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DTMark

Payg Rant

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This is just a rant.

Have had O2 PAYG for years. Won't have a contract because I don't allow direct debits on my bank accounts.

It has always been pants - mangled speech and dropped calls in school holidays.

However where we are, the only two networks with indoor signals are O2 and Vodafone. So today I finally get around to switching.

Got the PAC code to move the number. Put the Vodafone SIM in. Ring the number to activate the SIM. All good.

The tariff seems to have some over complicated system where you top it up then buy a "package". So I put £20 on it thinking it might be nice to try out the 4G on the phone - it can do it, but O2 was only ever 2G here if you're lucky. That's done.

Register online. Put the PAC code in to move the number. All good. Great so far.

I then observe the balance is now 19.88. But I haven't bought that package thing yet and I haven't done anything. Where has 12p gone. The online portal says it was a charge for an SMS. Haven't sent one.

Under duress I then think "I'll add another fiver". That's declined. I'll bet that has now activated the fraud block on my debit card and in a day or two I'll get one of those "This is an automated call from the Halifax" calls asking me if I tried to use it. In the meantime the debit card won't work online.

Back in the Vodafone portal I finally manage to wade through the 'Contact Us' section and find the magic combination of things that enables you to talk to someone, nicely hidden away.

To be fair, in a Live Chat within a minute or two they added £1 to the balance and added the package thing for me. Apparently. The online portal says there's no package and 88p credit. Maybe that will update.

As an aside I was going to try Lebara since it uses Vodafone but ruled that out after the third try to call customer services to use the PAC code and being on hold for over 10 minutes. Half an hour is enough to waste. You can't key in the PAC code online.

I now sit with glazed eyes looking at these package things and think "But nobody would ever want this. Can't you just have it so it's 5p per minute and 5p per text and maybe 1p per MB"

Apparently without one of these it's 35p per minute and £2 per 50MB then 10p/MB. And it does seem that if you use up your "allowance" the phone is then basically out of bounds until the anniversary of the package next month when you can buy another package. Either that or you pay a fortune in the meantime.

O2 was something like £10 for 500MB (sold as "unlimited" which it is, of course, it's just limited to 500MB), 500 texts and calls were 20ppm for 1 minute then 5ppm. An old tariff. So those adverts that say "PAYG just keeps getting better and better" don't really ring true, do they.

I'm guessing mobile companies are being shafted by things like WhatsApp with people not making calls any more and so have geared the PAYG "packages" to force a cash stream out of people who then have to pay a bit more to get a package with data.

The bees in the adverts are very funky though.

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Three is the best for PAYG

3p a minute, 2p a text, 1p a MB.

None of this 50p/£1 per day rubbish.

It's particularly bad with a smartphone as it is bound to be using a little bit of data every day, costing you a fortune.

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Three is the best for PAYG

3p a minute, 2p a text, 1p a MB.

None of this 50p/£1 per day rubbish.

It's particularly bad with a smartphone as it is bound to be using a little bit of data every day, costing you a fortune.

We can use Three 3G here with our roof antenna and modem. About 15 down 4 up. Fair signal. Though the transmitter has a long running intermittent fault which causes the backhaul to die briefly now and again.

Really wanted Three to work here for voice, but downstairs - no signal at all. House has thick walls, and Three's frequency range is the worst for penetrating buildings. Great upstairs, nothing at all downstairs :(

Three seems like the most PAYG friendly.

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I have worked in the mobile phone industry for many years, and have seen from the inside how well or badly these businesses are run. I have worked for several networks, and know many people who work in all the ones I haven't. So the inside info is as follows:

EE/ Orange/ T-Mobile are crap.

Vodafone are crap.

Telefonica are crap.

3 are crap.

All the virtual networks that run on the above (GiffGaff, etc) are crap.

I hope this helps everyone make an informed decision about which network to use.

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What's the problem with direct debits? If you're really paranoid just have a separate current account for them.

If there are insufficient funds in an account, and a DD bounces, a bank will charge you £10 for the service that they have not provided.

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Won't have a contract because I don't allow direct debits on my bank accounts.

You dont need a DD with a contract if you dont want one. You can pay when the bill is due.

PAYG is a rip off imo unless you don't use your phone in which case why buy one.

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I have worked in the mobile phone industry for many years, and have seen from the inside how well or badly these businesses are run. I have worked for several networks, and know many people who work in all the ones I haven't. So the inside info is as follows:

EE/ Orange/ T-Mobile are crap.

Vodafone are crap.

Telefonica are crap.

3 are crap.

All the virtual networks that run on the above (GiffGaff, etc) are crap.

I hope this helps everyone make an informed decision about which network to use.

It's funny 'cos it's true.

I worked for a mvno many moons ago. Onetel, ****el more like.

(self censored as you can you the word **** within complete words like Scunthorpe.)

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I have worked in the mobile phone industry for many years, and have seen from the inside how well or badly these businesses are run. I have worked for several networks, and know many people who work in all the ones I haven't. So the inside info is as follows:

EE/ Orange/ T-Mobile are crap.

Vodafone are crap.

Telefonica are crap.

3 are crap.

All the virtual networks that run on the above (GiffGaff, etc) are crap.

I hope this helps everyone make an informed decision about which network to use.

So...are you telling us they're all crap, or is there one you can name that is less crap than the above named? Which one do you use?

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So...are you telling us they're all crap, or is there one you can name that is less crap than the above named? Which one do you use?

Put it this way, the service you recommend, giffgaff has been offering a worsening service since I joined 4 years ago.

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PAYG.....is for those that use a mobile phone very rarely, on the move or emergencies......thousands still do not have a signal at home or other places so how can they use a mobile, can't use it why pay for it? Skype is far better and much cheaper.....anyway loads of places have free WiFi where a padpod can be used......bog standard small flip phone with long battery life and tablet.

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Put it this way, the service you recommend, giffgaff has been offering a worsening service since I joined 4 years ago.

Certainly has. I don't know how they manage it, but 3G coverage actually seems to be getting worse.

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Certainly has. I don't know how they manage it, but 3G coverage actually seems to be getting worse.

Know people that can use giffgaff say it provides a good payg service, with online help....£10 pm lasts ages.....

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If there are insufficient funds in an account, and a DD bounces, a bank will charge you £10 for the service that they have not provided.

That's basically it. I stopped using DD about a decade ago after some horrendous problems with payees taking debits twice (culminating me in being stranded in London) and on one occasion setting direct debits back up and trying to taking money when I'd cancelled the mandate and nothing was owed, going so far as me closing my account and migrating to another bank after Nationwide refused to void the charges and receiving a summons when I refused to pay the charges. I challenged it and it was dropped. But if I hadn't used DD that couldn't have happened.

I see DD as a money making scheme for banks and won't participate, I think it too dangerous.

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Know people that can use giffgaff say it provides a good payg service, with online help....£10 pm lasts ages.....

Giffgaff here too. Top up a tenner and you get free calls and texts to other giffgaff users AND you keep your tenner.

Don't buy bags or whatever they're called.

The secret to a happy mobile phone is to not use it.

We all coped very well being out and aout without having the Internet up our noses all day long.

Mine gets hammered as a camera and a note taking machine.

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We're with the phone coop, very good prices and service (they piggyback on other networks). And its a co-operative i.e. user-owned and very transparent management and reporting.

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The secret to a happy mobile phone is to not use it.

We all coped very well being out and aout without having the Internet up our noses all day long.

Mine gets hammered as a camera and a note taking machine.

It's good though, that it can have such variation.

I'd never dream of using the camera on mine. I'd never take notes on it either. The thing mine gets most used for is messaging, email, and internet. It's my primary device for internet. Probably gets used to make a phone call half a dozen times a year if that.

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It's good though, that it can have such variation.

I'd never dream of using the camera on mine. I'd never take notes on it either. The thing mine gets most used for is messaging, email, and internet. It's my primary device for internet. Probably gets used to make a phone call half a dozen times a year if that.

I use it to look at the internet but not really interact with it. If I see something that I want to engage in, I think "I'll do that on the desktop". I actually think it's quicker to walk upstairs to my office room, type out a reply and go back downstairs again, than it is to try and type out a reply on the phone. I suppose if I used it more for that, I'd get quicker and better at it. I might type out a one or two line reply to an email if it's urgent, usually "I'll get back to you later".

I'd love to use it for notes, but the same applies. My old PDA had a little pencil type thing and you could "draw" them. Maybe I can talk to the phone and get it to take notes and type them up? (kids would know how) but then that has uncomfortable echoes of Alan Partridge and that Dictaphone.

It's mostly used for audio books. It's a bit more convenient than the laptop.

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I got my first mobile 'phone back in about 1997, when I was living in Italy. Walked into one of those (then-)newfangled mobile phone shops, walked out with a nice Nokia handset (fully paid) and a TIM[1] SIM card on PAYG. Two separate purchases, not one complex package. All was well.

Some time later I came back to Blighty, and looked to sign up with a network here. All was not well. Firstly, all the b***** networks wanted to sell a contract, and wouldn't give a SIM-only deal at the kind of price I'd been paying TIM. Secondly, because they insisted on giving a deal including a handset on credit, they needed to credit-check me. I had no credit history whatsoever in the UK (having been out of the country for many years), so no chance. YOUR WIFE IS A BIG HIPPO!

Finally sorted when I got a small-biz contract from Cellnet[2], who could at least cope with the idea that a newly-set-up company wouldn't have a credit history. Even so, they insisted on a £200 deposit and a guarantor with credit history (my dad).

[1] Telecom Italia Mobile.

[2] The network now known as O2.

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That's basically it. I stopped using DD about a decade ago after some horrendous problems with payees taking debits twice (culminating me in being stranded in London) and on one occasion setting direct debits back up and trying to taking money when I'd cancelled the mandate and nothing was owed, going so far as me closing my account and migrating to another bank after Nationwide refused to void the charges and receiving a summons when I refused to pay the charges. I challenged it and it was dropped. But if I hadn't used DD that couldn't have happened.

You've clearly has a bad experience, but in contrast I've used DDs for about 15 years, and never had a problem. I can't imagine the waste of time paying all that stuff manually. If you are really paranoid, as another poster has said, open up another account and put a limited amount of money into it.

I have a contract SIM with Vodafone for my burglar alarm - I thought PAYG was sensible, but it sends a large number of texts, so the cheapest contract SIM was better - £12 a month unlimited texts, 600 minutes and half a gig of data. Seems pretty good value compared to messing around with PAYG.

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That's basically it. I stopped using DD about a decade ago after some horrendous problems with payees taking debits twice (culminating me in being stranded in London) and on one occasion setting direct debits back up and trying to taking money when I'd cancelled the mandate and nothing was owed, going so far as me closing my account and migrating to another bank after Nationwide refused to void the charges and receiving a summons when I refused to pay the charges. I challenged it and it was dropped. But if I hadn't used DD that couldn't have happened.

I see DD as a money making scheme for banks and won't participate, I think it too dangerous.

I agree. My bank once took TWO mortgage payments within ten days. I wasn't in arrears. Total financial havoc. Now I pay by bank transfer. Easier now with computer banking.

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Put it this way, the service you recommend, giffgaff has been offering a worsening service since I joined 4 years ago.

I agree but take Vodafone. My friend has outages with hers that last days. And no offer of compensation. I think 3G is being sacrificed in favour of 4G.

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I use it to look at the internet but not really interact with it. If I see something that I want to engage in, I think "I'll do that on the desktop". I actually think it's quicker to walk upstairs to my office room, type out a reply and go back downstairs again, than it is to try and type out a reply on the phone. I suppose if I used it more for that, I'd get quicker and better at it. I might type out a one or two line reply to an email if it's urgent, usually "I'll get back to you later".

I'd love to use it for notes, but the same applies. My old PDA had a little pencil type thing and you could "draw" them. Maybe I can talk to the phone and get it to take notes and type them up? (kids would know how) but then that has uncomfortable echoes of Alan Partridge and that Dictaphone.

It's mostly used for audio books. It's a bit more convenient than the laptop.

Reading glasses means its too much of a faff to use my phone for the internet. And I get too much email to even consider doing it on a phone. All that gets done on the desktop. Even the ipad is only for games now really, and friends emails, wouldn't write anything on it for work.

the notes app means typing but a few words is all I usually need to remind me.

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