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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Friday, 7 November 2008

Orange 2G pay-as-you-go SIM... how to get a (free) upgrade to 3G

Since my blog's front page is currently a bit scant of content (it's been a busy few days, and although plenty has been happening - including a trip to Germany on business, I've not really had much of any interest to write about) I thought I'd refresh it a little with some - hopefully - helpful advice about how to upgrade an old Pay As you Go SIM to a new one.

This information is obviously informal and by no means endorsed by Orange, nor guaranteed to work, but it might come in useful if - like me - you've long been a user of Orange's pay-as-you-go service (perhaps still enjoying the short-lived 'five free texts a day for life' Out Here offer from nearly seven years ago!) but have upgraded to a 3G capable phone.

How can I tell whether my SIM is 3G capable?
I had an inkling that my Orange SIM couldn't do 3G when I would turn my beloved i600 on, and the 3G icon would appear, then quickly vanish. It turns out that it's to do with the version of SIM you have. This can be identified from the eighth and ninth digits on the actual SIM chip. For 3G support, this number needs to be greater (or equal to?) 30:

If it is, then you should be able to get 3G, and if you can't, then there's no alternative but to ask Orange Customer Services for help.

How can I get a 3G SIM?
There are two ways of doing this. The first is to ring up the Orange Customer Services number and ask them to send you one. This takes days, and will require another call (which, bearing in mind that each connected call costs 20p, isn't that economical) to have the number transferred to the new SIM. Or even less convenient, you can have the number transferred straight away, and have to wait for the SIM to arrive in the post.

However, if you are able to visit an Orange Shop it's quite easy to do. All you have to do is say that you would like a 3G SIM for your phone, by reporting the old one 'lost or stolen'. If they understand, and agree - and have a fresh 3G SIM in stock, they will be able to replace it on the spot, although this will require them to make a call to Orange Customer Services. They'll need to pass the phone to you so you can verify your identity using digits from your Orange account PIN, and, once they're happy, you just give the phone back to the shop assistant, who will read out the new SIM number for registration.

It's worth, at this point, checking the eighth and ninth digits, to make sure they're above 30 - I got caught this way when my SIM died a couple of weeks ago, which is why this all happened. If you don't get the chance, check out the above photo - the card on which the SIM is mounted should be a greeny-grey colour, and not the bright orange of the 2G version.

Once that's all complete, and you've received some texts to say the phone's been updated, that's it - you can leave the shop happy with fast cellular data. Orange do an excellent unlimited internet connection for the day for just a pound - OK, the terms say you can't stream video or use instant messaging (and I ~still~ haven't managed to get Google Maps to connect to Orange Internet.. it just can't seem to connect whatever I do) but email downloads and surfing are both nice and quick.

Hopefully this has been of some use - I'm hoping to get Beth's mobile updated this week!

Posted by james at November 7, 2008 9:53 PM

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