I recently moved to the Orange network after over 5 years with 3. When I first signed up with 3, they were the first to offer free Skype calls and they had among the cheapest rates in the UK - something that appealed to me as a student. They also had the most attractive deals for 24 month contracts. However, I got pissed off the last time I renewed my contract for 24 months when I discovered that new customers had better deals than loyal customers who had stuck with the network for 3 years. I still went ahead and got a new contract for 24 more months.
I started noticing that their network coverage was quite bad as compared to others. For example, I wa not able to get a signal at the hotel in Kendal in Cumbria when we recently went for a holiday to the Lake District. Even in certain parts of London, I would only get 2 bars on my reception. We were also quite annoyed when they quietly increased the rates. Apparently they were allowed to do so as we did not read the small print in our contract (who does?).
We still stuck with them but when our contract finally finished, I started looking for a good deal with a GOOD phone. I suddenly discovered that they were no longer the cheapest around and that Orange was offering fantastic deals (though Phones4u) and I decided to jump ship. I did call the customer service up to see whether they were able to offer me any good deals. Unfortunately they were not.
Apparently, as we have found out, here in the UK loyalty does not count at all. My wife first moved and I followed suit.
However a couple of days ago, someone called me up. She was from 3 and she offered me a fantastic deal - 500 minutes, 5,000 texts and unlimited data for just a little more than £8 plus a free phone - a Samsung Galaxy Europa. I was tempted for a few minutes but it was too late. I already have 2 great phones - my Samsung SII on Orange and the Nokia Lumia 900 on O2.
And it looks like I made the perfect choice - Orange's network coverage is fantastic as they use Orange and T-Mobile networks in the UK. Plus, today according to an announcement by Ofcom, Everything Everywhere, the owners of both Orange and T-Mobile networks, have been given permission to launch fourth-generation (4G) mobile services here in the UK. I am really excited..
Related news: Everything Everywhere gets 4G go-ahead from Ofcom