Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Leaving Orange

I don't like change, but after about 13yrs I left my cell phone provider

As for the reason, Orange have some very strange ideas for bringing/keeping customers when they want to charge their customers 25 GBP for a micro SIM. Other providers are giving all types of SIMs away for free with the anticipation/hope that this will be new/continued business. Unfortunately, Orange still don't see it this way and it's probably one reason most people I know have left them over the years.

The process of moving the current cell number to another provider, in theory, is supposed to be relatively painless:
  • obtain the 3 char + 6 digit PAC code from current provider - this code is valid for 30 days from the date of issue. Generally, they'll tell you that you need to wait 2hrs for the code to be generated, but this is garbage - find a helpful representative and they'll generate it in 2 secs and give it to you over the phone - I was speaking to a rep from sales
  • find a new provider with the desired SIM at the desired price (free microSIM!) and use the temporary number
  • instruct the new provider with your number move request: you will need to be very specific regarding:
    • original cell# that is coming to the new provider
    • PAC code
    • current temp number and 19 digit SIM card number - the provider should be able to determine this given one or the other
  • wait for the old and new providers to port the number, usually a 3 working day turnaround
I moved to o2 and they try to make it easy for moving your old number. They provide an online form that you can submit with all the details but they claim to email you confirmation but I never got this. In fact, I had to use their 'virtual adviser' to push through my request with the details listed above and whilst I don't trust human intervention, it went through cleanly. On the day of the number port, o2 sent a txt msg to the Orange number confirming the move and shortly afterwards, the temp o2 number stopped working and my old number was ported. All within 72-working-hours from the initial request.

The process noted above is the same for both contract and PAYG customers. As you don't appear to get any updates/confirmation of the process, you can track progress by contacting o2 on 0800 230 0202 and requesting to speak to someone regarding your number port to o2 - they will transfer you to the correct department. Upon finding the correct dept, you can simply supply the temporary o2 number and they should be able to inform you of any actions pending on that account .. or they can tell you that they haven't received your number port request!

One item that I came across during all of this was that Orange are quite happy to transfer any PAYG credit left on any account to another Orange PAYG account - they will not give refunds though. For any PAYG credit transfer, the receiving number/account holder MUST be contactable to answer the security process and then to accept the credit - you can ring Orange on 0800 079 4000 to request a PAYG credit transfer providing the Orange PAYG cell #. If you do not know of any other PAYG holder, you can simply request a free Orange PAYG SIM, register it and then transfer the credit to that.

One note regarding contacting Orange and o2 throughout this process - their websites and other literature will give you non-free phone numbers to speak to representatives but using the above 0800 numbers you will still be able to reach the appropriate depts but the trick is getting through the raft of initial options to speak to a human in the first instance. Once you are speaking your customer rep, you can request to speak to the appropriate dept.

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