Orange network a bit of a lemon as Portland residents lose phone signals

TRYING TO GET CONNECTED: Sarah Whiteside, centre, and Mark Jackson, right, join other residents in protesting against a lack of signal

TRYING TO GET CONNECTED: Sarah Whiteside, centre, and Mark Jackson, right, join other residents in protesting against a lack of signal

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Trainee Reporter

Business owners on Portland are signalling their discontent after losing network coverage without warning.

Users of the Orange phone network in Fortuneswell claim they have struggled to make or receive calls in the past eight weeks and have been left feeling like lemons.

Jo Jackson, who co-owns Jacksons Gallery and SeventySeven B&B with her husband Mark, said they weren’t given any advanced notice.

The lack of coverage has led to them missing out on business, including potential B&B guests.

She said: “A man who was trying to pay his deposit couldn’t pay his deposit.

“It was a sailing event.

“He was quite worried, so he booked somewhere else.

“I lost £150 and that was just his deposit.

“He was going to be staying for quite a while.”

Sarah Whiteside, who owns Frank Designs, said the lack of coverage has affected the High Street as well.

She said: “Initially we all assumed it was a temporary problem because there have been issues in the past with network providers.

“Obviously you have to be away from where you are to even call Orange in the first place because you can’t call them up from here.”

After getting through to technical support, Sarah claimed she was told EE, which provides the Orange network, were undertaking an ‘optimising project’ to boost the signal.

Whilst this has taken place, Sarah has struggled to conduct business.

Sarah said: “I do my email, telephone calling, and messaging and my clients can’t contact me.

“I can’t contact them.

“I can’t place orders.”

Sarah said she was offered a booster box – designed to increase network coverage – but she didn’t have a landline to plug it into. She said: “I haven’t needed a landline because I have had a mobile phone contact.”

Sarah has since been able to cancel her contract after negotiating with the company on the phone.

Sarah said: “I told them they are not providing me with a service and I did tell them I’d go to Ofcom if they didn’t let me out of my contract.”

When asked for comment, a spokesman for EE said: “We are aware that some customers have reported problems with signal in the Portland area, and are investigating as a matter of urgency.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

Comments (22)

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10:48am Fri 13 Jun 14

nuber says...

It's not just there, it seems to be everywhere! I've found Orange/EE signal is getting worse and worse, I'm just about to cancel my contract as they are in breach for not providing me with service.
It's not just there, it seems to be everywhere! I've found Orange/EE signal is getting worse and worse, I'm just about to cancel my contract as they are in breach for not providing me with service. nuber
  • Score: 8

12:01pm Fri 13 Jun 14

IslandJim1 says...

If your running a business you should have a land line as well as a mobile...just saying.
If your running a business you should have a land line as well as a mobile...just saying. IslandJim1
  • Score: 10

1:41pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Bollard says...

Really disappointed that the Echo didn't manage to get a ' The future's not bright' pun into this story.
Really disappointed that the Echo didn't manage to get a ' The future's not bright' pun into this story. Bollard
  • Score: 1

2:39pm Fri 13 Jun 14

JackJohnson says...

Personally I think EE have a damned cheek to call themselves 'Everything Everywhere'. From my experience in North Dorset they should be called HAA (for 'Hardly Anything Anywhere'). Their performance up here is worthy of investigation by Trading Standards for misrepresentation,
Personally I think EE have a damned cheek to call themselves 'Everything Everywhere'. From my experience in North Dorset they should be called HAA (for 'Hardly Anything Anywhere'). Their performance up here is worthy of investigation by Trading Standards for misrepresentation, JackJohnson
  • Score: 3

2:47pm Fri 13 Jun 14

JackJohnson says...

IslandJim1 wrote:
If your running a business you should have a land line as well as a mobile...just saying.
If I'm buying goods or services worth more than I feel comfortable losing I won't deal with a trader who only publishes a mobile number.
[quote][p][bold]IslandJim1[/bold] wrote: If your running a business you should have a land line as well as a mobile...just saying.[/p][/quote]If I'm buying goods or services worth more than I feel comfortable losing I won't deal with a trader who only publishes a mobile number. JackJohnson
  • Score: 10

2:54pm Fri 13 Jun 14

John New says...

Far worse in Fortuneswell area since Orange became EE. Regular periods of no-signal.
Far worse in Fortuneswell area since Orange became EE. Regular periods of no-signal. John New
  • Score: 3

3:29pm Fri 13 Jun 14

joe00 says...

when i phoned EE about coverage i was told it was poor because i lived to close to the sea
when i phoned EE about coverage i was told it was poor because i lived to close to the sea joe00
  • Score: 3

3:47pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Get a grip says...

JackJohnson wrote:
IslandJim1 wrote: If your running a business you should have a land line as well as a mobile...just saying.
If I'm buying goods or services worth more than I feel comfortable losing I won't deal with a trader who only publishes a mobile number.
Mind you ever so called landlines are not waht they seem to be anymore.
[quote][p][bold]JackJohnson[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]IslandJim1[/bold] wrote: If your running a business you should have a land line as well as a mobile...just saying.[/p][/quote]If I'm buying goods or services worth more than I feel comfortable losing I won't deal with a trader who only publishes a mobile number.[/p][/quote]Mind you ever so called landlines are not waht they seem to be anymore. Get a grip
  • Score: -4

7:57pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Under35andout says...

“I lost £150 and that was just his deposit.

you give it back anyway its a deposit
there is always EMAIL you can do everything with email ,you really trust a mobile phone to book your holiday then your more of a idiot than these lemons standing around with dead out phones , anyone heard of running a buisness before you give out land lines and emails , is it so hard to confirm a booking VIA EMAIL sorry i must be a thicko
“I lost £150 and that was just his deposit. you give it back anyway its a deposit there is always EMAIL you can do everything with email ,you really trust a mobile phone to book your holiday then your more of a idiot than these lemons standing around with dead out phones , anyone heard of running a buisness before you give out land lines and emails , is it so hard to confirm a booking VIA EMAIL sorry i must be a thicko Under35andout
  • Score: -6

9:04pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Rocksalt says...

Amused by the number of small business experts here commenting on what equipment these small business owners should have. Perhaps they would care to enlighten us with details of the small retail businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell recently,Or the research they have conducted into how different customer groups like to communicate. For example, given the likely target group!, I don't think that most of Frank Design's customers give a **** about whether or not a business has a landline.
Amused by the number of small business experts here commenting on what equipment these small business owners should have. Perhaps they would care to enlighten us with details of the small retail businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell recently,Or the research they have conducted into how different customer groups like to communicate. For example, given the likely target group!, I don't think that most of Frank Design's customers give a **** about whether or not a business has a landline. Rocksalt
  • Score: -2

9:08pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Rocksalt says...

Under35andout wrote:
“I lost £150 and that was just his deposit.

you give it back anyway its a deposit
there is always EMAIL you can do everything with email ,you really trust a mobile phone to book your holiday then your more of a idiot than these lemons standing around with dead out phones , anyone heard of running a buisness before you give out land lines and emails , is it so hard to confirm a booking VIA EMAIL sorry i must be a thicko
If you are prepared to give credit card details in an e-mail then you need to think very carefully before calling other people idiots.
[quote][p][bold]Under35andout[/bold] wrote: “I lost £150 and that was just his deposit. you give it back anyway its a deposit there is always EMAIL you can do everything with email ,you really trust a mobile phone to book your holiday then your more of a idiot than these lemons standing around with dead out phones , anyone heard of running a buisness before you give out land lines and emails , is it so hard to confirm a booking VIA EMAIL sorry i must be a thicko[/p][/quote]If you are prepared to give credit card details in an e-mail then you need to think very carefully before calling other people idiots. Rocksalt
  • Score: 9

9:58pm Fri 13 Jun 14

katzeye299 says...

went into Weymouth EE shop 2 months ago to ask what was wrong with signal was told problems with mast which was going to be replaced sometime this is the first time I have had any trouble with my signal in Fortuneswell
went into Weymouth EE shop 2 months ago to ask what was wrong with signal was told problems with mast which was going to be replaced sometime this is the first time I have had any trouble with my signal in Fortuneswell katzeye299
  • Score: 1

10:09pm Fri 13 Jun 14

westbaywonder says...

Orange/ee always been crap, got rid of them back in the late 90,s, obviously nothing has changed.
Orange/ee always been crap, got rid of them back in the late 90,s, obviously nothing has changed. westbaywonder
  • Score: 0

9:07am Sat 14 Jun 14

arlbergbahn says...

Rocksalt wrote:
Amused by the number of small business experts here commenting on what equipment these small business owners should have. Perhaps they would care to enlighten us with details of the small retail businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell recently,Or the research they have conducted into how different customer groups like to communicate. For example, given the likely target group!, I don't think that most of Frank Design's customers give a **** about whether or not a business has a landline.
if they can't get through to them, I should think they would have some concern, don't you?
[quote][p][bold]Rocksalt[/bold] wrote: Amused by the number of small business experts here commenting on what equipment these small business owners should have. Perhaps they would care to enlighten us with details of the small retail businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell recently,Or the research they have conducted into how different customer groups like to communicate. For example, given the likely target group!, I don't think that most of Frank Design's customers give a **** about whether or not a business has a landline.[/p][/quote]if they can't get through to them, I should think they would have some concern, don't you? arlbergbahn
  • Score: 3

3:54pm Sat 14 Jun 14

notweymouth says...

Stuff breaks. Google "Business Continuity Planning"
Stuff breaks. Google "Business Continuity Planning" notweymouth
  • Score: 0

9:23am Sun 15 Jun 14

Lister says...

So glad this story has come up. I have been an Orange customer for many years, was originally O2 but had signal problems on Portland when the mast was behind Portland Heights so tried a few but with Orange got a full strength signal so stuck with them.

After they teamed up with T-Mobile signal dropped slightly and minor problems here and there but when it changed to EE the signal really dropped and places I could get a decent signal before where either weak or nothing.

I went into EE in Weymouth at Easter to ask if there were any problems and was told no, it was my phone broken so I produced my contract phone along with two different model Samsung's on PAYG and said strange how all three dropped to no service at the same time at which point they didn't really have an answer so gave me a phone number to contact engineers.

I thought I had it bad with the signal dropping out and texts taking hours to come through but asking friends they had exactly the same problems and this was all over Portland, Weymouth, Yeovil, Sherborne so was quite widespread and some hadn't had a signal for weeks.

Have noticed the mast behind Portland Heights now, not sure how long it has been like it but nice sign "Owned and maintained by Orange" and no longer O2.
So glad this story has come up. I have been an Orange customer for many years, was originally O2 but had signal problems on Portland when the mast was behind Portland Heights so tried a few but with Orange got a full strength signal so stuck with them. After they teamed up with T-Mobile signal dropped slightly and minor problems here and there but when it changed to EE the signal really dropped and places I could get a decent signal before where either weak or nothing. I went into EE in Weymouth at Easter to ask if there were any problems and was told no, it was my phone broken so I produced my contract phone along with two different model Samsung's on PAYG and said strange how all three dropped to no service at the same time at which point they didn't really have an answer so gave me a phone number to contact engineers. I thought I had it bad with the signal dropping out and texts taking hours to come through but asking friends they had exactly the same problems and this was all over Portland, Weymouth, Yeovil, Sherborne so was quite widespread and some hadn't had a signal for weeks. Have noticed the mast behind Portland Heights now, not sure how long it has been like it but nice sign "Owned and maintained by Orange" and no longer O2. Lister
  • Score: 0

7:53pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Rocksalt says...

arlbergbahn wrote:
Rocksalt wrote:
Amused by the number of small business experts here commenting on what equipment these small business owners should have. Perhaps they would care to enlighten us with details of the small retail businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell recently,Or the research they have conducted into how different customer groups like to communicate. For example, given the likely target group!, I don't think that most of Frank Design's customers give a **** about whether or not a business has a landline.
if they can't get through to them, I should think they would have some concern, don't you?
My comment was in response to the suggestion that customers would not trust a business without a landline. The inference was that they would not. I suggested that this would not put off many if not most of the customers given their likely demographic. I am sure the businesses are concerned. Reasonably enough they are probably pondering why they should pay for what is effectively a back up service.

Interestingly, I see that none of the armchair entrepreneur s here have given details of the small businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell.
[quote][p][bold]arlbergbahn[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Rocksalt[/bold] wrote: Amused by the number of small business experts here commenting on what equipment these small business owners should have. Perhaps they would care to enlighten us with details of the small retail businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell recently,Or the research they have conducted into how different customer groups like to communicate. For example, given the likely target group!, I don't think that most of Frank Design's customers give a **** about whether or not a business has a landline.[/p][/quote]if they can't get through to them, I should think they would have some concern, don't you?[/p][/quote]My comment was in response to the suggestion that customers would not trust a business without a landline. The inference was that they would not. I suggested that this would not put off many if not most of the customers given their likely demographic. I am sure the businesses are concerned. Reasonably enough they are probably pondering why they should pay for what is effectively a back up service. Interestingly, I see that none of the armchair entrepreneur s here have given details of the small businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell. Rocksalt
  • Score: -3

7:53pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Rocksalt says...

arlbergbahn wrote:
Rocksalt wrote:
Amused by the number of small business experts here commenting on what equipment these small business owners should have. Perhaps they would care to enlighten us with details of the small retail businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell recently,Or the research they have conducted into how different customer groups like to communicate. For example, given the likely target group!, I don't think that most of Frank Design's customers give a **** about whether or not a business has a landline.
if they can't get through to them, I should think they would have some concern, don't you?
My comment was in response to the suggestion that customers would not trust a business without a landline. The inference was that they would not. I suggested that this would not put off many if not most of the customers given their likely demographic. I am sure the businesses are concerned. Reasonably enough they are probably pondering why they should pay for what is effectively a back up service.

Interestingly, I see that none of the armchair entrepreneur s here have given details of the small businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell.
[quote][p][bold]arlbergbahn[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Rocksalt[/bold] wrote: Amused by the number of small business experts here commenting on what equipment these small business owners should have. Perhaps they would care to enlighten us with details of the small retail businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell recently,Or the research they have conducted into how different customer groups like to communicate. For example, given the likely target group!, I don't think that most of Frank Design's customers give a **** about whether or not a business has a landline.[/p][/quote]if they can't get through to them, I should think they would have some concern, don't you?[/p][/quote]My comment was in response to the suggestion that customers would not trust a business without a landline. The inference was that they would not. I suggested that this would not put off many if not most of the customers given their likely demographic. I am sure the businesses are concerned. Reasonably enough they are probably pondering why they should pay for what is effectively a back up service. Interestingly, I see that none of the armchair entrepreneur s here have given details of the small businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell. Rocksalt
  • Score: -3

6:25pm Wed 18 Jun 14

JackJohnson says...

Rocksalt wrote:
arlbergbahn wrote:
Rocksalt wrote:
Amused by the number of small business experts here commenting on what equipment these small business owners should have. Perhaps they would care to enlighten us with details of the small retail businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell recently,Or the research they have conducted into how different customer groups like to communicate. For example, given the likely target group!, I don't think that most of Frank Design's customers give a **** about whether or not a business has a landline.
if they can't get through to them, I should think they would have some concern, don't you?
My comment was in response to the suggestion that customers would not trust a business without a landline. The inference was that they would not. I suggested that this would not put off many if not most of the customers given their likely demographic. I am sure the businesses are concerned. Reasonably enough they are probably pondering why they should pay for what is effectively a back up service.

Interestingly, I see that none of the armchair entrepreneur s here have given details of the small businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell.
None in Fortuneswell, but that doesn't matter. There's a lot more to the real world than just Fortuneswell. You should try living in some of it and experience being ripped off by traders you suddenly find you have no way of contacting once they've got your money. I currently run two in North Dorset, and have run businesses - including Ltd companies - in the West Midlands, USA, Germany, Indonesia, The Philippines, Sweden and India (ironically in telecommunications, primarily tracking fraudulent use of mobile phones). I'll thank you for giving it a little less of the 'armchair entrepreneur' claim. Now - what experience do YOU have?

A business without permanent contact details (both a fixed address and a land line) is a high risk business. Even with them it's still possible to disappear/cease trading/etc but it's a lot harder than if they just need to get a new SIM (and some new business cards with a different name from VistaPrint).

I'm not suggesting that any of the traders in this story are likely to do this, but I think they are probably losing customers who are not naive and will not take foolish risks in business relationships or significant trading deals.
[quote][p][bold]Rocksalt[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]arlbergbahn[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Rocksalt[/bold] wrote: Amused by the number of small business experts here commenting on what equipment these small business owners should have. Perhaps they would care to enlighten us with details of the small retail businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell recently,Or the research they have conducted into how different customer groups like to communicate. For example, given the likely target group!, I don't think that most of Frank Design's customers give a **** about whether or not a business has a landline.[/p][/quote]if they can't get through to them, I should think they would have some concern, don't you?[/p][/quote]My comment was in response to the suggestion that customers would not trust a business without a landline. The inference was that they would not. I suggested that this would not put off many if not most of the customers given their likely demographic. I am sure the businesses are concerned. Reasonably enough they are probably pondering why they should pay for what is effectively a back up service. Interestingly, I see that none of the armchair entrepreneur s here have given details of the small businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell.[/p][/quote]None in Fortuneswell, but that doesn't matter. There's a lot more to the real world than just Fortuneswell. You should try living in some of it and experience being ripped off by traders you suddenly find you have no way of contacting once they've got your money. I currently run two in North Dorset, and have run businesses - including Ltd companies - in the West Midlands, USA, Germany, Indonesia, The Philippines, Sweden and India (ironically in telecommunications, primarily tracking fraudulent use of mobile phones). I'll thank you for giving it a little less of the 'armchair entrepreneur' claim. Now - what experience do YOU have? A business without permanent contact details (both a fixed address and a land line) is a high risk business. Even with them it's still possible to disappear/cease trading/etc but it's a lot harder than if they just need to get a new SIM (and some new business cards with a different name from VistaPrint). I'm not suggesting that any of the traders in this story are likely to do this, but I think they are probably losing customers who are not naive and will not take foolish risks in business relationships or significant trading deals. JackJohnson
  • Score: 0

3:17pm Thu 19 Jun 14

IslandJim1 says...

Rocksalt wrote:
arlbergbahn wrote:
Rocksalt wrote:
Amused by the number of small business experts here commenting on what equipment these small business owners should have. Perhaps they would care to enlighten us with details of the small retail businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell recently,Or the research they have conducted into how different customer groups like to communicate. For example, given the likely target group!, I don't think that most of Frank Design's customers give a **** about whether or not a business has a landline.
if they can't get through to them, I should think they would have some concern, don't you?
My comment was in response to the suggestion that customers would not trust a business without a landline. The inference was that they would not. I suggested that this would not put off many if not most of the customers given their likely demographic. I am sure the businesses are concerned. Reasonably enough they are probably pondering why they should pay for what is effectively a back up service.

Interestingly, I see that none of the armchair entrepreneur s here have given details of the small businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell.
I don't think you need to be a entrepreneur to work out that Portland has rubbish mobile signal, so I will say again, you want to run a business you need a land line. Problem solved, moaning and holding a lemon to your ear over.
[quote][p][bold]Rocksalt[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]arlbergbahn[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Rocksalt[/bold] wrote: Amused by the number of small business experts here commenting on what equipment these small business owners should have. Perhaps they would care to enlighten us with details of the small retail businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell recently,Or the research they have conducted into how different customer groups like to communicate. For example, given the likely target group!, I don't think that most of Frank Design's customers give a **** about whether or not a business has a landline.[/p][/quote]if they can't get through to them, I should think they would have some concern, don't you?[/p][/quote]My comment was in response to the suggestion that customers would not trust a business without a landline. The inference was that they would not. I suggested that this would not put off many if not most of the customers given their likely demographic. I am sure the businesses are concerned. Reasonably enough they are probably pondering why they should pay for what is effectively a back up service. Interestingly, I see that none of the armchair entrepreneur s here have given details of the small businesses they have successfully launched in Fortuneswell.[/p][/quote]I don't think you need to be a entrepreneur to work out that Portland has rubbish mobile signal, so I will say again, you want to run a business you need a land line. Problem solved, moaning and holding a lemon to your ear over. IslandJim1
  • Score: 0

10:38pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Micke12 says...

A lemon - I felt sure that it was an orange, but then again, some of the orange staff are lemons.

Orange/EE has always been total **** signal and will never get any better until they stop using T-Mobiles masts and frequencies. With so many different signals coming into and out of one mast, there must be major problems with signal harmonics and stuff.
A lemon - I felt sure that it was an orange, but then again, some of the orange staff are lemons. Orange/EE has always been total **** signal and will never get any better until they stop using T-Mobiles masts and frequencies. With so many different signals coming into and out of one mast, there must be major problems with signal harmonics and stuff. Micke12
  • Score: 1

11:15am Fri 20 Jun 14

Bob Goulding says...

Under35andout wrote:
“I lost £150 and that was just his deposit.

you give it back anyway its a deposit
there is always EMAIL you can do everything with email ,you really trust a mobile phone to book your holiday then your more of a idiot than these lemons standing around with dead out phones , anyone heard of running a buisness before you give out land lines and emails , is it so hard to confirm a booking VIA EMAIL sorry i must be a thicko
You said it: you clearly are. Deposits for holiday lettings and B&B bookings are rarely refundable except in exceptional circumstances. The so-called deposits are actually part payments in advance.
[quote][p][bold]Under35andout[/bold] wrote: “I lost £150 and that was just his deposit. you give it back anyway its a deposit there is always EMAIL you can do everything with email ,you really trust a mobile phone to book your holiday then your more of a idiot than these lemons standing around with dead out phones , anyone heard of running a buisness before you give out land lines and emails , is it so hard to confirm a booking VIA EMAIL sorry i must be a thicko[/p][/quote]You said it: you clearly are. Deposits for holiday lettings and B&B bookings are rarely refundable except in exceptional circumstances. The so-called deposits are actually part payments in advance. Bob Goulding
  • Score: 0

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