Posted on Jul 20th by Harry in Uncategorized
Mobile phones are a modern marvel and it’s incredible what I’ve been able to do since I joined Orange circa 1994. But it’s a very odd relationship, which Orange conducts in a bizarre, mechanical way. Periodically my frustration boils over. Like today…
I need to use the phone in Italy for 10 days (on hols, with son, without wifi, and with a Test match on). I rang Orange, who put me at length through mechanised oleaginous call-centre preconceived responses hell. Eventually I get to a service where I text “from Italy” and they text me the tarriffs back. Orange tells me data services cost 69.66p per MB. 69.66p doesnt sound a lot, but then nor is a megabyte.
This means one single Gigabyte is £696.60.
Orange says it has some good value offers and packages so *sigh* I call them again and work my way through call-centre option purgatory to speak to a courteous operator who tells me I can get 500MB for £150. That makes £300 for a GB. Yes.
Here’s why it’s important to have bought an unlocked phone, not be locked in to your UK network. You can buy a local SIM card, have a local nunmber and pay local rates. But you can’t do that with a locked phone, which the Germans might describe as a Bauernfänger.
Donald Strachan has a helpful blog post on current pay-as-you-go (PAYG) SIM packages available in Italy. For example TIM’s offers an “Internet Large” package of 10 GB for €19.
Go compare, as the man says: £3000 for 10GB from Orange on my usual number, or €19 for 10GB with a different local number from TIM. Single market my ass.
Neelie Kroes is the EU Commissioner who has pushed on the data roaming problem. She picks up my Tweet about this and replies:
@williamheath u could do better in the market, but that sounds like the maximum they are allowed to charge. so, yes, it’s legal
Orange then texts me a formulaic satisfaction survey, rating their offer from 0 to 10. If I can work out how to forward an SMS to email I’ll post up the exchange here.