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Orange: The next mobile phone account I’m about to ditch

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.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

3 replies on “Orange: The next mobile phone account I’m about to ditch”

Maybe the commoditisation of the mobile industry is not such a bad thing, even if it is only for a few years.  

They are, first and foremost, mobile network operators – not Gipsy travellers with a permanent plastic tent on the Greenwich Peninsula. Nor are they Media, Content providers or weekday cinema ticket touts. No, they are there to provide a telecommunications service first and foremost. And, for my £25 or whatever a month, I would like them to remain mindful of that fact.

Think about it – the service they provide is natinal infrastructure. We have become almost wholly dependent upon being able to solicit telecommunications for voice, text and [increasingly] mobile data from wherever we sit or stand. There is only one set of providers who can do that.  Yet they have, in the past, insisted on distracting themselves with all manner of tomfoolery. 

My vote is that, once they get extremely good at what they should be doing as core business, then and only then should they look to diversify.  But until then, get on with it and build out the national network properly, invest where it is needed, make it work, everywhere, all of the time, reliably.  And for pity’s sake stop interfering and stalling the availability of LTE in the UK. 

My tuppenceworth.

It’s sad to see the way Orange has eroded what used to be an innovative customer-focussed service when they first launched and for the years Hans Snook was in-charge before the mediocre service-crushing France Telecom took over.

Services such as Line 2 where you could have two numbers on one SIM, free transfer to other Orange and landline numbers, and a whole range of free-thinking ideas which Orange a great company to be with.

Now, as you say, they all all much of a muchness, although I am enjoying giffgaff particularly with its PayBack where they are giving over £1M back to their customers – now that’s something Orange would never do!

I very much agree Danny.

I’d really like to be able to say, “Ah, because Orange has now committed to put cells on every train in the UK, I’m swapping to them as I’ll get better service”.

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