Latest Orange/EE News, October 2017.

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  1. Latest Orange/EE News, October 2017.

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    Ever since Orange and T-Mobile joined forces to become EE in the UK, there’s been no shortage of confusion around exactly what the relationship between Orange and EE actually is. Well, let’s clear it up.

    Since the 1st of April 2010, Orange and T-Mobile ceased to be, instead becoming Everything Everywhere, later EE. Though both brands continued to operate for existing customers for a number of years, they were gone in the publics eye and, for those changing their contracts, Orange branding and customer support disappeared.

    Today, all Orange customers are EE customers, so if you’re looking for the latest Orange news, you’re actually looking for the latest EE news. Luckily, we’re here to roundup all the latest stories from the company, as of October 2017. Let’s get going.

    EE Helikite Balloon Delivered 4G Data to Rural Event

    EE are understandably keen on getting strong 4G signal to as many places as possible across the UK, but it’s not always possible to build cell mast in rural areas. Now, the world’s first commercial Helikite “air mast” has taken flight over rural Wales in order to bring signal to hundreds of people at a sporting event.

    The air mast is designed to provide temporary data coverage for remote but densely populated events, like you’d find at music festivals. The inaugural Helikite test came 300 feet above a Red Bull mountain biking event in Machynlleth in Snowdonia Natiaonl Park. The balloon saw download speeds at the event hit 175Mbps, with uploads at 45Mbps – perfect for uploading clips from the event.

    EE suggest that the balloon can be completely inflated and functional within 50 minutes, and can stay airborne for weeks at a time.

    UK’s Fastest 4G Wi-Fi Device Launches from EE

    When it comes to 4G Wi-Fi devices, there’s not a great deal of choice available for consumers, but things are getting better. Case in point? EE’s new Netgear Nighthawk M1, which the company claim is the “fastest 4G Wi-Fi device” in the country.

    The device is now available online or in stores and can hit Cat 16 speeds. In their own testing, the device hit 429Mbps downloads in Wales, where their latest mast technology is active. Up to 20 devices at a time can connect to the Nighthawk M1 and the device can be used portably or at home, making it an ideal all-round Wi-Fi option.

    EE Apologises for Voice Outage

    Our phones might be for more than talking on these days, but that doesn’t mean we don’t notice when we lose the ability to call.

    On the 10th of October, voice services for countless customers went down across the country, leading to a spate of customers seeking the Orange contact number to solve their issue. Now, EE have said that the issue is resolved.

    “Some of our customers are reporting problems when trying to make calls to some numbers this morning,” the firm said in a statement.

    “All data and messaging services are working as normal. We’re working to fix this as quickly as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

  2. EE Announces Bold New Home Broadband Solution

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    When it comes to your home broadband, there’s no shortage of ways you can get yourself hooked up. From major broadband suppliers like BT, Virgin and Sky to smaller players like TalkTalk, Plusnet and others, there are literally dozens of options available.

    However, when it comes to home broadband, the UK’s major mobile networks haven’t been as active as they might have been.

    Typically, the likes of Three, EE, Vodafone and EE have focussed on mobile broadband solutions for travelling, rather than the home market. It hasn’t always been that way though. BT were one of the pioneers in mobile broadband and even made waves in the home broadband market, offering a range of packages through the Orange contact details.

    Now, the company Orange became (EE) have launched a new home broadband solution to the market, but it comes with a twist.

    Rather than using fibre or copper connections under the ground like you might get with a typical home broadband package, EE’s new 4GEE router utilises the same SIM technology as your smartphone or tablet, broadcasting that signal out to your entire home.

    The company claim that the router is capable of hitting download speeds of 90Mb/s – a number that’s higher than most company’s broadband offerings – with local connectivity provided by a built-in 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi radio. Whilst that means you’ll be able to connect any WiFi device to the router, the system does have its downsides.

    Much like a smartphone, the connection your router receives will be heavily affected by its location in your home and nearby radiofrequency interference, which could mean your speeds take a tumble. The system, therefore, won’t be suitable for people who suffer from poor 4G signal whilst within their home, but it may well be ideal for those who can’t get a regular broadband hook up.

    One major flaw with EE’s new broadband offering though is just how expensive it is. Rather than pricing the service like a typical broadband offering, they’re pricing it based on how much data a customer will use.

    Accordingly, EE have confirmed that the base-level subscription starts at a minimum of £25 a month for 10GB, rising to £50 for 50GB, £75 for 100GB, and maxing out at £100 for 200GB. Mercifully though, the 4GEE Router is provided free of charge at all subscription levels.

    The router is also available to purchase outright for £129.99 and can be used by buying blocks of data transfer allowance starting with a bundled 10GB.

    Those prices make 4GEE broadband a much more expensive option than competing home broadband solutions and a less than ideal everyday solution for most. It is, however, a fine option for those temporarily without internet access or those with very poor traditional broadband access. To that end, EE are promising that their coverage of the UK will extend to 95% by 2020 for 4G+ coverage, though it currently sits at around 80%.


  3. Everything you Need to Know About Orange

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    It’s fair to say that Orange is one of the most revolutionary companies ever to grace the British Isles. Coming at a time when mobile telecommunications were niche, geeky and uncool, Orange flipped the status quo on its head and made mobile achingly cool. Today, Orange is part of EE, which was recently purchased by BT, but what is the history of Orange? What services do they still operate, and how can you get in touch with them? Read on to find out.

    Where did Orange come from?

    The history of Orange begins in 1990, with the foundation of Microtel Communications Ltd. It was a consortium formed by the Pactel Corporation, British Aerospace, Millicom and Matra. In these earliest days, each founding partner contributed expertise and technology, however, a takeover was on the horizon.

    British Aerospace (BAe) announced in late 1990 that they had secured 100% of Microtel, but it wouldn’t last for long. Hutchison Whampoa (who presently own Three) completed a stock exchange deal which saw them take a controlling stake of 65% in the company, with BAe getting a 30% share of Hutchison Telecommunications UK Ltd.

    Now long since removed from its founding partners, it was time for a rebrand. Microtel sounded like a hardware company, not a new vanguard on communication. By this stage, the company had won a license to develop a personal communications network in the UK.

    The branding was tasked to an internal team at Microtel headed by Chris Moss and supported by Martin Keogh, Rob Furness and Ian Pond. It was these four men who came up with the name Orange, a bold and innovative bit of branding which would set the tone for mobile networks right up to the present day.

    Brand consultancy firm Wolff Olins were takes with creating the brand values and logo, whilst ad agency WCRS created that iconic Orange slogan – “The future’s bright, the future’s Orange”. Finally, the company had its identity, and launched in the UK on the 28th of April, 1994.

    By April 1996, the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange, where it became the youngest company every to enter the FTSE 100, valued at an astonishing £2.4 billion. Less than one year later, the company had over a million UK customers.

    What would follow was a series of takeovers. The first was a $33 billion takeover by German conglomerate Mannesmann AG in October 1999, before Vodafone made a hostile takeover for the firm. Vodafone purchased Mannesmann for $183 billion, but had to sell Orange as part of EU law regarding only holding one mobile license. Orange would be purchased by France Telecom in August 2000 for the sum of $37 billion.

    In 2009, it was announced that Orange (at this point the biggest mobile network in the UK) would merge with its nearest competitor, T-Mobile. The deal was finalised in April 2010 and both companies soon ceased to trade independently, becoming EE.

    Today, EE is part of BT’s portfolio and remains by some distance the largest mobile operator in the UK.

    Can you still move to an Orange plan?

    If you’re not currently on a legacy Orange contract, there is no way to move to an Orange plan. EE phased out the old Orange and T-Mobile plans for a simplified structure of just their own contracts.

    Have EE changed any Orange plans?

    By and large, the answer is no. However, there are a handful of nice changes that EE have made to the service. They include making all calls to numbers starting 116, 0800 and 0808 free to customers on consumer (non-business) plans, and bringing the pricing structures for calling numbers beginning with 08 and 09, 188 and numbers beginning with 07 in line with EE’s current pricing structures.

    How can I contact Orange?

    Orange are available to contact via the Orange contact number listed on this website. Their customer service team is now part of EE’s, so you’ll more than likely be put through to a member of the EE customer service department. Don’t worry though, because EE’s team can handle all of your Orange questions.

    Will my Orange iPad tariff stop working?

    If you signed up to an Orange iPad tariff, then the good news is that EE have signalled that these won’t be shut down any time soon. We would, however, recommend shopping around for a better deal. The old Orange tariffs haven’t been updated in some time and offer a comparatively small amount of data for the money you’re paying.


  4. A History of Orange, before EE

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    Today, we remember Orange as one of the true pioneers of the early mobile telecommunication era. From their inception to their ingenuous branding, the company not only helped us communicate on the go, but advance advertising in huge ways too.

    Here in the UK, the brand has been retired following a number of years slow integration with the EE brand, but that doesn’t mean we can forget all about its long and lustrous history. So, in this guide, we’re going to share with you the fantastic story which has brought Orange into the present day.

    Orange before Orange

    The company we now recognise as Orange began life right here in the UK under the name Microtel Communicatons Ltd. The year was 1990, and as a consortium formed by American owned Pactel Corporation, British Aerospace, Millicom and French company Mantra, MCL was a multinational and multilingual affair from the very start. However, that wasn’t to last for long.

    British Aerospace, spotting the potential in the space, moved quickly to buy out their partners in the enterprise, taking control of the young company, though retaining the Microtel name.

    In July 1991, Hutchison Whampoa (the current owners of Three) agreed a stock swap deal with BAe. As part of that deal, Whampoa would take a controlling stake (65%) in Microtel Communications. At this stage, Microtel had won a license to develop a ‘personal communications network’ in the UK, one of the very first dished out to a company.

    Birth of a Brand

    It was around this time that Orange set to work creating their revolutionary branding. Bold, innovative and entirely new, Microtel settled on the name Orange for their consumer facing business. In an era when telecommunications branding would never dream of being so opaque, Orange lit a path that has since been followed by the likes of O2, EE, Three and many more.

    This new branding was created by an internal team within Microtel, headed by then marketing director Chris Moss, with support from Martin Keogh, Rob Furness and Ian Pond. Wolff Olins were tasked with designing the brand values and logo, whilst WCRS worked on that incredible, iconic slogan – The Future’s Bright, the Futures Orange.

    Launch day

    On the 28th of April, 1994, Orange launched an 1800MHz GSM network in the UK, alongside a nationwide advertising campaign which teased the brand. Growth was explosive, and by 1995 a holding company had been established under the name Orange plc, ending all trace of the Microtel brand and ending a great deal of confusion on Orange customer services.

    Floated and sold

    By April 1996 the company was considered large enough to float on the London Stock Exchange. Following the float, the company was majority owned by Whampoa (48.22%), with a smaller amount owned by BAe (21.1%). However, such was the demand for shares in the young company that Orange became the youngest ever company to enter the FTSE 100, valued at £2.4 billion in July 1996.

    October 1999 would see the company purchased by German conglomerate Mannesmann AG for $33 billion, shortly before Mannessman was bought by Vodafone for $183 billion in February 2000. Vodafone, however, could not hold two mobile licenses, so sold Orange to France Telecom for £37 billion, a transaction completed in 2000. It would remain in the hands of France Telecom for a decade before the merger with T-Mobile.