Leaving O2 should be so easy to do…

Last week, before the network  “Omni-shambles” that seemed to impact almost everyone on O2 in the past few days, I moved some of my mobile accounts from O2 to geek poster boy network GiffGaff.  When I say move of course I am well aware that GiffGaff is still actually O2, it’s an internal MVNO – Mobile Virtual Network Operator, but it is significantly different in a number of ways…

  1. There is no real customer support other than that provided by other users via forums
  2. There is little direct marketing of the service instead relying on  word of mouth and social network based sharing.
  3. As a result of 1 & 2 the network is amazing value, I pay £10 a month without contract for unlimited internet, texts and 250mins talk time.

If you are interested you can get more details and a free SIM here ( Disclosure – As part of the social network marketing plan I get a £5 kickback if you join !!)

But the real point of this post is not about joining a new network it’s about leaving the old one.  This should be easy, I never sign up to long duration contracts so am usually on a payg plan or at worse a 30 day rolling contract.. So all I need is my PAC code to port my telephone number from one network to the other.

Not wanting  to listen to the pleadings of O2 retentions department, I tried to do this online and so the story starts..

This is no simple form to fill in and O2 won’t do this by email, instead you must take part in a online chat session.

After waiting 5 minutes or so, my online helper Henry comes onto the chat at 8:28 pm

Here is the dialogue..

This is a great way of meeting people is it not, it’s now about 9:10pm and I have a new online friend at O2 called Barry.

I think I might have upset Barry, I guess I will never know such are these brief online friendships I have another new friend, how exciting Timothy..

Timothy what a star.. all done and dusted despite having to give him the same characters from my password three times !!

My conversation with Henry, Barry and Timothy finished at 10:50pm, that’s one hour and twenty two minutes to leave o2.

Now until this week I though that perhaps they are just making things difficult to prevent people from leaving, but actually you know I just think their systems are up to the job.

So ask yourself this… Do you want your mobile network to invest in it’s network and it’s back office systems recognising that’s it really just a utility for moving bits wirelessly or do you want a operator that spends instead huge amounts of  money subsidising handsets, sponsoring music venues or buying people cinema tickets.

Trouble is you don’t really have that choice..

Written and submitted from home (51.425N, 0.331W)

15 replies on “Leaving O2 should be so easy to do…”

Let’s face it, all the UK cell-cos are a vary degree of rubbish and will continue to be so as long as the sole metric they’re judged by their shareholders is the number of new customers they sign up, not the satisfaction of their current customers, nor the number who depart for a rival network.

You do get refreshing bursts of honesty though. When O2 lured me from Orange with the siren call of the iPhone 3G, Orange’s “customer retention department” soon realised they weren’t going to fob me off with the offer of a free BlackBerry (“but it’s just like an iPhone Sir” … it’s not) and gave me my PAC code with a sign off of “you’ll soon realise that the other operators are just as bad as we are”.

After my 2 year’s contract with O2 was up and after never being able to get coverage in the wild outlying wastelands of the country that was Covent Garden, O2 finally gave me a PAC code after I threatened them with complaining to OFCOM and told me “whoever you go to you’ll come back eventually” … I haven’t and have no intention of.

It’s a 30 day rolling SIM only contract for me, currently with Vodafone. They’re mildly cack around the TW11 postcode area but no more so than the other networks and at least they’re customer service people are in the UK.

But at least you made 3 new friends!

I guess, what do people need from a mobile phone company? Coverage – so the network works when you need it to – and customer service, when you want something else. I’ve had a (generally) good customer service experience with O2, but as I’m doing more travelling now, I’ve noticed their 2G and (particularly) 3G coverage is lousy. So, I’ve decided to move over to Three, knowing that I may get a worse customer service, but I’m happy to forego that given their better coverage. I got a Mifi device recently, and their cover is measurably better than O2.

So for now my main criterion is coverage – but I imagine that when I need to contact them I might just regret it.

I’m currently in dispute with O2 and have complained to the Ombudsman about being held to a business contract when the signal disappeared at my place of business for two months. Long, long story but they are now threatening to affect my credit rating because I am withholding payments until the Ombudsman has looked at my complaint. Do you know if I can get any help anywhere?

So I’ve just got my PAC code from O2. I find their customer service is outstanding so I reckon you contacted them on a bad day.
I feel it is a shame leaving O2 but they can’t offer me a better deal than GiffGaff can! – believe me, I tried! I also stay on a 30 day contract. O2’s only good contracts are 12 month’s and even that is £10 more than GiffGaff a month.

What I would like to know is – how are you getting on with GiffGaff? My sim will arrive in the post in the next few days and I am wary about putting my PAC code into GiffGaff and find out it was a big mistake. (I currently have a family and friends discount on my O2 account. Would be a shame to loose that!)


GiffGaff are pretty good, as long as you remember to check out the community pages for help with things like APN’s etc. At the end of the day you are still using o2’s network so coverage and performance is the same.

I have been online with the lovely Moris from o2 retentions department for 4 hours now. I have gone past frustration to the point where it is now comical.

Had this nonsense with O2 this evening. Having read about your experience, I was glad I just said “no thanks” when I was asked if I wanted a PAC code. The last thing I wanted was O2 having my phone number, and it seems like they only use PAC codes as a way of delaying you closing your contract.

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