I’ve got an Orange contract account.
I’ve been perfectly happy with the service.
But I can’t tell the difference, nowadays.
I think it was earlier this year when I suddenly realised that there was no direct benefit to me whatsoever operating multiple mobile operator accounts. For the longest time it’s been rather useful if I needed to be able to test a service feature. In recent years the commoditisation that’s swept the market has made it incredibly difficult to differentiate.
An iPhone on Orange? Or an iPhone on o2? Or T-Mobile? They’re effectively the same price.
The major decision comes down to whether you’ve got good signal in your home area. And whether they’ll give you an extra fiver off.
The number of minutes? The data bundle? The insurance costs? There’s nothing fundamentally different. Everything is the same.
So I’ve been steadily working through my mobile accounts and canning them. I killed my unnecessary 3 accounts a little while ago. I also dumped both my o2 accounts.
Orange is the next one on the block.
I phoned up last night — kudos to Orange for staying open to 10pm — and ended up waiting 20 minutes to speak to the disconnections team before I gave up. That’s one way to avoid churn.
I’ll be sorting this one out today.
I can’t tell you how depressing this situation is.
While I sat waiting to speak to the Orange team I went through my mind listing the benefits I could remember of holding an Orange account:
1. You can get free cinema tickets on a Wednesday. Ok. That’s irrelevant for me on three counts — I’ve got young children; I work hard and finally, the last thing I want to do is sit in a packed movie theatre surrounded by folk who’ve brought packed lunches with them in order to avoid buying popcorn. It’s just not my style.
2. Something about a Pizza Express voucher connected to the cinema offer.
3. “Free” movie rental from iTunes each week — which was good until they ran out of decent films in the catalogue.
How ridiculous is it that I couldn’t think of a single network-related element.
I used to really enjoy having accounts on each network, especially when they regularly launched new features and services to check out. Years have passed though. We really are in a commodity mobile world.
Until one of the networks wakes up and recognises the benefits of launching ‘Vodafone Black’ or ‘o2 Black’ offering a whole host of innovative and smart connected services, well continue to see zero differentiation.
Standby for a phone call, Orange.