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O2 (and all the others) are Useless

Every two years I switch to one of the other four UK mobile network providers because a) my memory of the last time I was one of their customers has faded, b) I have a mistaken expectation that they've done something in the meantime to improve their service, and c) I'm bored or angry with my mobile and hope that a new one might suddenly work better as a phone (why did I ever abandon my old Nokia?).

We all know every mobile operator offers a patchy service in the UK. Most of their money goes into marketing. Clearly very little goes into increasing their coverage. What's even more annoying is that we've grown to accept this in the UK (where our declining economy has just been overtaken by Brazil!). Everywhere else on this planet the service is brilliant. We're told its crap because:

a) we're all watching porn, football and soaps like Coronation Street on our mobiles, and that's used up the bandwidth (which of course is bollocks, because no-one CAN watch any of this unless they live next to a mast and are prepared to be pissed off every 3 seconds),

b) the blue-rinse brigade campaign against masts frying their grandchildren's brains - well thanks Doris and Albert. Why don't you stick to the knitting and polishing your cars? Let the generations who want and need connectivity services lead our country back up the economy ladder - although of course we'll actually waste more productive time watching porn, footie and soap. But at least the odd phone call might get through.

So why do I especially loathe O2? I probably also hate the iPhone 4, since either it can't get a signal or the signal's not there in the first place, but in combination they're truly crap. So here's a list of why O2 are particularly hated:

* Texts can take hours and even days to be sent and to be received. I've even done experiments with O2 engineers (persistent complaining did get someone to conduct some tests with me), but even he couldn't understand why I (and my wife, also with O2 and an iPhone) regularly failed to receive or send texts within seconds rather than hours and days.

* Most calls to me neither ring my phone, nor register as missed calls, but I do receive a voicemail. If the voicemail can get through, why doesn't the bloody call? You might presume this is because I'm in a weak signal area. But even when the signal is strong, this happens frequently.

* On a train journey between Guildford (a large town 35 miles from central London in the UK's most populated county) and London, the signal disappears completely for about 30% of the trip, and is only 1 or 2 bar for most of the remainder.

* Other phones get signals when mine doesn't. We all know iPhones are dreadful for picking up, keeping and recovering signals, but even two appalling iPhones next to each other will vary dramatically.

* I'm spending nearly £50 a month on a rubbish service that makes me angry on a daily basis.

So next month it's bye bye O2, hello bloody Vodafone (again). Bet you're still crap too... but do I pay Steve Jobs' estate for another horrid iPhone? Expect another gromble in a year or two.

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