Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Changing Phone with Orange

I recently changed phone to the O2 network and started the process of transferring my old phone number. O2 was very helpful in the process and told me exactly what I needed to do.

I called Orange and asked for a PAC. I was asked lots of questions about why I wanted to leave, wouldn't I prefer to stay and that I'll lose the credits on my phone by transferring. I made it clear that I wanted to move.

Eventually I was transferred to another number. When I say transferred, I was actually placed in a phone queue where I was bombarded with awful music. I waited ... 5 minutes ... waited ... 10 minutes ... waited ... 15 minutes. After a painfully long time, I managed to speak to someone.

I insisted on them providing me with a PAC. They obliged.

The O2 bit was easy, phone them up, quickly get to who I need to speak with and give them the PAC. They gave me a date for the transfer. Simple.

Day of the transfer, it seems that Orange hasn't quite handed over the number. I now have a phone which I can call from but to which all incoming calls go to my Orange answer-phone. It has to be easier than this. I'm hoping this isn't going to turn into one of those awful Mercedes-like customer support experiences. Fortunately for me, O2 is on the case.

I note that I have also received a letter from Orange addressed to "Dear Other Unregistered". It states they are sorry that I've decided to leave and that their service is flexible enough to meet my needs. This actually isn't quite true, they don't offer the phone I want and it seems that they can't be bothered to remember my name after all these years.

I'm starting to wonder whether others have problems with transferring. I'm curious to how this will develop because if portability of a phone number in a regulated industry is so non-trivial, what does this mean for "cloud computing"?

Does anyone know of any industry statistics around portability in the telecoms market? Success rates on first attempts etc?