back to article Orange blames switch for data problems

Orange said today a switch problem was to blame for 3g outages in recent weeks, which seem to be concentrated in London. We've received several emails from irritated Orange customers. We were also sent updated advice from the telco to staff working in Orange call centres who are dealing with the problems. The mail said: We’ …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Thankyou for following the standard procedure.


    be obstrucive, dismissive, patronising and unhelpful.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      just like all the others then

      last time I called O2 (several calls to a UK call centre) after a series of direct debit fuckups, they accused me of lying

      it was some Indian chap who sorted it out via email

      a plague on all their houses

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hmm, didn't notice the difference

    Coverage is generally shocking on Orange, and even when I have any bars at all, throughput is dreadful.

    I gave up and moved to Three, which is cheaper, faster and gives me more generous allowances, and I don't have to put up with all the spam texts from Orange in the wee hours.

    1. Jason Hall


      I tend to find I have lots of bars, and can make/receive calls without any problems.

      Never had a problem with dropped calls either (iPhone 4).

      But data on Orange around my neck of the woods has been absolutely rubbish - full bars or not.

      My friend on his (3 iPhone 4) has really nice download speeds almost wherever he goes.

  3. RobE
    Thumb Up

    Orange are crap

    just goes to show what an utter waste of time orange customer services are. I for one am switching my contract as soon as the possibility arises.

    1. Wibble

      Sorry to tell you this...

      All the telcos are as bad as each other. I've used three different ones this year on the same commute and they're all crap. Like Vodaphone who doesn't have 3G in Victoria Station, or Orange and O2 who don't cover the city of London -- the lights are on (signal) but there's no connectivity.

      The only thing they are good at is extracting money from our wallets.

      1. Andrew 66

        Vodafone in Victoria

        Forgive me, but I get quite good signal in Victoria station on Vodafone....

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Steer clear of Orange

    How Orange have fallen since Hans Snook left and France Telecom took over

    No longer are they the innovative network operator who used to have a decent network, albeit 2G in urban areas at least. Far better than One2No-one was...

    I'll stick to Vodafone thanks, great coverage, though 3G could do with improvement, and they aren't as expensive as they used to be.

    And no I don't work for Vodafone, just a reasonably satisfied customer.

  5. Kubla Cant

    Wet string

    The annoying thing with Orange is that even when the mobile connection is showing a strong 3G or HSDPA signal, you often have no network connectivity. Cambridge, for example, seems to be connected to the rest of the world with wet string.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Wet string in Cambridge

      Tell me about it. I live a few miles south of Cambridge itself; I get the HSDPA "3G+"/cyan-LED connection on Orange... yet mostly the data throughput is about 30kbps. (For the first time in 3 months I saw something approaching 1Mbps a couple of evenings ago - back to slow now.)

      Voda is mostly c.1Mbps for me, but has persistant spurious http 504 errors on several well-known internet-banking websites and increasingly corrupts the majority of PDF downloads over http.

      1. tangerine Sedge


        University town - Check

        Freetard students (are there any other type?) - Check

        Rich mummies and daddies who have bought them iphones on unlimited tariffs? - Check

        OK Service out of term time? - Check

        The sooner that these unlimited tariffs disappear and people start paying per 1Mb they download the sooner these problems will go away. Data usage is rising almost exponentially and mobile phone tariffs are stagnant - that's the problem. The networks cannot just keep throwing Millions of pounds at this problem, it needs the customers to understand that streaming iplayer to their phone is not free but costs money.

        As usual, it's the people who abuse the service who push up costs and push down quality for the rest of us.

        1. Andrew 66

          People who abuse the service...

 other words, as far as I can tell, iPhone users, who on the whole simply don't know any better.

          And the only network where you don't pay per MB is Three, all other networks have fair use policies or imposed limits which are penalised.

          For example, I am very happy with the way Vodafone charge me: I get 500mb with my tariff, and if I need more, I simply pay £5 per 500mb block. It works very, very well on the whole...

        2. Jason Hall


          "As usual, it's the people who abuse the service who push up costs and push down quality for the rest of us."

          No. Absolutely not.

          It's the phone networks selling services they can't provide. Simple as.

        3. Kubla Cant
          Thumb Down

          @tangerine Sedge

          "OK Service out of term time?" Not in my experience.

          "As usual, it's the people who abuse the service who push up costs..." So somebody who enters into a contract with a phone company and uses the features the contract offers is abusing the service?

          If Orange don't want to spend money on data networks, they should stop supplying phones that rely on them, and stop including bandwidth they can't deliver in their contracts.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Title required

      We did a little unscientific poll in the office. Three of us run the speedtest app on our phones (two of us, myself included, happened to have HTC desires, and the last one had an iphone 4 - none of us were on the same network). 02 and 3 seem to get speeds a little in excess of 2Mbps. Orange however was stuck at around ~300Kbps. One of my colleague also had an ipad that relied on Orange for 3G access. He got 110Kbps. This is in an area where Orange themselves have told me that they have good coverage. If that's good coverage according to Orange then I wonder what they consider to be bad coverage?

    3. Parax

      Orange <> data

      Orange actually told me the telecoms remit is for phone calls and texts only and that Data is not part of thier remit and as such has no priority what so ever, and that I cant complain or ask for a refund if it does not work.

      I get great 3G coverage but NO GPRS Packet data at all, their networtk is a shambles. Its almost certain that it will fall over in every business/commercial area at lunchtimes.

      I am now looking for a new provider who understands that Data is more important to me than getting spam texts at 3am.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But.. but...

        Don't you like texts in the small hours, about Magic Numbers and how to get your Monkey Benefits? How about paying more for 250 megs than you will pay for 2 gigs on other networks (who have both throughput and coverage)?

        God, you are so picky.

        (Good riddance to Orange, getting an Android phone made me want to use data, at which point they became the worst possible option)

  6. Nigel Whitfield.

    Frankly, it's a shambles

    These days, I tend to the view that it's more remarkable when it works.

    While driving to Berlin last summer, I enjoyed pretty near perfect coverage across the continent.

    Back here, I consider it fairly unlikely that I can travel from Hackney to Bethnal Green on the bus and maintain a working data connection the whole way.

  7. Michael Jennings

    Just get the network sharing sorted out

    I've encountered these problems, and a partial fix is to manually connect to T-Mobile's network instead of Orange's. Of course, at the moment, T-Mobile and Orange customers can roam to each other's 2G networks, but not the 3G networks. So, if Orange has problems, I can use T-Mobile's GPRS, which is good enough to check my e-mail and find out the latest cricket score, if nothing else.

    If Orange and T-Mobile got their roaming to include 3G networks, things would be better. There might be a little manual messing around, but I would at least have a full speed connection at the end of it.

    More generally, I really hope the Orange / T-Mobile merger does not lead to Orange's network quality on the merged network. T-Mobile's 3G network is excellent. (Their 2G network, less so). If we end up with a merged network that has T-Mobile's 3G network quality, that would be good. Orange's network quality, not so much.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Title required

      All the Orange marketing crap seems to concentrate on network coverage rather than quality once you're connected, so I wouldn't hold your breath...

  8. Trev 2

    Words that instantly say "we're useless"

    Why is it that company PR depts can never come up with anything more than a template response to a problem and absolutely insist on using phrases like "[company_name] is committed to delivering the best customer service...".

    They only ever say that when they've royally mucked up.

  9. Wibble

    I want my money back

    So if I had a 'temporary outage' of my payment, they'd be OK with that? What about money back for all the time it's not been available?

  10. Mnot Paranoid

    You can't have your money back

    Because according to Orange, 3G is a 'bonus' service. You only pay for 2G. Their words.

    Personally, I've just given them nearly £400 to get out of a mobile broadband and iPhone contract. It took at least 7 attempts just to get them to unlock my iPhone. The only thing that Orange are good at is utter incompetence.

    I see the £400 as a personal fine for my stupidity for ever signing up to this appalling company.

  11. mc nobby
    Black Helicopters

    sounds familliar

    This wouldn't be the same problem that Hutchison/3 seemed to manage to introduce to the Vodaphone Australia network, rendering Vodaphone customers rather pissed of at not being able to use their handset to do fancy things like make and receive calls?

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Backhaul not Signal Coverage

    The problem is mostly with the lack of backhaul bandwidth from the cell towers, why do you think that O2 is trying to move some of its traffic onto Wi-Fi? All the operators suffer with this. I'm on Orange and get good signal coverage pretty much everywhere. Throughputs, however, vary dramatically and of course are consistently poor where a lot of other users are trying to connect (like anywhere inside the M25!). On the other hand I recently had an off season holiday in Cornwall, near St Ives, and despite only getting a weak 3G signal the throughput was excellent with web pages loading quickly and HD iPlayer content downloading overnight with no problems. The reason is simple, I was probably the only user on that data bearer at the time. All the operators need to invest in backhaul otherwise mobile data services become a bad joke.

  13. jonmorris

    Orange in London (and beyond)

    I have to suggest that the 'recent' problems on Orange probably are unrelated to the pending merger, as London (In particular the City of London to Holborn) has been a problem for going on for two years.

    Orange has advised us to disable 3G, which does work. Otherwise you have no data at all (can't even ping any IP address), incoming calls bouncing to voicemail, outgoing calls coming back network busy and texts that arrive in the morning after the network constantly increases the retry time to deliver.

    All in all, a shambles - and a problem that could really mess up the network merger. At best, it fixes the problem, at worst it means T-Mobile/Three customers will have the same problems.

    I am not an engineer, but I can see that when my phone registers on an HSPA enabled cell, data works. If it only shows 3G, it won't. Yet, aren't nearly all 3G cells HSPA enabled? If so, there must be some problem with it authenticating properly, so if you stay on 3G it won't work at all.

    Don't expect a detailed explanation from Orange though. Gone are the days where you could phone up with a problem and speak to an engineer direct at Bristol who would really know the workings inside and out of the network.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Similar experience

      I've had similar experiences using Orange in Canary Wharf, where coverage has been absolutely atrocious at times; you would think that in an area like that, they might try to provide a reasonable signal, but I've had to spend ages wandering around the gardens of Canada Square trying to find a signal so that I can reply to an email.

      And don't even get me started on their billing chaos, largely as a result of trying to use one of their roaming data packages (just google "My orange billing hell" instead)

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Orange: crap network, appalling customer service shocker!

    Had data issues for the last six weeks in Basingstoke, phoned up a few times over a few weeks and got the obligatory "it'll be fixed in a couple of days" the first time, was then told three weeks, then two days etc. etc - all by those lovely offshore call centres.

    The usual rules apply: don't take no for answer from the unhelpful, ignorant, ill-informed droids they have on 1st line support... they will (and do) give in.

    The most amusing thing was on the second call I made, explaining how data hadn't been working for 6 weeks, the arse on the phone gave the usual "fixed in two days" response, *then* tried to upsell me Sky Sports on my phone. I was tempted to respond with "how the hell do you think it'll work without a data connection? Do you send me a satellite dish and some blu-tack?"

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