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My wife and I have been Orange mobile customers for many years. We now spend a considerable amount of time in Co Fermanagh where mobile phone coverage is poor, particularly Orange. Our main billing address is in North Down.
Where we go, there was virtually no Orange coverage and we were going to leave Orange and move to o2 who provide good 2g coverage there. We held back on the promise from Orange that their link up with T Mobile would improve things and that turned out to be true, when the T Mobile masts in NI were opened up to Orange customers early last year we were getting full signal from the local T Mobile mast including 2g email and web browsing. Because of that, we stayed with Orange and in my case renewed contract 8 months ago and my wife more recently.
When we were down last weekend we had virtually no network coverage, one bar going to zero when you tried to make a call. We were unable to make or receive calls. A manual search of available networks showed Orange, o2, and Vodafone but no T Mobile . When I got a signal elsewhere, Orange customer services told me there shouldn't be any problem and maybe the local cell was down temporarily.
When I returned home, further searches still did not show up any T Mobile Network, spoke to customer services again and they knew nothing about any issues and were basically useless.
Since then, I have discovered that the entire T Mobile network in NI was switched off on Wednesday 11 April 2012. http://support.t-mobile.co.uk/discussions/index?page=forums&topic=801019661f971c013675861f6200d77 Virgin Mobile, who used T Mobile masts advised their customers on their website that changes were coming and that they would be using Orange masts from that date http://www.virginmobile.com/vm/ukCoverage.do?contentId=coverage.in.uk.howdoi.sm235
I spoke to staff in local Orange shop yesterday who were not fully aware of what was happening but they did show me an email received yesterday morning telling them to remove T Mobile dongles from sale as "they no longer work in N I" They told me that the Orange network is being upgraded fro 2g to 3g but were incredulous that masts would be turned off which would reduce service.
I have had another lengthy discussion with customer services who are to get back to me today. I have told them that we went into new contracts on the basis of enhanced network coverage due to the T Mobile tie up (which is still being vaunted on Orange website) http://help.orange.co.uk/orangeuk/support/personal/Signal-sharing
My view is that their coverage has been mis represented to us and that we want out of our contracts to move to another provider.
The most annoying thing is that no one in Orange is prepared to admit what is going on, provide customers in NI with meaningful information on what is happening, how it will impact on them and what the future plan is.
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