back to article Orange and T-Mobile splice customers

Orange and T-Mobile customers will be able to roam freely between the two networks from 5 October, as the companies consolidate their morph into Everything Everywhere. Customers will keep their existing tariffs and contracts, but by signing up with their respective operator they'll be able to roam between the networks, ensuring …

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MBNL

Remember 3 and Tmobile are in the throes of sharing their access infrastructure and radio network too via the MBNL joint venture.

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Coat

Three - is that the magic number?

Wonder where that leaves people of Three, which roams onto Orange 2G when out of 3G signal, and I think shares a network with T-Mobile for 3G...

Mine's the one with several handsets in the pockets.

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Orange and MBNL

Orange joined MBNL

http://www.mobiletoday.co.uk/Mobile_Exec/Orange_hooks_up_with_MBNL.aspx

So all 3, Tmo and Orange subscribers will soon benefit from sharing their radio networks.

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Happy

Other benefits

Any idea if other benefits will be shared? Eg will T-mobile customers be able to take advantage of Orange Wednesdays?

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...and vice versa

The T-mobile 5 for £5 at blockbuster. Both together would be great.

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This merger...

...does not ignore the works already undertaken between T-Mobile and 3UK, and the background works are to be called Project THOR. T-Mobile, Hutch 3G UK, Orange... dunno what the R stands for. Rationalisation? Answers on a postcard...

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Having reaped the benefit of contact with Orange's customer service,

I'll be Anything Elsewhere (TM)

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Yup

With me in the queue behind you.

Shame really coz my best experience has been with T-Mob and my worst (by a country mile) has been with Orange. I wonder if O2 have improved in the last couple of years?

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Anonymous Coward

I did wonder...

... about this as I've just done the survey on T-Mobile hothouse regarding the sign-up screens. If you can't figure out the sign up process for T-Mobile then I apologise cause that's partly my fault ;)

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Just signed up

on the Orange page.

Can anybody explain the widespread belief among Web form designers that none of us is capable of typing our email address correctly, so we have to do it twice (or, more likely, copy/paste from the first box to the second)? Whereas we can enter a random string of digits such as a mobile number and get it right first time.

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WTF?

And how does this...

... affect Virgin Mobile customers?

Can they sign up for this Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink roaming arrangement?

Or will they be stuck on (a possibly shrinking) T-Mobile network?

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WTF?

Why ?

Why should customers have to register on a website to get this roaming ?

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Really roaming? Like in France?

Will the phone see any of this as real roaming, as in roaming when out of the UK?

If my phone thinks it is really roaming then a lot of apps will stop automatically updating, email, calendar, rss feeds, ... since I have turned off updating while on an astronomical tariff as in Europe or the US.

And does all of this apply equally to 2G, 3G, voice and data?

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single network?

Is this the first step towards consolidation into a single national mobile infrastructure with the operators acting as bandwidth brokers in the same way utility companies do? That would seem to be the sensible way forward at any rate rather than the duplication of coverage we currently have...

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Alert

Might finally get a decent 3G+ signal!

I usually only get around 2 out of 5 bars and that's in the middle of a 120,000 population Town.

For some reason T-Mobile never bothered to actual supply a decent service in my area, despite the number of customers they must have round here (Chesterfield).

Although I too am worried about too much Orange seeping into the T-Mobile side of the service, I left Orange for T-Mobile a few years back due to a combination of awful customer support (i.e. they basically had none, where as T-Mobile were quite open in comparison), and draconian data contacts that still measured usage in single digit MB, rather than in hundreds, or even GB.

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Welcome

Might finally get a decent 3G+ signal!

120,000 town - bah, that's nothing - try working in the centre of a 666,000 population city (Nottingham) and getting 1 bar of 3G signal on a good day - can't wait to be able to access the Orange 3G network (assuming they have got the data sides of things working in the seven years since I was last a customer).

And as for "I left Orange for T-Mobile a few years back due to a combination of awful customer support (i.e. they basically had none, where as T-Mobile were quite open in comparison)" me too - I have found T-Mobile Customer Service to be second to none since (so much so I haven't even felt the need to give the other operators a look when upgrades come) - and while I might not have a signal all the time, when I do get one it actually works without fail. I really hope that the good bits of T-Mobile are kept and coupled with Orange's superior coverage.

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Bars

As we have learnt from Apple recently, the number of bars is irrelevant. If you don't get the number of bars you want, just redefine how the number of bars is calculated.

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roaming or full network

still wanting to know as Orange will not tell me if the towers are an Full merger or an roaming merger

say there is some orange coverage it will Not slide over to T-mobile towers that have Strong signal until the orange towers are not in range at all like Crapy 3 network does it it will do the R on the phone when there is No 3uk coverage at all but if there is still some it will go back even when there is less then 10% signal (more an Phone maker Fault)

how i understand it its going to be an Full merger no roaming so if the t-mobile tower (i can See the t-mobile tower when i am in town) has an better signal it should treat it as it was an orange tower and prefer it due to signal level (as orange have no signal indoors in this town been told for years no new towers) but T-mobile i get -60 -70dBa levels (basic max) so they work very well

do not like the Idea that they are going to be taking towers off-line i hope that is when t-mobile and orange tower are on the same site only

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As far as I am aware...

...if you are a T-Mobile or 3 customer you will only roam to Orange if there is no T-Mobile signal. If there is a T-Mob signal and it's one bar on your phone, and there is an Orange signal at 5 bars, you will stay on your 1-bar T-Mobile signal. This is the roaming agremment, which was also a precursor to the T-Mobile / Three / MBNL full network merge.

Their aim will be to ensure that the population coverage is not affected. If one or both cover a specific area at the minute then that will not change. But coverage is not the only factor they will take into consideration when deciding on which sites to pull the plug. They will take traffic into consideration as well, not only as a number of calls routed through a site, but also the amount of data, and, more importantly, the technical stuff in how easy it is to slot all the different cells into one large coverage plot.

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When in roam...

From what I've been told, in the initial stages your handset won't see Orange towers as T-Mob ones or T-Mob ones as Orange and automatically choose the best signal. That's a few months away yet.

What the "roaming" agreement means is come 5th October if you're on T-Mob in an area with poor coverage you'll be able to do a manual network search and choose Orange instead (and vice-versa). Clunky, but better than nothing.

This will eventually apply to Virgin Mobile customers too, but probably not as early at 5th October.

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roaming

ok so orange will still be poor in the small town near me then, so be the way 3uk works then it be hoping between t-mobile and orange when there is an Poor signal still around for the home network

99.9% of users do not know you can manually select towers you connect to and roaming is not perfect as it always prefers Home network over the roaming one even if the signal below 15% (but the roaming is 80% for good e.g. again that's more of an phone fault then network)

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Orange has been okay for me

For every unsatisfied Orange customer there must be many more happy customers otherwise the business model would be failing. I have been an Orange customer for many years and sometimes loyalty does pay. I've been able to negotiate customized tariffs to my my personal needs.

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Boffin

HD Voice on T-Mobile?

Will Orange's new HD Voice service also be made available to T-Mobile customers?

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Anonymous Coward

@Why?

> Why should customers have to register on a website to get this roaming ?

So you give them your email address and phone number and by pressing the "send" button agree to let them send emails and texts to you.

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Anonymous Coward

So...

They're becoming VMVNOs on top of their combined networks then? Will they split it off into a holding company? Have other MVNOs deal with that instead of themselves?

Soon, though, if this consolidation keeps up, we'll be back at a single national network that everbody runs an MVNO on top of. What's then stopping it from degrading until it is the new mobile BT? I mean, you can't argue with "rationalisation" unless you remember that the duplication of coverage was considered a small price to pay for having multiple operators in the first place.

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Anonymous Coward

O2

When I joined O2 (well actually BT Cellnet) I did so because they seemed to offer the best coverage at the time. I used to be able to point at laugh at friends who struggled for signal.

But the Cellnet/O2 network stayed still while everyone else expanded coverage. Today O2 seem to lag especially with 3G.

So now we are going to have these super networks, this will presumably leave O2 up the river without a paddle.

I have a T-Mobile dongle and I believe it uses 3 for HDPSA access. If true it seems to work seamlessly and very effectively.

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Poor customer service and "churn"

There is one mobile company with worse customer service than Orange - 3

Mobile phone companies are all about churn. The incentives to change providers are far higher than any incentives to stay put.

I am mildly happy with T-mobile's customer service but if it degrades to orange/3 levels then I'll be off faster than a rat up a drainpipe.

I'm not holding out any hope for better rural coverage no matter how many mergers there are, but I'm very aware of areas of london with good coverage from 1 or 2 of the companies but lousy/nonexistant signal from the third. Sometimes it's a matter of being on one side or another of a small hill.

Now, who can sell me a decent HTC desire contract...?

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Orange user

And at a stroke, the T-Mobile 2G network is introduced to all the remote areas of Wales, Scotland, Cumbria and, probably a few towns and cities in between.

As a happy and reasonably well travelled Orange 2G customer, I can think of one location in the whole country where I could now have coverage where currently I have none. Probably a few where the number of signal bars might increase an odd bar or two, but certainly nothing to get excited about. Until this is tried, tested and proven - if it ain't broke I won't try to fix it. A step in the right direction, though - anything that improves service for customers of either network has to be a good thing.

I'm certain there'll be a lot more T-Mobile users roaming, than Orange ones, mind.

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