A mobile fone deal in Britain, circa 2001

we'd rather not promote the buying of mobile fones. but if you're going to get one anyway, here's one way thats better than most. and because choosing a fone and all the faff that goes with it can be horrendous, hopefully this might save you some wasted time.

The Fone

the Nokia 6210e
Nokia's overview: http://www.nokia.com/phones/6210/
specification; Nokia's: http://www.nokia.com/nokia/0,8764,2094,00.html
and mobile.box.sk's specification

some details:

The same fone is available in a 'ruggedized' version (the 6250, http://www.nokia.co.uk/html/phones/6250.asp) for ?100?, built as these things should be - so you can drop them without them breaking

The Service/Network Provider

Orange UK (100% owned by France Telecom, as of this writing in 2001) usually offer the cheapest tariffs in the UK, of the four main service providers, but not compared with others you can have as well as the main service provider.

some details:

Orange environmental report: http://www.orange.co.uk/about/environment/

The Initial Deal

nothing complicated here. no initial charge; a free 6210e when you take out a 1 year contract.
20 (and sometimes 30) rebate against your bill if you give them your old fone (50% for the fone if it atleast just switches on, 50% for the manual and charger).

The Tariff

Mobile fone tariffs are head numbingly complicated.
each telephone company has their own range and they may also let you choose terms that match another company's tariffs
the cheapest worthwhile Orange tariff is 15 UK Pounds a month, 50 minutes free landline calls a day off-peak. you get the opportunity to change yr tariff each month. if you don't get a contract, and instead get what in Britain is called 'pay as you go' then the telefone company doesn't allow you to make data calls, receive faxes, or use most of the other interesting digital features (atleast Orange don't appear to, don't know about other companies)

Who To Buy From

it seems to be cheaper to buy from an intemediary company rather than direct from the telephone company (but perhaps more complicated)

Carphone Warehouse (http://www.carphonewarehouse.com) seem to have the same terms as the best of the rest but also give you the 20 back (sometimes 30), and have shops aswell as the telephone contact (it can be more pleasant to complain in person than over the fone)

you can buy from Carphone Warehouse either over the fone or from one of their shops.

they go under slightly differing names around Europe, but the typeface they use for their name seems to always be the same.

I got mine thru a salesman called ***** ***** (xxxx-xxx-xxxx), he's usually busy on the fone so if you leave your number he's good at ringing back, even to mobiles. or you can get the salesperson you reach on the Carphone Warehouse freefone number to put you thru to him. if you say you want the same deal as I had, he should give you a leather case and in-car charger, this seems to be the most he'll give, and note that if yr offered the hands-free kit for free it comes with the fone anyway. by mentioning that you've been passed on to him by ***** ***** might help you swiftly and easily get the few added freebies he's offering as we've gotten atleast xx fones thru him so far, then again you may get them easily anyway

if you want to use the interesting functions on these fones (suchas connecting a computer/PDA, or using WAP), then you need to take out a contract, rather than payasyougo. this is atleast true with Orange, I don't know about other telco's. the cheapest tariff is Everyday50: 15 a month, stupidly dear calls during the day, 50 minutes free each night, unused minutes carry over for one month only, 1p/min to UK landlines and 5p/min to Orange mobiles after 7pm (dont recall fully, but think calls to Orange mobiles aren't included in the 50 free minutes). next tariff up is 25/month: much cheaper during the day, includes insurance (but insurance for fones can be bought for something like 40 a month from a third party)

Carphone Warehouse send out the fone next day by courier who tends to turn up before 10am (but isn't guaranteed to), even when you order up to as late as 8/8:30pm. it doesn't have to be sent to the address you're registered to. the address you register to can be any residential address, not necessarily the address the bank account details are registered to. it can take 24 hours to get the fone connected up to the network, but usually it should be on by late afternoon if you ring up Carphone Warehouse's activation line first thing in the morning. if you want to take your old fone number over to your new fone, first cancel yr existing contract by telling your telco you want to do that and transfer the number, they'll send you a Porting Authority Code (PAC) in the post which you tell the salesperson at Carphone Warehouse when ordering the fone (and then I think send them in the post soon afterwards) and it should take from 3 to 30 days for the fone's number to switch (tho it took me just under a week)


direct debit - they'll need account details. they don't have to be yours. and an address to register to, it doesn't have to be yours, but it helps if it passses a credit check
the DirectDebit is setup with Orange, not Carphone Warehouse, if you give Carphone Warehouse bank details for this they may forget to give them to Orange so you need to double check this with Orange.

or pay monthly by sending a cheque or using a credit/debit card over the fone. I've been able to pay with someone else's card and they be happy to accept that, other times they need the card holder to give permission

Activating the Fone When You Get It

Charging the Battery

when you get the fone, the first charge defines the capacity of the battery for ever-more, so be sure to give it the full 16 hours without any interruption (despite what Orange representatives tell you). With subsequent charges you can partially charge the fone, and by a proportionate amount limit its capacity, but this can be reverted by completely discharging the fone then completely recharging it (which you may have to do a few times); but this doesn't apply for the first charge where its imperative to max out the battery.


5/month from Orange ('Orange Care') or from a third-party company for 40/year. sounds like the Orange insurance cover allows perhaps 3 replacements per year no-questions-asked, as long as you actually lost it rather than left it somewhere public (which is just the way you mince yr words). or get the 25/month tariff (I forget the name) (with cheaper daytime calls) that includes insurance.

OVP Virgin

you used to be able to swap for free after a month to OVP (Orange Value Promise), a Virgin equivalent tariff; now it costs 10 per month or is free after a year.
With OVP the monthly payment is replaced with a daily one charged on the calls themselves. This is beneficial when combined with a Breathe account.


take out a Breathe (http://www.breathe.com/) account. (this option is probably no longer available).
dial in using their 0800 number, their network recognises your fone and then you dial the number you want and get billed cheaply to your own account. Breathe used to be called FirstTelecom, and a host of others. Breathe give you 5 for each person you recommend.

Contact Details

Carphone Warehouse ?'Sales'?: 0800-1388690

Carphone Warehouse 'Customer Care': 0870-1680870

The Carphone Warehouse Limited, North Acton Business Park, Wales Farm Rd, London W3 6RS | tel: 0208 8965000 | fax:0208 8965005

Orange contact details: http://www.orange.co.uk/about/contact/

Orange: 07973-100500

Orange Registrations: 0800-0790027

Orange Customer Services: 07973-100150 or 150 (free from an Orange fone)

Orange billing: 07973-100152 or 152 (free from an Orange fone) [09:00-20:00 mon-fri]

Orange Sales: 0500 802080

Orange Accessory Order Line: 0500 178178

Orange Payment Processing, Southend-On-Sea SS99 6LU


if you can send operating system updates to a fone in the form of an SMS message, then there's obviously the potential for maliciousness:


Tech Stuff...

Internet Access

Orange provide Internet by connecting their exchanges to Demon Internet, who in turn connect thru BT (I think)

if you want Internet access its better to have a fone with built-in modem, rather than the modem being in the computer/PDA. either using the fone's modem over a cable or infra-red. some fones have a built-in POP3 client for checking email, otherwise you use the POP3 client on your computer; or via WAP. there are quite a few such fones

the Nokia 6210e appears similar in specification to the 8210 but is actually a lot better
the 6210e's modem operates at 33,000baud ('33K') but some vague information I got a year ago said the means by which it achieves this speed (which is faster than mobile foines have been able to connect to the Internet before) was poorly supported by the telephone companies and some new technology early this year was supposed to come in new fones and be better supported by the telephone companies that would enable much faster access, but I didnt see it arrive. worst case is that the speed would be 9,600baud, which would probably be just about ok in terms of speed for plain text email (ask people not to send you email in HTML, or attachments).
To connect the computer to the fone you'll probably need a cable. a Nokia cable (DLR-3P) will be something like 15 to 30 UK Pounds, I hear third- party cables can be bought for something like 5 UK Pounds, or you can make up yr own. alternatively you can connect the computer to the fone using infra-red, but that might be slower, I can't remember, and you'll need a modern laptop with an infra-red port. another way is to get the PCMCIA (sometimes called a 'PC card') version of the fone: a 6210e built into a PCMCIA card that you just use with the computer rather than as a handset; I expect this option is expensive

The 6210e has WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) aswell, which is web access directly using just the fone rather than using a seperate computer in conjunction with the fone, however you can't access HTML pages using WAP, only WML pages (an ugly non-standard subset of HTML), pages created specifically for cramped wireless devices. WML/WAP is very limited but there appear to be atleast a couple of interesting uses for it, suchas checking email when you haven't got yr computer or finding out what films are on at yr local cinema, etcetera, whatever; I've not seen anything better than this yet. the display for WAP on such fones is small and text only. for WAP Orange charge 10 UK Pence peak, 5 UK Pence off peak, your mileage may differ. other telephone companies charge differently for 'data' calls

Psion's list of which fones are compatible with which Psions: http://www.psion.com/mobile/irphone.asp
Psion's 'Connecting with Nokia Infrared mobile phones support document'
Psion knowledge-base on connecting to the Internet
Psion's 'Mobile' section: http://www.psion.com/mobile/

Unlocking the Fone from the Service Provider

To unlock the fone so it isn't locked to the one service provider you need a flasher cable and software to partially re-write the fone's flash memory. there's info on this at http://www.cro-web.com/maroon/, who might be selling the kit

Data Cable

To access the fone from a computer using a cable (rather than infra-red) you'll need either the Nokia DLR-3P cable, a copy made by a third-party company or to make one up yourself. you can buy third-party copy cables for 15UK Pounds.