Sim free 3G phone + Orange = no 3G

Orange Logo So you’ve got an old 2G phone and decide Orange’s upgrade charges are ridiculous (£200 fee for upgrade + cost of phone!), and you’re stuck on a contract, so you decide to just go out and buy a nice new 3G phone ‘sim-free’. You think you can just pop your existing sim into the phone and everything works?

Think again.

Well the sim does work, but it turns out the sim is a 2G sim. To be able to use any of the 3G functionality of the phone and connect to 3G networks, you need a 3G sim (a USIM)*. Fine you think, call the operator and ask for a 3G sim, and you don’t even mind paying a small cost for it.

Problem is you’re on Orange and they flat refuse to give you a 3G sim unless you go out an buy a new Orange branded 3G contract or PAYG phone !

So now I have a nice Nokia N80 3G phone and no 3G just because I didn’t buy it from Orange. Now I could have waited until my contract was up and get a new contract for the phone on Orange but I don’t want to be on a £40+ a month contract just to get the phone at a reasonable cost and I don’t like the way Orange lock down and customise things on the Orange branded version of the phone anyway.

Still other than the lack of 3G it’s a nice phone.

*Update: See this post for an update. Turns out the problem is specific to Orange UK as a regular SIM (not USIM) gets 3G just fine in Orange France!