Mobile Network

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Orange was formed in 1994 for Hutchison Telecom‘s UK mobile phone network before being bought by Mannesmann AG in 1999. It was then sold to France Télécom in May 2000. It is the eighth largest telecoms provider in the world, with over 189 million worldwide customers and about 17 million UK customers as of 2009. Its annual revenue is about £4.5 million.

In the UK, Orange GPRS, EDGE and 3G services and is in the process of rolling out a HSDPA network. Orange’s 2G network covers 99% of the UK and, in 2008, Orange was spending up to £1.5 million per day investing in its network. In 2009, Orange UK decided to outsource its mobile network and Nokia Siemens Networks was chosen to manage, plan, expand, and maintain the Orange mobile network until 2014.

In 2009, Orange and T-Mobile announced a proposed merger and by March 2010, the European Commission had approved the merger with the new parent company being called “Everything Everywhere”. Both the Orange and T-Mobile brands were retained while the company is now the UK’s largest mobile operator with 37% of the market. It also acts as the backbone infrastructure for the first ever virtual network, Virgin Mobile.

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Orange review

Orange offer a broad range of price plans on PAYG which mean it’s possible to tailor your tariffs to your particular needs, resulting in great value for money. The variety of plans is better than any other network, however, it does make choosing the optimal option very confusing. In fact, customers are almost given too much choice and may find it hard to pick the correct tariff. However, with some careful calculations, you should be able to pick something that will save you cash.

They are frequently rated as having some of the best customer service although some people have reported having problems with them. Also, despite the range of PAYG price plan options, they are still more expensive than many virtual networks. Although one thing going for Orange is the amazing Orange Wednesdays deal – every Wednesday, Orange customers can get 2 for 1 cinema tickets or 2 for 1 pizzas. You can’t complain about that.

Now that they have merged with T-Mobile they have one of the best 2G networks in the country so you are unlikely to experience any signal problems. At 93% of the UK, their 3G coverage is also fantastic so you should always be able to get the fastest speeds.

To conclude, they have great network coverage and the tempting Orange Wednesdays offers. However, the PAYG price plans can be a little confusing and they are still more expensive than other virtual networks. To learn more, please check out the Orange website or order a free Orange SIM with £10 bonus credit today.

PAYG Pricing

At a glance

Calls: 25pTexts: 12p Data: £2/day (25MB)MMS: 40p0800: 25p0870: 40p


Orange charge 20p/minute for calls and 10p per text which situates them firmly in standard pricepoint territory. (As of 1st July 2011, Orange massively hiked its PAYG tariff prices to 25p/minute for calls and 12p for each text making them one of the most expensive networks in the UK). Data is quite expensive at £2/day with a limit of 25MB a day but there are options to get cheaper data if you need it. Unfortunately, they charge for 0800 calls and sending MMS messages and calling 0870 numbers is very expensive.


What makes Orange different is their various animal offers. While they are so many options it can seem complicated, you’ll probably find something that fits the way you use your phone.

The Racoon is great for those who just want a simple plan with low-cost calls. Calls and texts are set at a standard rate of 12p with no minimum top-up although, of course, better deals can be had as standard from virtual networks and it’s worth remembering that texts are usually only 12p on other Orange plans.

For high-volume texters, the Monkey plan is best as it gives free texts with every top-up – you get 300 texts for a £10 credit and 1000 texts for a £30 credit. You also get free music included in this deal as long as you top-up at least £5 although it is only music provided by Orange. You also get a 2MB daily data allowance and can get unlimited texts for a month with a £5 bundle.

Even better is the Dolphin plan which also gives you text bonuses when you top-up but, in addition, allows free data usage up to 100MB/month. Although this is only about 3MB a day, this is great value because for a £10 top-up you get 300 texts as well free internet. The unlimited texts bundle for £5 is also available on Dolphin.

Canary gives you free minutes and texts or MMS. For a £10 credit you get 100 of each while topping up £30 will give you 300 minutes and 300 texts or photo messages. If you send a lot of MMS, this can be a great money saver although do bear in mind that the minutes can only be used at evenings and weekends.

The last option is Camel which gives you free international calling minutes to over 50 foreign countries when you top up by £10 or more. However, the normal international rates aren’t particularly cheap when you aren’t using your included minutes.

Orange also offers bundles of minutes for a cut price – for example the 100 minute bundle lasts a month and costs only £5 which makes calls just 5p/minute. Or they let you buy 250MB of data for £5 which is only 2p/MB and lasts a month.

Finally, the Magic Numbers PAYG deal allows you to chat to three specific Orange numbers for an hour and pay only for one minute.

Price comparison

To compare Orange’s latest pricing with that of other networks, check out our price comparison table.



2G coverage: 99%3G coverage: 93%4G coverage: 97%

Coverage map

Please see the our Orange coverage page to learn the network coverage in your area. For more information, compare it with other mobile phone networks’ coverage.


Give your own rating to Orange below:

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.6/5 (66 votes cast)
Orange, 3.6 out of 5 based on 66 ratings
by Jon M

35 Responses to “Orange”

  1. martin mccallum 11 June 2015 at 10:15 Permalink

    Yesterday I was connected with an orange by phone . The orange staff member was very helpful he helped me with a SIM swap after it was all sorted I was cut off due to my signal area. Rahid I think his name was. Am pleased with the service.

  2. Andy Tanner 30 October 2014 at 00:53 Permalink

    When Orange started they were new and there customer service was great, they were the first company I had a mobile phone with and they have had my business almost since they started. That’s about 20 years.

    Over the past few years the quality of the customer service has got worse and worse, and know despite my history I am moving on. Why you ask?

    Well the gratuitous overcharging for extra minutes is simply beyond belief. I call up to complain and get an Indian call centre person (who I am sure is lovely, but struggles with English as a language) get transferred to Barclaycard Technical Support – who strangely can’t help me. Call back again and they put me through to billing who agree to help and then cut me off. They don’t call back even thought they know who I am and have my number. Just couldn’t face another 20 minutes on hold being told how they didn’t expect many people to call them today despite lots of people calling them every other day……hmmmm

    Next step – fill in an official complaint on their website and a complaint with OFCOM and you think that might elicit a response – no not a bit of it – glorious silence. Just waiting the 7 days so I can complain to the complaints service approved by OFGEM.

    Such a shame that a good business is being destroyed from within by greed and stupidity. Poor customer service and excessive charges don’t engender repeat business.

    Thinking of going with EE. My advice – really don’t you will spend half your life listening to recordings saying they are experiencing higher than usual call volumes. Hmmm – It is not unusual when it happens all the time chaps.

    Think you wont need to call them – Oh guess again. They have randomly cut my broadband off and then refused to reconnect it for 14 days (for fictitious regulatory reasons) until I threatened to doorstep their CEO when suddenly it wasn’t a problem any more. They shut down datacentre equipment with no notice and have taken to frequently and periodically shutting of my broadband at the exchange meaning I have to reboot the router several times a day.

    Orange – reading this? You know my number – try calling it. I won’t even make you wait 20 minutes before I pick up.

  3. Lukeman 3 October 2014 at 10:42 Permalink

    I’ve been with orange for more than 5 years. Had no problems until EE come in to the seen. Now they have become the worst net work ever…….. Customer service keeps on hold more than half an hour……still nobody answers the phone. Can’t wait to leave the worst network.

  4. tom 21 April 2014 at 23:03 Permalink

    Orange what an absolute joke. Samsung galaxy s4, £45 pounds a month which is practically stealing anyway but i dont mind. But to top it off im stuck with a phone which does not work for over two months because no one will help me. Under warranty and a manufacturing fault with the product. No SIM error, common issue with the phone.

    Go into store, “please phone our number as we are all useless and cannot help” phone number “please send phone to be repaired, will be back to you in 2 weeks”

    1 month later, receive STILL BROKEN UNTOUCHED phone. Phone up “oh sorry we tried repair and it didnt work, therefor it is no longer our liability, its Samsungs problem please contact them” – even though under the set product laws stating that who ever sells you the product takes the responsibility in ensuring that product works – OK apparently Orange contract voids laws now?

    so i go back into store “oh sorry we can send it off again, we get three tries to repair the phone before we actually do anything” so that is 3 months worth of £45 bills i have to pay before anything happenes with my phone. I am an electrical engineer, its a £6 repair for a new SIM holder. Also, if you provide the phone it is your responsibility, (As much as the manager in the shop was sure) you do not just provide the sim and service and it is not my responsibility to magic a phone up so i can carry on using your service. YOU PROVIDED THE PHONE YOU SORT IT OUT. Id also like my 2 months of not having your service refunded?

    Very close to cutting off my direct debit and letting you try and stand this case up in a court. Thanks

  5. Eric Beech 6 March 2014 at 21:18 Permalink

    I can’t help but recommend the Orange EE network, for a start its nearly 3 times what I am paying my current provider (ASDA) for phone and internet plus with the added bonus of charging me £38 to cancel my plan. That’s got to be a real PR coup for Orange, lose, lose.

  6. pace 2 January 2014 at 06:14 Permalink

    I used t love this network but since their merger with T-mobile they have been nothing but pain. I used to have very good reception at my house suddenly reception has gone from bad to worse apparently they decided to turn off some mast. I complained they send me a long letter with no solution. Avoid them like a plague.

  7. Mhairi 29 December 2013 at 14:50 Permalink

    Absolutely terrible customer service. Remember to add £1.75 to every month of your contract for a paper bill whether you want one or not, even if you call to have them cancelled. Expect to not get any help when things go wrong but be repeatedly palmed off and probably also robbed of more money. Expect to consistently go over your internet allowance even though their system should allow you to track this, and even if you deliberately don’t use the internet for a month. Expect ignorance and minimum of a half hour wait on the phone. Expect constant contradictory information. Expect phones that don’t work and to pay insurance that won’t cover anything. Expect stress torture and robbery.

  8. Luk Udave 2 December 2013 at 12:41 Permalink

    Nowadays perhaps the rudest, most unhelpful and generally most incompetent company I have ever encountered. Since the EE merger their customer service has reached rock bottom. Not only that, they are turning off masts right, left and centre – but hey, who wants signal when you can pay them for …. nothing?
    AVOID at all costs.

  9. Haitham Mogherbi 18 October 2012 at 12:57 Permalink

    Orange not the best network

  10. Haitham Mogherbi 18 October 2012 at 12:55 Permalink

    Joined as a PAYG (pay as you go) customer. Sales associate at the Arndale store hurriedly sold me a $30 SIM card. And went on to speak to other waiting customers without me even getting a chance to understand how mobile plans are chosen in the UK (I’m from USA). Lost $27 pounds within 3 hours of joining Orange since I didn’t know I had to personally pick my animal package, I thought the dude already did that for me at the store, like we do in the US. Paid 25p to call customer service, 25 min call, was told I’d get called back within 30 min (she’s in India). Yea right. I called back a week later, still waiting on my 30 min call back (lol what a joke, maybe the lines in India are tied up), and paid another 25p and still didnt get my pounds back (lol the process felt less like pounds and more like heavy kilos on my back and on my head, what a headache). To me, that was a no brainer option to drop them on pronciple, their data is mediocre and lacklustre at best. Orange= a whole lot of grey. RUN LIKE ITS A NATURAL DISASTER LOL

    • Mobile Network Comparison 18 October 2012 at 13:02 Permalink

      Sorry to hear about your experience. Who do you use now?

      • Haitham Mogherbi 18 October 2012 at 16:28 Permalink

        Im still with orange until the 2nd of next month. After that I’m looking to move to giffgaff or 3. I’ve ordered a sim from both but still have not chosen the one. I guess I was more infuriated at how they handled my customer service call, which I paid 25pence to make. It’s unheard of in the USA to pay to speak to customer service. I’ve had to tweet about to all my friends back home and Facebook got a kick out of my experience. A lot of my friends back in the states travel a lot, so hopefully this served as a warning to an expat coming here. Then again mine just might be an anamoly of an experience and I’m that 0.0000000001% that experienced this lol! Yea right!

        • Haitham Mogherbi 18 October 2012 at 16:40 Permalink

          I’ve decided to milk my “unlimited” limited data package. Arndale associate, while assuredly smiling, told me I’m getting unlimited data: by “Unlimited data” he meant “200MB” daily cap and a total cap of 1GB! Ha! Had to find this out after reading the fine print when I got home! So much for no limits! Lol. This is amazing there has not been a class action lawsuit against this “bait & switch” tactic. It’s sooooo illegal in the US. But whatever, money comes and goes, annoyed customers, however, always go and seldom come back.
          Also: I tried to set up my account as soon as I bought the sim an hour after I got home without using the sim, and the website was down! Lol this was around Oct2nd when the website was down for almost two days. So I used my SIM card thinkin the “gentleman” associate at the Orange Arndale store had set me up; he said to me after paying “you’re all set up, cheers!” I recorded him on my iPhone! Lol if anyone wants to see, let me know, I’ll set up a YouTube link. Lol. This is absolutely absurd! Whatever! Best wishes to you all.

        • Mobile Network Comparison 18 October 2012 at 16:50 Permalink

          That is strange you were charged for customer service. The only company we’ve heard of doing this is ASDA (owned by Wal-Mart) which is very much a budget brand. When we’ve dealt with Orange in the past we’ve always used a freephone 0800 number. Perhaps you could use this next time?

          How are you going to decide between Giffgaff and 3? Also, if we were to start a service posting PAYG SIMs to people about to travel to the UK do you think your friends might be interested?

          • Haitham Mogherbi 18 October 2012 at 16:54 Permalink

            I think advertising in airports internationally for SIM cards is a great idea, get the customer before they land. I would have liked avoidin using AT&T sim when I got here ( had to call family from Heathrow 20 times, missed connecting flight to Manchester). Would have been great to buy a sim at Heathrow

  11. Stevie 9 August 2012 at 22:27 Permalink

    I have been with Orange since they started, and have kept the same number, I have 150 free mins to mobile or land-line, 500 free texts and 500 mb of internet all for £7-00 per month, happy with that..and 6 magic numbers who you can call for Free and talk upto an hour, I would not dream of changing my tarriff.

    • Teecee 27 June 2014 at 17:21 Permalink

      Like you I was with Orange from the start and on the same plan with 17 years trouble free service, but when you encounter problems as you almost certainly will, get ready to leave ASAP – just a friendly warning!

  12. oli 6 July 2012 at 15:31 Permalink

    NEVER had a problem with the customer service, but the pricing is too complicated and MUCH to expensive for my usage

    Just left Orange after 10year plus

  13. Anthony 12 February 2012 at 20:26 Permalink

    I think at the end of the day it depends on your individual usage patterns. I’ve been with Orange since 1994, still have the same number and yes have had some occasional issues over the years but wouldn’t change as they give me everything I need. I have unusual calling patterns, 95% of my calls are to International numbers and for that reason their Camel package suits me fine, £30 gets me 4 hours free every month, if I go over that I can buy 40 minutes for £5. They support Blackberry and an extra £5 and I’ve got 100 UK minutes. I could get slightly less per minute rates with Lebara, in fact I did try using them and quite frankly their call quality was awful so I binned them, Lyca mobile were even worse. As I spend time out of the country, I’m not tied to a contract and my number and credit remains intact. My only bugbear is that PAYG Customer Service is always Indian based, however over the years I’ve worked out how to bypass that and get their Darlington call centre instead, sometimes they will try and transfer me again but the fact I still have an original number from when they first started usually does the trick. Like I said it depends on your individual needs but I wouldn’t change unless they suddenly did something rediculous to their present pricing structure.

  14. katy 18 January 2012 at 14:22 Permalink

    Another awful customer service experience with this crappy network. Been waiting on a replacement SIM for over a week meaning I’ve been without my phone all that time. They said it would only take 2-3 days so when I called up to ask where it is I spoke to no fewer than 5 people. I was transferred to the wrong department twice and, it gets better, one of them incorrectly told their colleague to block my phone!

    Once I got that fixed and found someone who could see that my SIM order was processed they cut me off before I could find out why it hadn’t got to me yet!

    • Sony 18 January 2012 at 22:47 Permalink

      Hello Katy,
      I just noticed you didn’t mention the network you are referring to. Please let us know so we don’t fall into their traps.


  15. Jon 10 January 2012 at 22:11 Permalink

    Orange customer service is a complete joke. My handset was faulty so called up on Friday to order a replacement. They promised to call back to arrange delivery on Sunday.

    No call was forthcoming on Sunday so I called back on Monday evening and booked a delivery between 6pm and 10pm the next day. On the Tuesday I did the one hour drive back from London to be at home for the delivery. By 9:50pm it still hadn’t arrived so I called up to check it was still coming.

    They said that the delivery had never actually been booked! They lied to me but never actually put it in the system. Even worse, when I was on hold to book a new delivery for the next day (Wednesday by this point), they cut me off.

    When I rang back to try and finish off the booking they said that the call centre was now closed! Now the earliest I’ll be able to book for is Thursday. That’s almost a week without my phone because of their incompetence. Even worse, the on-hold music is broken so it sounds painfully distorted.

    Don’t use this disgraceful company – getting anything sorted out will cost you your sanity.

  16. katrina 4 December 2011 at 22:02 Permalink

    I am on Orange no-frills racoon tariff and only pay 12p/min on calls. Your comparison chart and review does not mention this so does not seem comprehensive or accurate.

    • Mobile Network Comparison 4 December 2011 at 22:13 Permalink

      We currently only list the “normal” PAYG tariffs rather than any special offers but will look into including all of Orange’s “animal plans” in the future for the same of completeness. In any case, the Racoon deal isn’t anywhere near the cheapest for calls and texts are very expensive at 12p each. Worst of all, mobile internet is charged at a massive £80/20MB as opposed to 20p/MB on Giffgaff (for example).

      • Sony 27 December 2011 at 17:35 Permalink

        I am so angry with my self for entering into a contract with Orange. I regret not going through reviews like this before jumping into their boat of hidden charges. Now they have sent me a text saying they are increasing the price of my monthly plan by 4.34% on the 1St Feb. 2012. I have never enjoyed using their network and when you call their customer services to complain, you get even more frustrated as if this is their main objective…to make the life of customers miserable.
        Although I have not decided on what to do yet, I am certain that I want out of the contract which they have already bridge by increasing the original price I agreed to.

    • mahim ghoshall 13 January 2012 at 13:41 Permalink

      your comment reminds me of when i first got my orange pay as you go where i got 50 minutes of calls for £10 per month no frills or nothing those were the days things seem to have got complicated over time lol

  17. Scott 25 October 2011 at 15:52 Permalink

    Absolutely shocking company to deal with. I’m in Aberdeen and I don’t get a signal anywhere on my HTC Desire. Customer service is always a disappointment and I’m at the stage now where I’m buying myself out of contract 7 months early to transfer to giffgaff. The O2 network has always been excellent whereever I’ve been and I look forward to the customers being in charge and not some dim-witted “customer service” part time student!!

  18. Gary 21 July 2011 at 23:42 Permalink

    Orange have some of the worst levels of customer provision out of any company i’ve ever dealt with. Poor network service, unclear pricing structures, hidden charges, call centres leaving you on hold for up to 20 minutes at a time – and then you’re treated to their untrained technical staff, and their rude & unhelpful ‘customer service’ teams.
    If you’re considering purchasing any Orange mobile or broadband deal – DON’T. Trust me, you will regret it. None of the mobile operators are perfect, and its often a case of just picking the ‘least worst’… Orange however, take appalling service to a whole new level.

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