‘The future’s bright. The future’s Orange,’ was how one of Europe’s biggest smartphone carriers confidently sold itself back in the dim and distant days of the ‘90s.
But it’s since emerged that the future wasn’t Orange at all.
Ever since the foundation of umbrella brand EE, Orange and its sister carrier T-Mobile have been slowly disappearing from visibility and from the UK handset market.
But because the process of killing off the brands has been happening in a piecemeal way, it’s understandable that there’s a degree of confusion among Orange and T-Mobile customers as to where they stand.
What happens if you've recently signed up for a T-Mobile or Orange contract, for instance?
And what about if you’re about to come to the end of your T-Mobile or Orange contract? Do you automatically become an EE customer?
The questions don't stop there, though.
We’re also sure, for the sake of example, that we’re not alone in being very, very keen to know what kind of new deal sweeteners EE has up its sleeve to replace Orange Wednesdays.
Here, we try and answer those questions for you, and many more besides, in our handy FAQ for Orange and T-Mobile customers.
Got any more for us? Let us know in the comments section and we’ll do our best to get you an answer.
I signed up for an Orange/T-Mobile contract fairly recently. Will EE honour my contract?
Although EE long ago stopped selling T-Mobile and Orange deals on its websites and in its bricks and mortar stores, that wasn’t the case with a selection of price comparison sites and retailers.
These websites and outlets are to stop selling phones on T-Mobile and Orange on the 28th of February. But until they the handset contracts they've been selling would have tied customers into two-year contract terms.
So where the end of those brands does leave those consumers? Exactly where they were, is the short answer.
If you’ve got an Orange or T-Mobile contract, EE will honour its terms until the full contract has expired.
That means your monthly allowances, tariffs and monthly contract price will remain unchanged.
At the end of your contract term, you’ll be given the chance to join EE.
If that's what you decide and if the current situation is anything to go by, you may even get money-off your next handset too as a reward for your loyalty.
I've got an unlimited data tariff with T-Mobile/Orange. Will EE match my current tariff if I switch?
It's unlikely. EE's contract pricing is quite different to T-Mobile and Orange's.
If you do switch to EE, you'll have to pick an EE contract with comparable allowances. But that shouldn't be too difficult to find and it should be priced broadly in line with what you're used to paying.
Will I be upgraded to EE 4G?
Unfortunately, if you signed a 3G contract with T-Mobile or Orange, you’ll remain on 3G until the end of your contract term. Unless you choose to upgrade mid-contract.
When the contract ends, EE will offer you the chance to sign up. But you’re under no obligation to join.
If you do decide to sign up with EE, though, you’ll need a 4G capable phone and one that supports the particular standards of EE 4G LTE network.
Can I keep my number if I switch to EE?
Absolutely you can. Switching your number is simple.
However, remember that because you'll have owned a 3G SIM with T-Mobile or Orange, you'll need to get a 4G one from EE.
Will T-Mobile and Orange sell of their stock of smartphones cheaply?
Clearance deals are currently up for grabs on phones.co.uk, starting from £13.99. But you’ll need to be quick. They disappear on February 28th.
Should I be concerned about the looming BT takeover of EE?
Right now, we don’t even know if BT's bid to acquire EE will be approved by regulators.
However, assuming it does, BT is expected to cleave pretty closely to EE’s business model in the short term.
That means the company you’re looking at now won’t change much, if at all, with BT likely to stick to EE’s recently announced program of investment in its 4G network.
BT is even likely to retain the EE brand for the foreseeable future.
What’s happening to replace Orange Wednesdays? Will there be new sweeteners?
Orange Wednesdays officially ended last month.
EE has yet to announce what it's got lined up as a replacement offer, but has said that it’ll involve “customer entertainment rewards’ and that it will reflect that “our customers viewing habits have evolved”.
It sounds like a streaming service of some kind to us. But only time will tell.