Archive for October 2010

Orange admits to 69.5% failure rate on mobile phone mast

The Orange rip-off saga continues unabated.  I eventually got Orange to disconnect my phone after a prolonged battle with customer services eventually got me talking to their network support people.  But I haven’t escaped Orange yet.

When I left Orange I changed to Three and it all went well for a couple of months until Three decommissioned a mobile phone mast near my house and left me unable to get a Three signal in my house.  And when you can’t get a Three signal, your phone roams onto Orange.  Same shit service at home, different name on the bill.

Orange, in their infinite wisdom, decided to turn off one of their masts a week later even though they’d already acknowledged a few months earlier that the network was congested.  If your car is running on 3 cylinders, you don’t take another spark plug out … unless you’re Orange.

Mrs Sane is still on Orange and tearing her hair out since they turned the mast off.  Since that weekend the pattern is the same – about lunchtime on a Friday you can’t make and receive phone calls or send and receive texts with any degree of reliability.  Most of the time it’s not possible to use the phone as a phone which is a bit inconvenient.  This goes on until Monday morning.

Mrs Sane complained to Orange and they agreed to release her from her contract if she wrote in to their head office.  She wrote in to their head office and I put a letter in the same envelope for #1 son’s phone which is also on Orange.  I haven’t had a reply but Mrs Sane got one denying there was a problem and insisting that their networks people said there is no problem.

The level of service is unacceptable.  I provide 24 hour cover for work every other week and the on-call phone is on Orange.  The last two times I’ve been on call I’ve had to give my house phone number to my employer because the mobile phone doesn’t work.  Mrs Sane can’t use her phone and neither can #1 son.  I can’t use my Three phone because roaming connections are dropped off first and neither can #2 son who’s also on Three.  My brother-in-law says that whenever he comes to Telford – and particularly where we live – he has the same problem.

Things came to a head today when Mrs Sane and I were trying to call each other this morning and couldn’t so I phoned Orange to complain again.  Five times.  It took about 30 or 40 attempts to make the five calls.  The first time a supervisor was going to call me but didn’t.  The second and third times I got cut off while I was on hold.  The fourth time I asked to be called straight back on my landline because I kept getting cut off but nobody called.  The fifth time I asked to be called back on my landline while I waited on the mobile and when they called me I didn’t bother wasting time explaining myself again and insisted on being put through to a network support person.

To my surprise I was put through to a network support person who was very helpful.  He checked the repeater mast at the end of our road and found that it was a bit poorly.  Well, when I say a bit poorly, what I mean is absolutely buggered.  The connection failure rate on that mast yesterday was 69.5%.  You haven’t read that wrong – 7 out of 10 attempts to connect to the network to make or receive calls, send or receive texts or use data resulted in a failure.  That is amazingly bad – a critical failure rate according to the networks person at Orange.  But according to Orange head office, there’s nothing wrong!

The nice networks man raised a ticket for an engineer to go and check it out next week.  He said it’s a line of sight repeated and it may have lost sight of a proper mast (the one they’ve turned off perhaps?) or just not be up to the job and needs cabling up instead.

It’s understandable that the first line support people don’t have access to that sort of information because they wouldn’t know what to do with it but it shouldn’t be so damn hard to get through to someone who can check out that sort of thing and deal with the problem accordingly.  I really hope they can sort the problem out because if I can get a reliable Orange connection at home, that means I don’t have to change from Three who I’m still really happy with, lack of connectivity at home notwithstanding.

Orange should have known there was a problem because that level of failure is just ridiculous but the big problem is people just accepting shit service and not reporting it.  If everyone who had a problem – and there are a lot of them – reported it they would have been more likely to have spotted a problem before now.

I’m not convinced that they’re going to fix the problem – certainly not in the short term – but let’s see what they say next week.  I am assured that I will have a phone call by Thursday at the latest to give me an update.

I need an Octeday

It’s been over 2 weeks since I last posted, I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit recently.

So what’s been happening in the last couple of weeks?  Well, I went to the UKIP leadership hustings in Birmingham last week.  I’m backing Nigel Farage for leader of course, he’s the best candidate by far.  The second placed candidate, David Campbell Bannerman, is going down in my estimation every time he says or does something and I’m not the only one – I’ve had DCB supporters get in touch to tell me they’re switching allegiances since he got Farage pulled from BBC Question Time.

I’ve somehow found myself standing in for the Chairman of Brookside Improvement Group, my local residents’ group, while the Chairman recovers from illness.

The Campaign for an English Parliament’s new website is up and running.  We’re still tinkering around the edges but it’s there or thereabouts.  The latest feature to be added is a supporters mailing list.

There are a few hours left to take part in the competition over at Bloggers4UKIP.  Nigel Farage will be judging the best post published on Bloggers4UKIP by close of play today (October 22nd) and the winner will receive a signed copy of his book, Fighting Bull.  Anyone interested in taking part, use the contact form on Bloggers4UKIP.

David Wright has finally replied to me on the 500 RBS redundancies in Telford but fails to explain why he did nothing to stop the RBS policy of English Jobs for Scottish People when he was working in the British Treasury.  I asked for a meeting between him and the CEP, he’s told me to speak to his secretary to find out details of his open surgeries.  If he wants to play games, I’m happy to play along.

We’ve been doing the tour of the secondary schools again, #2 son is leaving primary school next year.  Hopefully he’ll get his first choice because it’s going to be a logistical nightmare (not to mention, expensive) if he doesn’t.

Orange are still pissing me off.  Unbelievably, a week after Three turned off their mast near my house resulting in me not being able to get a Three signal in my street, Orange did the same thing.  It hasn’t affected signal strength all that much but the already overloaded network is now worse than ever – from Friday afternoon to Monday morning, Mrs Sane can’t make or receive calls or send and receive text messages and my Three phone won’t roam onto Orange for most of the weekend because Orange cut off roaming partners when they’re overloaded.  It wouldn’t be so bad but I provide 24 hour cover for work every other week and for the second weekend in a row I’ve had to give my home phone number to work because the Orange mobile they’ve given me is useless.  Orange are now refusing to accept – despite having already admitted to me, terminated my contract early and paid me a considerable amount of compensation for refusing to admit their fault for months – that there is a problem with their network!

It’s been a busy few weeks … in fact, it’s been a busy few months.  I really must make an effort to blog more.  If anyone knows a way of slotting an extra day in the week I’m all ears.  Terry Pratchett has the right idea – I could get loads done on Octeday.

Help me choose: O2 or Vodafone

I’m beginning to think we’re jinxed when it comes to mobile phones.

Last week I posted about the dilemma I have now that Three have turned off the mast closest to my house.  I left Orange because it was so unreliable so staying on Three when I can only pick up Orange on my Three phone is no good and T-Mobile doesn’t work in my house.

Well now it’s becoming more of a pressing issue because Orange have also just switched off a mast and you’ve guessed it, it’s the mast nearest my house.  Getting an Orange signal isn’t a problem but making and receiving calls and sending and receiving texts is a problem and data connections are a rarity because the already overloaded Orange network is now maxed out all the time.

So in a nutshell, I’ve got a choice between O2 and Vodafone.  I’ve been asking on Twitter and Facebook and so far pretty much everyone has said Vodafone.  O2 are apparently having the same capacity problems as Orange and T-Mobile.  But what about Vodafone?  Everyone can’t be happy with Vodafone otherwise there’d be nobody on the other 4 networks!  Their data allowances are rubbish, as are their upgrades but what about the network?

The coverage checkers for O2 and Vodafone both show reasonable coverage for where I live – not as good as Orange, T-Mobile or Three – but there’s not much difference between the two.  So it’s just down to reliability, customer service and value for money but which one should I choose?  O2 or Vodafone?

Who’s a clever boy then?

Osbourne and Cameron

Well, isn’t little Georgy Porgey Osborne a clever boy?  He’s decided to means test for family allowance to stop the well off from getting money they don’t need but being the clever boy that he is, he’s dropped a bit of a bollock.

The means testing is being done by taking family allowance off anyone who is in the higher tax bracket.  This means that if either parent earns over £44k they won’t qualify for family allowance.  And rightly so, there’s no need for someone earning £44k to have family allowance.

But here’s the clever bit: if two parents earn £43,999.99 each – a combined household income of £87,999.98 – they will still be paid family allowance.