back to article Carphone Warehouse buys Tiscali UK

Carphone Warehouse has bought Tiscali's UK businesses for £236m after lengthy on-again off-again negotiations. The cash deal, announced this morning, will see Talk Talk and Tiscali's networks integrated within two years. Service will not be interrupted by the deal, and for now Tiscali customer service remains the point of …


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  1. Dave Bell

    Who to believe?

    According to The Register: 1.76 million customers

    According to the BBC: 3 million

    Maybe the BBC is counting the ordinary telephone service as well as Broadband?

  2. Steve Cole

    Customer Service?

    "Tiscali UK CEO Mary Turner said: "It's good news for our customers who will increasingly benefit from a group that has consistently championed best value and award-winning customer service.""

    Award-winning customer service? What award was that then?

  3. Ed
    Thumb Down

    Ex Nildrammer

    I was on Nildram back when they were good. It's sad to see a good ISP get burried under endless takeovers and go downhill further with each...

    Nildram >> Pipex >> Tiscalli >> Carphone Warehouse

    I would think they'd drop the Nildram name now...

    I'm now on Be, who seem to be much better, though I'm not entirely sure about the hardware they send you being up to much...

  4. Chris Young

    ... award-winning customer service

    "It's good news for our customers who will increasingly benefit from a group that has consistently championed best value and award-winning customer service."

    Has Mary Turner been drinking?

    I think we should be told.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor Tiscali customers

    No hope for them and no choice, out of the frying pan into the fire.

    Poor customer service at Tiscali, you ain't seen nothing yet.

    Welcome to TalkTalk, hahahahahhahah.

    Hope you can speak pidgin English/Indian, want settings for a router, get yourself down the library it's simpler, and it's free, and the librarians know more about everything to do with customer service and the net in general.

    Want to know why your 8mb package delivers maybe only 250kb, want to know anything in fact.

    The only consolation is a) you already know what a good anal shafting is, so you wont notice the difference or b)you're about to find out what good anal shafting really is.

  6. Simon King

    But what about the TV?

    Will Carpark Whorephone keep the TV infrastructure? They are one of the few alternatives to Sky/Virgin for pay TV.

    It's garbage, mind, but it's an alternative.

  7. tiggertaebo

    Frying Pan -> Fire comes to mind!

    "award winning" customer service? wooden spoon doesn't count y'know. My mother has a Tiscali connection - don't laugh they were the best value for what she needed - oh and they weren't talk talk. Time to go broadband shopping again then!

  8. Roger Heathcote


    Tiscali UK CEO Mary Turner said: "It's good news for our customers"

    Too bloody right it is! Getting taken over by ANYONE would be good news for Tiscali's customers! They're the only UK ISP I would rate as worse than TalkTalk, not that the UK is brimming over with quality broadband providers, but still!

    Roger Heathcote.

  9. Rob Beard
    Thumb Up


    Actually this could be good for the many Tiscalli customers who are stuck in a contract and not happy. When Carphone Warehouse took over the broadband connections of AOL it was a change of Terms & Conditions and it enabled AOL customers to leave their contract early without penalty. I was one of these AOL customers who left (after the wife upgraded the speed and subsequently tied us into another 12 months contract!). I then went to Enta on a 1 month rolling contract.

    I have a feeling that whoever took over Tiscalli would have been one of the bigger ISPs out there who no doubt have their supporters and detractors.

    I wouldn't personally touch Carphone Warehouse with a 10 foot barge pole but I know a couple of people who are with them and seem to be happy.


  10. Andy Worth


    "It's good news for our customers who will increasingly benefit from a group that has consistently championed best value and award-winning customer service."

    Mary, awards you've won by bribes don't count. At least I assume that someone must have been paid off seen as Tiscali have (had?) pretty much the worst customer service I have ever experienced.....and this seems to be a view held by the majority.

    I used to be on before Tiscali bought them and ruined it. Then I moved to Nildram which had great service, until Tiscali bought them and ruined it.

    I'd like to say that they can't get worse, but then TalkTalk haven't exactly got the best record in customer service either so I wouldn't count on it.....

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Happy TalkTalker

    I have TalkTalk's phone + broadband package. £21 for all local, national and international calls plus internet is hard to beat (I make a lot of international calls).

    I am getting about 6meg on what is meant to be an 8meg line, so I can't really complain as that is more than fast enough for my needs (I was happy with the 2meg I started on).

    Getting connected was a PITA (I was one of the first wave of converts) and their off-shored customer service centre is still shit, but as I don't need to call them it's not an issue. Their UK-based customer service is excellent though, just a shame there are not more operatives here.

    If all you want is a basic connection and basic services (no movies etc) then TalkTalk is IME the Ronseal of ISPs.

    (And no, I am not a sodding TalkTalk employee or something)

  12. Anonymous Coward

    TV Package

    I hope they keep the TV package, maybe even develop it a bit more. Its VoD service is way better than Sky and you don't need to watch an iPlayer programme on a tiny computer screen.

  13. Johnnymachine

    I'm off!

    Heard this on the 11.00 news, rang Tiscali straight away, it's now 11.44 and I've got my MAC code. NO WAY will I have any dealings with Talk Talk; I went through several months of hell with them in 2006 when they simply lied about when they were going to provide me with their allegedly free broadband service. I very nearly went and chained myself to the doors of their HQ in protest.

    I've had my ups and downs with Tiscali, but for sheer breathtaking, barefaced mendacity Talk talk were unbeatable. If they told me my nose was in the middle of my face, I'd check. This sort of 'culture' in a company doesn't easily go away; it goes way beyond getting out of their depth with unexpected demand. Never again. See you on O2.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Tiscali Customer Service

    Actually, I've had reason to call their customer service on 4 occasions now, and as annoying as it was that they had a problem 3 times out of 4, they understood me easily and fixed it within 2 minutes ...

    the 4th time i rang up, they understood me perfectly, but it was my fault, the wife had somehow managed to disconnect the phone wire :)

    It is an Indian call centre, but strangely they don't have idiots running it (unlike Demon Internet ... "A branch of Thus" or whatever)

  15. andy


    I got a broadband connection from Pipex several years ago which I still have.

    Everything (letters, emails) come through marked Pipex but apparently they were taken over by Tiscali some time ago? If you go to Pipex's website, you can be classified as an existing Pipex customer from a company called Pipex, but you can't create a new account because the company has been taken over.

    What's the deal with this - does anyone know? I'm not joking, I seriously don't know.

    When I phoned their customer support (to get my "free" upgrade from 2Gb/month to a whole 10Gb?!) their customer support didn't seem to be able to shed much light on it.

  16. sproot


    <quote>we know the business well and the fit with TalkTalk is perfect</quote>

    Says it all, really. Two peas in a pod or, more realistically, two turds in a toilet. Pipex were great, I hoped Tiscali were going to burn for what they did to it.

    And I wasn't going to feel even a hint of remorse for the Tiscali staff that got the chop when it went. They were the ones that were giving me the run around when I was trying to get my MAC to leave.


  17. Neil
    Thumb Up

    re: But what about the TV?

    I find the TV service from tiscali quite good. I was going to switch a while back but couldn't find an alternative with as good a selection of on-demand programs/series. If anyone does know of an alternative, please let me know.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh marvellous!

    I had a contract with Homecall who then became Pipex Homecall and all connections were farmed out to Tiscali. The only reason I held on to the connection was because they were bound by the original contract - 2 MB line, no download limit and definitely no "fair usage policy". As they've now been bought out by Carphone Warehouse/Talk Talk I'm offski.

    I honestly believe that I'd get more enjoyment removing one of my kidneys with a teaspoon than ever having to deal with their piss poor excuse for customer service script monkeys ever again!

  19. Anonymous Coward

    More to be doomed

    Was a happy customer with Pipex until Tiscali took them over.

    They switched the ADSL to the Tiscali servers and I was never able to regain connection. Customer service was useless as they were adamant that I contact my 3rd party router manufacturer for settings, that had been working for 2 years before that point.

    They weren't happy with me trying a spare router either, and sent out one of their 'recommended' ones without even telling me. Still didn't work using that one (surprise, surprise), and after a week without internet access (required for my job) I left them in a ditch.

    Switched to PlusNet and been happy ever since.

    Best thing to happen to Tiscali would be bankruptcy, at least people would be able to stick to their happy providers without getting bought out all the time.

  20. Stephen Gray

    @ Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 8th May 2009 09:23 GMT

    Want to know why your 8mb package delivers maybe only 250kb, yes its called a line fault, simply contact the ISP and log a fault....Take the faceplate off the NTE5 and connect your ADSL filter into the test socket and then and only then can you test your connection, however try removing the gazzilion trojan/malware/virus' from your OS first that might help... It still makes me laugh long and hard when readers of El Reg who are supposed to be IT literate don't understand the basics of ADSL. If you have umpteen extension sockets, 10 cordless phones, Sky TV , burglar/fire alarm and all manner of other devices connected to your phone line are you actually surprised when you dont get a good connection?

  21. James McGregor

    Oh, that's just great.

    So ... the ISP with the worst customer service record is bought by the one with the second-worst customer service record. This does not bode well! I'm a Pipex broadband user and I noticed a distinct degredation in customer service when Pipex was bought by Tiscali back in July 2007. There's no way I''m sticking around to see how much worse it's going to get!

    Mine's the one with the PAC in the pocket ...

  22. pctechxp

    Looking for a decent broadband connection backed up by good service

    I'd try Newnet or Zen.

    I've used both and am currently on Newnet as I don't use my connection enough to warrant £25 but I pay £12.63 for 3GB and top up my bandwidth as needed.

    For my phone I use the phone coop as you can earn something back for what you pay (they do broadband too but they use Opal which is carphone for the network so am keeping clear.

    Keep away from the neweer competitior in the ring, Plusnet, they are cheap but unless you go for limited pro, if you have a substandard line the service quality is crap as you are throttled like hell, ended up buying myself out of the contract as my connection was unusable and am still trying to get them to stop billing me for a line they no longer control.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At last!

    It's what you've been waiting for - two shit companies in one place!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Stephen Gray

    No. Not surprised I don't get a good connection, I'm with TalkTalk. Obviously you are not and know f all about TalkTalk, where on earth did you extract

    "If you have umpteen extension sockets, 10 cordless phones, Sky TV , burglar/fire alarm and all manner of other devices connected to your phone line are you actually surprised when you dont get a good connection?"

    Not from my post maybe from your imagination.

    And yes fault has been logged numerously with TalkTalk and not been resolved.

    However I admit I know slightly less about ADSL than either you or TalkTalk.

    Stephen Grey, I make you an offer, come get my 8MB connection up to 8MB, all you need to do is

    " Take the faceplate off the NTE5 and connect your ADSL filter into the test socket and then and only then can you test your connection, however try removing the gazzilion trojan/malware/virus' from your OS"

    Then I will personally buy M$ complete for you.

    BTW this a fault that TalkTalk canot rectify, we are too far from the exchange. Good luck you ignorant IT retard.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The New Company

    @sproot - Lol! Perhaps the new company should be called T.T.T

    Not Tiscali Talk Talk but Two Turds (in a) Toilet :)

  26. Stephen Gray

    @Stephen Gray By Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 8th May 2009 12:41 GMT

    Quite amusing as I actually work for the network engineering team that runs the TT network in Irlam, so you see I know exactly what I'm talking about. I agree that I was using some examples of what might slow your connection down but since as you say you are too far from the exchange, what do you expect TT to do for you? Move you closer? Perhaps we should lay fibre to your door, ANONOYMOUS COWARD who is clearly illiterate as well. You may wish to look carefully at the big black blobs on the screen in front of you, see its spelt with a A, that would be the first letter of the alphabet something you are clearly unfamiliar with

  27. Chris Miller

    @ex Nildrammer

    Sorry to hear of your problems. For my part, and several other contented Nildrammers that I know, the service remains very good. I get a real-world 6Mb on an 8Mb ADSL and the last time I needed help (a couple of BT issues a year or two ago), I talked to a helpful and knowledgeable helpline still based in Aylesbury.

    I hope they can maintain their 'independence' from TalkTalk as much as they did from Tiscali - if not, then I'll be off and I doubt I'll be alone.

  28. Bo Pedersen

    shudder v2

    Hi Guys

    well I shuddered when Tiscali took over Pipex, whom I had been with since I first got broadband

    Tiscali bought Worldonline, who had previously messed up which I had as a service, and upped the charges. So I left them then.

    However the Homecall part of Pipex offered me free internet in exchange for a £12/month phone service

    so thats phone and internet for just £12

    not only that but I get 7.6mbps and I am about 1.5 miles from the exchange.

    the service has been surprisingly good from Tiscali

    however having many friends and family on Talk Talk I KNOW those days are numbered.

    maybe time to move to O2

  29. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    Hardware Hell

    Having been with Homechoice (now Tiscali, now soon to be TalkTalk) for a few years I'm astonished anyone can think it's good. Maybe a few years ago yes, and the principle is sound but the interface is painfully slow, and in the last 4 years I've gone through 5 (count 'em) routers.

    Latest one turned up two days ago, it's a bigger box so hopefully won't fry itself like the other ones. They also delivered a Thomson router - two actually, the first one wouldn't turn on. The second one did but 24 hours later stopped dishing out IP addresses.

    I don't care who runs it, just give me hardware that works. Please. I really don't want to give any more money to Rupert Murdoch but I'm fast running out of options.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    @ Stehpen Gray....

    "see its spelt with a A, that would be the first letter of the alphabet something you are clearly unfamiliar with"

    That should be an A not a A....and the punctuation leaves a lot to be desired as well.

    4/10 - must try harder!

  31. JBR

    why bother?

    Zen broadband- 9/10 cats prefer it. I wouldn't touch anything else with a 10ft sterilised robot bargepole


  32. AJG

    Phorm? I'm off

    I've been with Pipex for a few years and have been working up to moving away since Tiscali bought them, but couldn't quite work up the energy. This may be the kick that finally gets me to move. I will not give money to an ISP that uses Phorm.

  33. Chris Adams


    My last Homechoice router died a couple months ago. The Tiscali support bloke gave me no hassle at all and got it replaced the next day with the huge Tiscali STB and tiny (crappy) wireless router. I don't mind, I can use my Netgear RangeMax instead.

    So far I've been impressed with the new hardware and neither box gets hot, let alone hot enough to cook itself like the old, HC boxes.

    For those who missed the pleasure, Homechoice (now Tiscali TV) gave you a cute, small, completely sealed brushed aluminium finish STB that was a DSL modem, router (with only one workable Ethernet port) and IPTV decoder with SCART out. It had no ventilation whatsoever. With DSL router combined with MPEG4 decoding, the things got hot and, with no way to dissipate the heat (unless you brushed the aluminium with any part of your skin) they would slowly fail as they fried themselves. I went through 3.

    Amusingly, I used to work for even before it was launched. Snaffled by Tiscali. I also worked for World Online before Tiscali bought them out too. Then I became a Homechoice customer and Tiscali bloody bought that!

    Please go easy on me, Were-phone Craphouse! And keep the TV, It's the only pay-tv I can get.

  34. Kieron McCann

    @ Stephen Gray

    You know, initially your post came across as being quite helpful. But then you went and ruined it all by breaking in to a mini rant that not only abuses the poster you were responding to but also every Register reader?

    Many of us are tech literate and fully understand the physics of DSL. It may surprise you to know that there are other network engineers who read El Reg who know just as much as you do big boy. So I wouldn't be so quick to hop on your intellectual high horse

    Most tellingly however, you then go on to tell us that you work for TT and in doing so confirm many of our perceptions that your company is operated by a complete bunch of arse sucking c**ts. From big fat Charles all the way down to egotistical pricks such as you.

    Amazing how the the opinions of those reading your post could go from positive to extremely negative in a few sentences isn't it?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @steven grAy

    ahh it warms the cockles of my heart knowing that talktalk's fine tradition of tech know how and customer service in pidgin english by some fuckwit will indeed be passed on to Tiscalis customers. Anyone of them in irlam (where the f is irlam) will indeed probably not notice the seemless deterioration in their service and think that they are still with Tisacali.

    Congratulations steven grAy on continuing talktalk's fine traditions.

  36. Robert E A Harvey


    F2S sort of survived the Tiscali takeover of Pipex unscathed, but I have serious doubts about TT who seem to be total tosspots.

    I think that takeovers should void yer existing contract so you can switch as soon as the news breaks.

  37. tebiru

    Try Be

    I'm not with them any more as I'm currently overseas, but if I were in the UK I'd go back to Be in a heartbeat. Very reliable after some initial early hiccups, and good, responsive, unpatronising customer service. I'm not sure if the O2 buyout has affected things since, but back in 2007 they were excellent.

  38. jon


    yes, do not go there if you want to download gigs of stuff.....

    BUT if you are just an average user who thinks 150Mb is very large, you just want cheap phone & BB....

    If you are smart enough to USE THE TT FORUM you will get your problems solved in one or two days, for free, without wasting hours... :)

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 8th May 2009 09:23 GMT

    allthough i understand your frustration @Stephen Gray with regards to his comments? i fail to understand why you complain about wanting to know why your service is only 250k instead of 8mb when you already know its down to the distance from the exchange thus being no fault of TT?

  40. pctechxp

    New name


  41. Anonymous Coward

    Hotmail hates Tiscali too

    Maybe Carphone Warehouse can stop Hotmail bouncing all mail from Tiscali domains? Started happening two days ago.... Conspiracy?

    "Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 5.1.0 - Unknown address error 550-'SC-004 Mail rejected by Windows Live Hotmail for policy reasons. A block has been placed against your IP address because we have received complaints concerning mail coming from that IP address..."

  42. russel

    welcome talktalk i salute you

    no way can talktalk be anything other than an upgrade in customer service - i had a 8 week hell with tiscali re non working phoneline which went to bizarre extremes including :

    registering a complaint against their 'high level' complaints dept to great amusement of tiscali telephone operative ; the complaints dept complaining to me that their 'tech dept' were not answering their calls..... wtf ;

    told i wasnt their customer; told i was, told no phoneline fault, was phone line fault.......

    so i switched to BT for the phone line, fault found and fixed in 2 hours. really.

    still with tiscali broadband as too scared to attempt a switch, asking for mac code, cant, broken man.

    talktalk, sounds great..........

  43. jon


    simple reason, hotmail is such a giant spam-magnet, and MS dont give a damn about it!!

    use a decent one like gmail, I use it cos its far better at stopping spam!

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    TTT cough splutter.

    How much TV can you watch with a 10GB cap?

    in a couple of months new hd tv services go live, min 3mb/s download avg consumption 4GB a day for average of 2-3 hours viewing, standard film approx 2.5GB available films over 154,000

    They did it to aol, they did it to themselves, and you cant just get talk talk broadband they throw in the phone too.

    I dont know who advises talk talk, but on the eve of the technology revolution ie, hd tv on demand, caps on any isp is sure going to see migrations in the millions.

    Unless your living in the dark ages even the new TV's have internet access, the whole country is under strain, and this "merger" "takeover" is nothing but a reciepe for an extended edition of uk watchdog.

    Paris - because when she was fooked, at least she seemed to enjoy it.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Know the problem, yes know the answer no

    Yes being too far from an exchange to get an 8mb is the problem from talktalk's point of view.


    Why am I still paying for an 8mb connection then, why not reduce my costs by 1/8th and drop my line down to what you can reasonably provide, ie a 1mb line.

    And if you don't get the point, if i promised you steak and gave you burger, whilst you may still be forced to eat it would you still want to pay the price of steak for it.

  46. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    nowt wrong with talktalk backhaul

    I live in the middle of nowhere - we were one of the last exchanges to be ADSL enabled, but surprisingly, talktalk/cpwn have installed local loop unbundling on the exchange.

    I don't know why, but I liked the gesture, and changed to them. I'm therefore now on ADSL2 whilst the BT part of the exchange has no upgrade date. On the 8MB package, I get 960Kbs

    Apart from issues with reverse dns for customer IP's, they are more than fine

  47. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    @Stephen Gray

    I totally agree with Kieron McCann - the tone of your message is well out of order.

    If you really work for the networking team, I suggest that instead of ranting about how good you are, you learn what DNS is:

  48. Kev K
    Thumb Up

    LOL @ Jamie Jones Post

    the thread

    is absolute class - I shall watch this thread with interest and look forward to Stephen Grays input and fixing

    //hugs VM 20 mb faultless pipe

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @By Anonymous Coward Posted Saturday 9th May 2009 07:05 GMT

    Just so we understand each other. I understand what you are saying, and was not wishing to offend. just raising the question thats all.

    And you are right, why should you be paying so much for so little. the talk of upto 8meg service is fine for most. but those that are dropping below that 2meg point are seeing little return. other than the fact that many of them would prehaps only be on 512k service if it were not LLU or BT's Max service.. but still their should be some form of price difference for those below that point.

    I have to admit though i read you original message as you were having a fault that was not being resolved rather than a limitation and issue with price.

    Prehaps you were not as clear as you could have been, Prehaps i mis-understood. either way i apolagise. it was not an intent on my part to frustrate you further. But i do agree with you. But this is not just an issue with Talk Talk is it. Most ISP's are now charging one single price for an upto service. which is simply and disgustingly not fair or right for a very large percentage of the UK's ISP's Customers.

  50. Lol Whibley

    not impressed..

    with Stephen Gray.. at all.

    i work for 2nd Line Support at TT. i help anyone as much as i can. the physics and the network are never going to be wonderfull over distance but that's the copper.. Meh.

    We're working Very hard on the customer support stuff.. and some of us Care A Lot. there's going to be a lot more UK-based support too.

    As mentioned by others.. i know it doesn't help if you've got a sync fault, but Do have a look at the Forums.. there's lots of useful stuff there and some of the non-TT-staff members are very helpfull and enthusiastic. the staff on there are quick and keep an eye on it constantly.

    As for the tiscali buy, Way Hay! here's to being Number Two (coff!).. but seriously.. this will be good. we've got a lot of good things to be doing this next few years.

    \end slightly over-compensating attempt at balance redressing.. :)

  51. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    @Kev K

    Stephen Grays silence is deafening, don't you think ? !!

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