons who seem to think my whole life is an "advertising oppertunity".

    I am Not a target market.........

  69. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    O2 no longer be bothered by O2

    For the last 15 years I have been a mostly satisfied customer of Vodafone. They aren't perfect by a long shot but have mostly taken good care of me. Recently I renewed my contract again and got a shiny new N95 8Gb (yes, I'm a "techie nerd") and for some reason for the next couple of weeks I kept getting calls from O2 asking me if I would be interested in switching.

    During one such call I told the caller that I would switch there and then if they would offer me an iPoop for free on the same monthly payment as I am making with Vodafone. That ended that call. <LOL>

    Now being a "techie geek" who earns pretty good and spends a lot of time abroad I can understand them chasing a nice lucrative earner like me but they ain't gonna get me unless they can offer me SUBSTANTIALLY more than Vodafone currently offer.

    Additionally, I have a policy of NEVER buying anything from anyone who cold-calls me or rings my doorbell. Sorry, but I hate pushy sales tactics. I tolerate the irritating "survey" popups on ElReg only because the site is so good. (X Close)

    Techie logo because I am proud to be a techie geek/nerd. :-)

  70. McParland

    @ O2 Muppet

    You sounded like you had a "lot of respect" in your chat with your colleague or were you doing it to look big?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    o2 get me out of here

    It sounds like o2's PR's are as unpredictable as the o2 network.

    After 12 years, I moved from Orange to o2 and have been amazed at how singularly rubbish o2's network is - forget about the limited speed, actually getting coverage half as good as Orange's would be a good starting point.

    IT? Because they don't get..

  72. John

    re: Sorry from the O2 press office

    While your apology seems in order, of course your remark will influence people's view of O2. Surely you can't imagine that it won't?

    I'm sure you've told Bill you have a lot of respect for The Register and its readers previously; what price your credibility on that front now, though? I rather expect your remark will influence Bill's view of your sincerity in future. Certainly I know how to judge PR statements from O2.....

  73. Lee T.


    oh gods, i just fell off my chair (it's one of those inflatable ball things)

    seriously, Best. article. Ever.

    techie nerd is a label i wear with pride. Has their boss been contacted yet?

  74. Frank Bough
    Thumb Down

    Too Late, Kermit

    ...and I'm a GEEK, not a nerd.

  75. Aaron

    Lol short sighted

    I gotta love the PR showing they have no clue about the industry they work for. Yes the reg is full of techie nerd's this is true, im proud to be one of them. The thing is im also proud of the fact that as a techie nerd im one of the early adopters of new technology's, im also one of the people that help those who are less technically savy when they what recommendations and advice. So who on earth does a major telco like this think will be the first people to adpot their new services and network offerings the techie/business users that who.

    Now I have the misfortune of being on an O2 contract, I took the contract out with the P990i surprisingly to use it for its 3G mobile email and web facilities. I've always found the 3G performance very very lack luster and this confirms my suspicions. Now my contract is worth a lot of money over the 18 month period, and im going to be canceling it in the next 2 months and will not be renewing with O2. Mainly because I buy the latest and greatest PDA/Gadget phone to use it properly not to be restricted down without my knowledge.

  76. RW

    I may be a muppet, alas!

    But at least I'm not a professional liar.

  77. Blasmeme


    A bit late but we appriciate the sentiment.

    Flame cuz I bet he's feeling it now.

  78. DodgyLurgy


    Just switched from O2 to 3 last month! I guess they didn't like it :)

  79. brian

    @ A. Muppet

    It's too late to apologise. You're toast buddy!!!

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stay by the Phone!

    The same team might be moving on to BAA next week!

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Coverage maps

    @ A.Muppet

    We've all done things we regret, and most here won't take it too personally as long as you call us geeks. Nerds we're not.

    Now, how about getting you coverage maps updated with where you really have HSDPA coverage.

    Oh, and get you company to simply have 1 setting for data, whatever the network will support at the time?

  82. Anonymous Coward

    but we are a bunch of tekkie nerds

    as an o2 techy nerd (hence the ticking of the annonymous box) I fund this quite funny, especially the slating of 3 as we're not supposed to slate our competitors in public!

  83. Anonymous Coward

    Of course

    .. 'cause everyone knows that (O)2 + 1 = 3.

  84. Wayland Sothcott
    Paris Hilton

    I'm no nerd

    I am more like one of those movie heros who also knows techie stuff. Do you remember the bit in Die Hard where John needs to lock the wheels on the mercedes to flip it backwards so he pulls the ABS fuse.

    Paris because heros need a blond bimbo.

  85. Steven Hewittt


    Well not that most of El Reg's readers would be too offended by the comments (I'm known in the office as "Steve IT" or Steve the Geek), but it may come as a suprised to the amazingly retarded O2 PR department that:

    1. Geeks are the people that will wanting to use the web on their mobile more than most

    2. Geeks, and in particular the informed El Reg readers, are some of the more likely people in business to decide whom their companys mobile phone operator should be.

    Well at least that's removed one other operator from my shortlist.

  86. Anonymous Coward

    Lolz - My contract is up for renewall

    I spend £100 pcm at least, guess which company wont be getting my business. They just gave me the finger. I also wonder what i should do when i get asked for an input of company comms next time around.

    Techie nerd (with crap loads of cash to spend on comms gear, may not be willing to spend it on O2 out of spite.)

  87. StillNoCouch
    Paris Hilton

    This from a telecom ?

    Geezuz ...

    That's just too phucking phunny !

    I'll bet he's double checking the sent messages folder on his phone.

    Paris: Even she can work a damn phone !

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Yeah, funny as fornicate, but.... a ITIL Service Level Manager (and card carrying Nerd) I enjoy nothing more than shafting a user and having them thank me (or better still a huge group of users) and I imagine a lot of other support types here enjoy that feeling too ;-)

    This won't change any decisions to buy or not buy from O2, I'd image any other network's PRs would have had exactly the same discussion - after all they're PRs it's their job to be two faced.

    That said, it's such a sweet, sweet thing to happen :-D

    Paris - because my post contained the word "shafting"

  89. Gulfie

    Happy to take out money...

    ... but not to provide the service. The only way companies learn is for the customer base to walk. How about agreeing to give everybody the maximum data rate available? After all, otherwise the capacity is just sitting there while subscrbers badmouth the slow connection they've got.

    Yet another example of a big company thinking they can rip us off while saying it is 'for our own good'. Is it a coincidence that O2 was an offshoot of BT (having just posted to the latest ISPs vs BBC story where BT have a major influence there too...)

    OMG I must be getting old, I'm beginning to sound like Victor Meldrew... I don't believe it!!

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just tell them you're leaving

    they will offer a year's free line rental. Say no, they will include 500text and 400mins too

  91. Alice

    Slow news day

    Hey, techie nerds! (sometimes the truth hurts) who HASN'T said something that shouldn't have been overheard.

    Don't you feel ikky that you didn't put the phone down when you realised what was going on? Sheesh.

  92. David Dodwell-Bennett

    online petition?

    Lets have a real giggle with these guys. Someone out there start an online petition we can all click on so they can see how many (probably high spending) customers they just lost!

    I too was swapping from the gone downhill Orange to O2 in June. Not now!!!

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    PR types are wankers...

    And this is news how? Post as a AC as i don't want nailed by mangement ;-)

    I guess nobody in this thread hat posted so self rightously has ever salted a user...oh wait thats not very likely.

    But yes being a o2 employee and a reg reader i jst found it funny TBH. Granted i do think that PR reps are one step below pondscum, at best.

    As someone else mentioned badmouthing competitars is a no no so I hope the 2 dipshits in question get sacked for violating company guidlines.

  94. John

    ooh, flattery

    will get you everywhere!

  95. Sean

    Purchasing Power

    Unfortunately for O2, a lot of the techies/geeks/nerds that frequent El Reg are decision makers within their organisations. How many of you with a fleet of mobile phone users will now look at not using O2 when contracts are up for renewal?

    PR folks - what a beautiful way to shoot your own company in the foot.

    Still laughing dudes...

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Well thats €150 euro a month 3 will now get from me, 3 also have skype fones.. handy sort of.....

  97. Neil

    Later today I will be an ex-O2 customer...

    I'm so glad that later on today (Thursday) my number ports out of O2 after 12 years and ports into T-Mobile where I get more free minutes, more free texts and high-speed HSDPA internet access for *less* than I was paying O2 per month... I'd have stayed with O2 if their data tariffs weren't so jaw droppingly crap, and if they had a modern network - O2 has to be the worst network for data. Yes you PR fcktards, 3 are in fact better than O2!

    O2 are also a bunch of price gouging karnts who will bill you extortionate amounts for GPRS data calls that you haven't made - and I mean you know for sure you didn't make the data call, because it took place at ridiculous o'clock - like 5am - when you were sound asleep. And no, my phone isn't configured to make 1.5 hour 28MB data calls all by itself. Yet O2 won't back down as the computer says I made the call, and we all know computers can't be wrong... If you're with O2, check your bills carefully. Better still, move to a network that won't extort money from you like O2.

    O2: FOAD.

  98. Antoinette Lacroix

    This made me laugh - hard

    A bunch of techie nerds ? This might have been true several years ago. Today, most of El Regs readers, not to mention it's frequent posters, are a sorry lot of mousepushers. They wouldn't find their own arse in a dark server room.

  99. Peter

    Telling folk where to go

    I used to think that those 95% awful competitor/5% 'we're not like that' ads from some bank or other were also daft because no one will believe that PR/marketing/customer service folk are that inept/insincere/rude/dumb to get paid what they are to do what they do.

    'Guess not.

    It's proving a rich week for PR foot-shooting. First that lady posting how she got the BBC to change a story to her, perhaps now less than fondly-viewed as a consequence, preferred take. Now this.

    I wonder what will be served up next?

  100. Josh

    Re: That made me laugh - hard

    Wait, "dark server room"? You mean there's varying degrees of... *shudder* light in other rooms?

  101. Phantom Wibbler

    @Frank Bough

    ...and I'm a GEEK, not a nerd.

    Absolutely. Say it loud, say it proud.

    Silly O2@s

  102. MrT
    IT Angle

    IT pecking order...







    Every other human being


    PR drones, spin doctors, and anyone who swallowed the management dictionary the minute they left the world where real work that actually matters is done

    I left O2 ages ago, for T-M - much better service. Relatives left 3 for O2 - much worse (can't even get a decent signal where they live in central London) - the only one who's happier is the one with the iPhone. Maybe O2 are skewing their service a tad??!

  103. Andy Worth


    "Sure, they're in PR and think we're all nerds (which I'm not, I don't even own an iPod!), but they're in PR and we know they're all arseholes, so it balances out."

    That just made me LOL and nearly spit out my coffee. But how true is it? PR people are generally paid to "sell" their company/product/service using whatever means they can, even using the bullshit applicator quite liberally. I remember being told never to trust anyone who works in marketing or PR, because they are so used to talking crap, you can never tell when they are being honest.

  104. Scott


    Should of been more honest and advertise the mobile as THE mobile for geeks would of been a better PR exercise.

    And i'm only a nerd when i'm fixing there broken kit after they click on the penis extension advert they just recieved.

  105. Antonios Karantze

    It's the leather hat they're scared of....

    I think their memories of your hat run long and deep Mr Ray....

  106. Edwin

    @the muppet

    One day, you'll laugh (while blushing, but still).

    Everybody has done something spectacularly stupid at one point, although I must award you an unusually high score for your efforts.

    You could turn it around though - if you ask El Reg nicely, maybe you could raffle off a thousand black T-shirts with "GEEK" on the back and the El Reg & O2 logos on the front.

    Geeks are suckers for free T-shirts.

    If you really want to go whole hog, include a cap that says 128k on it (geddit?)

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Quite funny really

    You cant really judge a company by its PR pondlife. Im judging O2 by my unlimited downloads on my phone (XDA orbit, so I use it a lot for internet), with more calls and text than I could ever use for £25 a month. Oh and 7-8Meg reliable broadband at home for £7.50 a month on the old Be* network. After 2 years the effing retards at BT couldnt get more than 430K down EXACTLY the same phone line. Yes, Im a geek, but thats not an insult, and O2 provide me with a great service.

  108. Nigel


    Well, anyone who uses data seriously, and yet remains with O2 is, indeed a 'muppet' Both T-Mobile and 3 offer far better data deals and speeds when compared to O2. I live in Scotland t-mob works fine up here -for the odd occasion when I can't get a signal with t-mob, i pull out a voda P&G phone and use that instead.


  109. Ryan Greenaway

    Reg Readers call o2 PR team "Pretentious tw*ts"

    ...who drink in overpriced wine bars that used to be banks and drive fashionable cars...ooohhh cutting!!!

    Anyway, just another reason for me to leave o2 Having been a customer with o2 for 7 years (since their BT Genie days), for the first time in that 7 year period I phoned "customer services" after my phone broke out of warranty but with a considerable time left on the contract. I thought, "i've been a good customer for 7 years, paid my bills on time all the time, spent nearly £4000 with them in that time and never demanded anything unreasonable off of them. Surely a replacement phone which costs them next to nothing shouldn't be an issue". O2 customer services jobsworth says "no".

    "Ok, I'm going to leave o2 in that case"

    "Sorry sir, no"

    Customer loyalty clearly means nothing to these people and therefore I will be leaving o2 no matter what offers they send my way at the end of my term.

    What a complete bunch of pricks. But should we expect anything less of a company that ploughed millions into sponsoring Big Brother and all the dimwits associated with it.

    I hope some big cheese at O2 takes the time to read all these comments to see what people really think of their stupid little company.

    Flammable, cos you should light a match in a ny O2 building due to the noxious gases that spew out of their mouths.

  110. Dominic Bradbury


    Don't forget to collect your coats on the way out .... now where's my nearest 3 shop?

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    from an nerdy O2 employee

    I have to say that myself and many of my O2 colleagues are big fans of The Register and would be perfectly happy at calling ourselves techie nerds. Part of the attraction of working at O2 is the gadgets and buzz of being in an industry which is often pushing technical boundaries. Rest assured we are not all like those "fluffy" PR types.

  112. The Avangelist

    I left o2 last year

    Their billing system was a bit slap dash, the coverage was piss poor in Brighton and they weren't getting really good handsets or tarrifs.

    So I went to Orange, got a free PS3 on an 18 month contract, a rather nice sony ericcson walkman phone and no real hassle from some nobby sales guy.

    It took 3 months of arguing and threatening legal action to get o2 to cancel my contract.

  113. TrishaD


    ALL mobile phone companies are in fact themselves an unholy alliance of nerdy geeks and PR drongos ....

    If you consider it, the core business of mobile phone companies is the provision of two things -

    1/ A network

    2/ Something to hang off it and talk/text into

    All the rest is flimflam or 'product differentiation' and is principally targetted at the core customer group for such flimflam which is young men between the ages of 16-30'ish. Said target group are happy to spend extra money for features that they'll hardly ever use but are excellent bragging material while talking to your mates in the pub.

    So the geeks have the ideas and the PR drongos flog them. Neither group contribute much to the advancement or happiness of the human race but they do between them generate revenue.

    The two years I worked with Orange were the most surreal in my life (and believe me I took a LOT of drugs back in the 70s)

  114. Andraž Levstik

    Glad I'm not in the UK

    This makes me glad that around here vodafone - si.mobil is actually a good trusted reliable solid brand... Having said that... I just signed up for a 17eur/month unlimited 3g with modem plan... And by unlimited it actually say so sin big letters it's unlimited flat rate no hidden charges etc for the home network...

  115. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I left O2 for 3 four years ago

    and have never looked back. Their coverage was good, but their CS was piss-poor and their data prices was extortionate.

    The only people who I know are on O2 are:

    a) kids with iPhones

    b) kids wanting unlimited* text messages

    What else does O2 have going for them?

    So now I'm on 3, I get gigabytes of data for the price that a few mb used to cost me on O2. Chuffed? Slightly.

  116. Chris

    Ah! Joy!

    It's a crap day, and I needed a good laugh. Something to lift the spirits!

    Interesting PR technique though... If I'm not an O2 customer, that certainly wouldn't tempt me. And if I were an O2 customer, well...

    Could this be a case of a PR 'droid shooting his employer in BOTH feet?

    Still, worth forwarding the article around, just in case anyone hasn't seen it yet :-)

    Spreading the good word so to speak.

  117. Andrew

    I've just upgraded on O2 :-(

    Ive just recently signed a new 18 month contract with O2 (I wanted a non crippled N95 8GB at a semi reasonable cost)

    Im tempted to phone their CS and play the deeply offended customer routine see what I can get (with the aim of at least getting onto the proper 3g speed profile)

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's the Muppet??

    Both the volume and invective nature of some of these comments makes me fear for the sanity of us nerds/geeks. Are our lives so desperately sad that we are worried by such an non story? It may also be worth dwelling on when we last screwed up; as for me it was this morning........and you Bill???

  119. Anonymous Coward


    Name 'n' shame.... pleaseeeeeeeee!

  120. CockKnocker


    ive just signed up another 18month contract with O2, but I did manage to get one over on them. When your contract is up demand your pak code and you will be put through to retentions. Scream, shout, throw your toys outta the pram and you get free stuff.

    I blagged an 8gb n95 (without a surchage of £150), 1000txts and 600mins, Free home "8mb unlimited" brodband (yeah I know what "unlimited" means) and free web browsing / data from my mobile. I already have symtorrent installed and am proceeding to max out their data package as fast as I can. I get no limit on it! all for £30 per month! Even if they do think im a nerd thats fine, im gonna kane their bandwidth until my eyes bleed.

  121. Peter Kay

    Dark server rooms?

    Don't know about you, but server rooms need light so you can see the cables. Modern server rooms tend to use fluorescents that sear the back of your retinas..

  122. Steve Evans

    I suspect...

    ... that O2 only have two classes of customer...

    1) Techie nerds (us lot)

    2) Gullible Joe Public

    Needless to say they don't like us, because we're the ones that poke holes in their contracts, question their adverts and report them to the ASA.

  123. NB

    The label is...

    GEEK and we wear it with pride. Hell even most of my friends refer to me as Nick The Geek (yes that is a Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels reference though thankfully I'm not fat). I'm proud of being a member of the geek crew. Chavs can customise their cars all they like. I'll customise my OS, write my own procedures and backup systems because I can.

    So fine, call me a geek. I'm off down the nearest wifi-enabled pub.

  124. Adam Foxton
    IT Angle

    The weird thing is...

    that since there are at least a couple of positive, non-O2 / PR bunny bashing comments above this, O2 slagging us off has become O2s best received Reg article in a long while!

    Though given O2s lack of decent data rates and apparent dislike of nerds, I've gotta ask "where is the IT angle?"

  125. Anonymous Coward

    Say good-bye to 20,000 subscriptions O2..

    We'll, we rely on data in our business and work with several of the networks across Europe with 10's of thousands of connections..

    We know about the network drop outs and voice quality issues but this approach to our customers is unacceptable.. Vodafone have a comparable offer on the table .. so O2, say good bye to 20,000 connections.

  126. Wize

    I wasn't a fan of O2 to start with

    Had a pay-as-you-go from them years ago and found their customer services to be shocking to the point of getting a contract elsewhere.

    Coverage is also poor. Where I work now (Inside Aberdeen city) I cannot get a signal at my desk, and I'm spitting distance of the city's main conference centre.

    I'm also a geek and proud. Us geeks do have have a life outside computers, holiday in the sun, have partners, etc.

    Mine has the N95 in the pocket as I wouldn't touch an iphone even if it was on my network.

  127. Simon B

    O2 have always been poor,remember their bt cellnet era?

    I'm happy to be called a techie geek! :) like many it's not offensive to us!

    That said what a cock up O2 pmsl, I've avoid O2 ever since my 1st experience with them back in the day they were BT Cellnet. A strong signal and mid convo it would just crop the connection. No warning, no breakup, no drop in signal, just bam, gone!

    It became funny as I'd talk to others on another network and it would happen and when they called back and said sorry I would say "are you on O2 by chance?" and they'd be shocked and say "yeeeeeees. How did you know that????".

    That was yeaaaaaaaaars ago, but it was enough of a bad experience to make me return to vodafone an orange. I wonder how many others like me avoid them because of the same?

  128. James Pipe

    For goodness sake don't go to 3 mobile.

    As 'techie nerds'’ I feel you may potentially want to use home, work or public wi-fi on your brand spaniking new handset.

    If this is the case, be advised that "I'm sorry sir, Three Mobile does not support Wi-Fi"

    In case you haven't phoned their customer service department before, this means that they will charge you for the priviledge of using any wi-fi service that you decide to connect to at the same rate as 3G (hugely expensive).

    I was helpfully told - "If you would like to use Wi-fi on your phone sir, you only need to remove the sim card and you will not incur any charges."


    Anyone else had this much fun?

    Heart - ironical.

  129. Anonymous Coward

    Hey, Big_Boomer

    "I tolerate the irritating "survey" popups on ElReg only because the site is so good."

    Now just one cotton-pickin' minute, buddy. How come you get these popups and I don't? Do I have to be a nerdy-geek to qualify and where do I sign up?

    Must be something to do with that stupid Noscript thingy, I guess I'll just have to get the PR department on the case.

    The smiley icon because you really to patronise these PR wankers.

  130. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The sad truth: *all* mobile telcos suck

    Come on, none of them is really any better. I switched to Vodafone ~2y ago to get a 7710; they did me a cracking deal, half price on an £80 tariff, free handset, shedloads of call min & SMSs. After 18mth, they asked me to renew. I asked for an E90. "Ah, they're on back-order, we'll put you on the waiting list." Only that avails one nothing, as they don't call customers back. E90s came & went; no call. When I happened to get them when some were in, they wanted ~£200 for it.

    So I moved to O2. Free E90, £45/mth, even more voice min, lots of SMSs, free bundled unlimited 3G usage on the handset, 250MB/mth on the laptop. It's a good deal and a £600 phone for nothing. Bet no other UK mobico can beat that. I'm waiting nervously for the data bills if I go over the allotted capacity, though.

    3 for years offered no 'Net access, just their "walled garden" of sport & pop videos, neither of which I want. T-Mobile offer good data deals but only crappy hairdressers' phones. Vodafone can't be bothered to keep a customer. Orange also only do hairdressers' phones & don't offer good data deals either.

    There's really not much to choose. Next time I want a new phone, I'll probably switch again. So what? I keep the number.

    Keep a sense of proportion, folks.

  131. Derek Bez
    Thumb Down

    Not a nerd

    I find the term 'nerd' derogatory.

    Nerd = thick, unfashionable eyewear, and requires parental assistance to dress in the morning.

    And to answer someone else's comment... You might get nerds in other (science) fields who are not techie. Not techie as we know it anyway.

    Lets stick to 'geek'.

    I've already been toying with leaving O2 when my contracts up.

  132. Anonymous Coward

    What does a phone company do?

    Someone above said :

    If you consider it, the core business of mobile phone companies is the provision of two things -

    1/ A network

    2/ Something to hang off it and talk/text into

    And yet, 3 sold off all their technical people to Ericsson because they saw the provision of a network as not core business.

    Apparently, core business to 3 is selling tunes,tones,toons and all the other miscellaneous phone bling that appeals to teenagers and the annoying person who always leaves their phone on their desk, with the volume on full, ringing an off key version of "la bamba" every few minutes....

    Calling geeks geeks is like blacks calling each other n****r. As a white boy, I don't do it. As a geek, I'm happy to call my fellow geeks "geek". PR people shouldn't call us geeks, they are using it in a demeaning manner, suggesting that geekdom is all about having glasses, bad hair and spots. Whereas when I call my colleagues geeks, I'm respecting their skills in hacking kernels, debugging BGP or whatever.

    Respect to everyone who demands high speed mobile data, whatever they want it for.

  133. Pie Eater
    Paris Hilton

    In medicine PR means "per rectum"

    Which sums it up nicely, I think.

    Paris, because I guess she likes it too....

  134. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Upgrade the speed to 384k - not a chance

    I've just tried to call O2, and requested that they upgrade my speed - I'm paying on average £70 a month to them (with international calls making up a lot of that) - they said that they couldn't change my speed because of the distance from the tower...... I then said that I'm standing underneath a tower now, and they can't tell how far away from the tower I am anyway. They didn't have any answer, and just point blank refused to increase my speed saying that it was a technical issue that they couldn't resolve..... I'm off to another service provider.... 3 anyone???

  135. TeeCee Gold badge

    Bright side?

    We may not know who they are, but I'll bet that the "techy nerd muppets" at O2 can come up with an educated guess. I reckon those poor beggars are in for a pretty miserable time technology-wise for quite a while.

    Also, it's worth remembering that for an example of a truly successful PR flack you need look no further than Josef Goebbels. Be thankful for the crap ones, as a prerequisite for The Rise Of Evil is Really Good PR.

  136. Stephen Downing


    I've just spoken to the person responsible for the accidental call to

    Bill Ray, they are mortified to have made such a mistake. They

    apologised if I was offended and was very clear they wasn't talking

    about Register readers or O2 customers.

    It was intended to be a private conversation, Bill didn't give

    opportunity for comment, hanging up and just posting the story.

    Luckily this person has not lost their job over the incident and how ever

    much anyone is offended by the comments I'm sure we can all accept

    that at times we say things in private to colleagues that we would

    not want publicised.

    Hopefully the speed issue will be resolved soon.

  137. Graham
    Gates Horns

    I bet he didnt

    @Stephen - I think you missed the point of the entire article. We got to hear exactly what these guys think - they're marketing logic and the products they offer will be based on what they think of us whether you like it or not. Ofcourse he's mortified, he nearly got sacked and cost O2 thousands of customers.

  138. Chris Hunt

    To a PR person...

    ...anybody who can operate a stapler qualifies as a "techie".

  139. Edward Pearson

    The plan...

    A) Isolate your customers

    B) Suggest an competitor.

    C) ?????

    D) Profit!!!

This topic is closed for new posts.

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