The Experience of Signing up to O2 Home Broadband

Note: I recently promised myself that I'd try not to moan as much, particularly on the web. So this is just a review, not a rant ;).

Confusing messages from O2 broadband

One of the firsts tasks after moving into a new flat is to sort out an internet connection. It seems rather silly that setting up a TV in a new flat is just a case of "plugging it in", yet trying to connect to the web requires time/research/decisions/stress, even before "plugging it in" (which is nowhere near as simple as with a TV). Anyway, after plenty of phone calls and maths, we discovered that O2 Home Phone and Broadband had the best balance of cost/installation efficiency.

I spoke to O2 sales a couple of times, and they were very nice. They sorted out a phone and broadband package that I was happy with and answered some of my questions. The package was:

  • 12 months "half-price" broadband (as an existing O2 customer) at £6.25/month
  • line-rental at £9/month
  • as an existing O2 customer I also received a "half-price" installation (£43 rather than £86), and no connection fee
  • and a "free" £25 M&S voucher

We also confirmed a date for a BT engineer to carry out the installation at the property (5th March).

After the phone call it started to get a bit annoying. I received the following:

  • a text message with my "Mobile Discount Code", which I was told to ignore. Not ideal, but easy enough.
  • an email confirming my order
  • a text message confirming my order with a link to track the router delivery
  • an email detailing the expected broadband "connection" date (6th March)
  • a text message with the expected broadband "activation" date
  • an email noting when my home phone service will be set up, along with the date and time the BT engineer is expected
  • an email confirming that my direct debit was being set up
  • a text message confirming that my direct debit was being set up
  • a text message confirming the date/time the engineer is set to come out
  • a text message with the "Good News!" that my router was on its way
  • an email also notifying me that the router was on its way

Four emails and five text messages (+ another one to ignore), giving me information I already knew. Rather a lot of messages.

A few days before the installation, I had a missed call/voicemail from BT, again confirming the installation date. The same day I received the following:

O2: Sorry but your home phone order is taking a bit longer than we thought. It should be sorted soon. Check your email for further details.

The email I read:

O2: Your home phone start date's been delayed … We're working on it right now and will let you know your new connection date as soon as possible.

Now I was a bit worried and confused but suspected that this was just an automated notification when an order goes beyond a certain number of days. Not wanting to risk anything though, I emailed them just to make sure. Luckily this was the case, and so another couple of notifications to ignore.

On to the installation day. I took the day off to give the engineer access to the flat (and so I'd not be charged a rearrangement fee, as I'd been warned). Then without any sign of an engineer, I received a text (echoed by an email, of course):

O2: Good News, we've connected you early.

So I rang them just to confirm, and after being cut off once, the O2 representative said that sometimes the engineer only has to visit the nearest distribution centre. Nice to let us know. An email or text would've been nice.

I'm happy that we have broadband at home, though slightly bemused that it took two weeks, cost £43 ("half price!"), and required me to take a day off, all for a guy to (seemingly) flick a switch somewhere else.

I realise that this nowhere near the worst experience anyone has had with a broadband installation. But as the whole thing went to schedule, I'm asking myself, what is going on inside O2's systems that makes the process so irritating and confusing?