Posts Tagged ‘ Mobile Phone ’

The problem with iphone is… Vodafone

except if your'e an NZ customer... then your'e just a cash cow

except if your'e an NZ customer... then your'e just a cash cow

Well, I haven’t given Vodafone a serve for at least… a few weeks, so here goes.

This isn’t a critisim of the iphone, I’m even more happy with it than I was a week or so after I got one last year, but it is a critisim of Vodafone.

The iphone is cool because of all those useful app’s, you can use google maps to find the nearest ATM machine, an currency exchange rate widget to check prices using latest rates, a weather app to check the weather, a subway app to get an update on the London tube (so you can see if they are on strike or not) etc etc. This stuff is really useful when you’re overseas… but

But, only if you’re really really loaded, like Steve Job’s loaded.

Last time I used my iphone in Sydney I came back to a $600 data bill – yep, I used every app on the phone with total abandon, they were great and really useful. Then I got the email from Vodafone and just about had a stroke… yes, that’s NZ$600 plus all the calls etc, for 4 days in Sydney.

This time in Europe I have data roaming turned off and just use the wifi, but it’s not the same, the apps and maps don’t work when I want them, but on the other hand I am not remortgaging the house to pay Vodafone for 6 weeks in Europe.

Vodafone is (once again) operating with it’s head up it’s arse. If it was really sensible it would drop data roaming rates to a reasonable level (even their staff in Auckland say it’s a rip off) then I could use the damn phone the way it’s been designed, I don’t mind paying a few hundred dollars, but by my estimation it would cost me thousands to use data roaming. So Vodafone won’t be getting a cent out of me for data roaming, whereas if they were sensible they would get something.

And before anyone start making excuses about termination rates and the costs other companies might be charging Vodafone, I am using Vodafone in the UK. And that takes me to my second grip about Vodafone.

One of the reasons I use Vodafone is because it’s a big international company.

I notice billboards right across the UK announcing that Vodafone has “abolished” roaming changes across the EU AND NZ and Australia (probably because they were told to by regulators, or a pre emptive action to prevent regulation), so why the hell aren’t Vodafone NZ doing this, or at least dropping them? Who are they kidding with $2 a minute plus your local charge for phone calls??? International mobile phone rates in the UK from Vodafone and other carriers are as low as a few pence, so it’s not the termination charges from Vodafone UK to Vodafone NZ.

If your’e from Vodafone and reading this, get with the program. Ripping me and your other customers who travel off by not offering seamless and discounted charging based on a fair rate with Vodafone ‘International Inc’ is just dumb. It’s so obvious to anyone that Vodafone in the EU has better rates, so as a Vodafone NZ customer why can’t I get something close to these rates?

And what the hell are these rates for Vodafone UK customers on Data roaming???

C’mon, stop treating NZ customers like morons!

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Vodafone internet sucks

I’ve had an account with IHUG for years, in total over 10 years. I’ve had a mobile with Vodafone since it took over Bell South, and I forget when that was but it’s a while back now. IHUG’s always had reasonably good service, as it got bigger the service dropped, but then that does seem to be a problem with companies as they grow – you become less important to them I guess. Vodafone mobile always had good service, if you call their service line you get a fast response, and being a blackberry user means you get a dedicated team so no complaints there.

Based on my experience it’d be reasonable to expect that when Vodafone took over IHUG that at the very least the service would  stay the same, and possibly improve from IHUG’s standpoint. Based on that expectation I switched my phone phone to Vodafone, Telecom has pretty average service and I felt they had been taking my custom for granted for a long time. 

Well, sadly, that assumption appears to be miss-placed – the service has got worse – much worse. The low point came when I discovered that my phone and broadband wasn’t working, nothing, not a peep. I phoned the service desk. After 40 minutes of being told “we’re sorry for the delay blah blah blah” I got cut off, I phoned back and after 54 minutes finally spoke to someone… yep 54 minutes! By this time I was pretty pissed off, it was made worse by the guy at the other end being no help despite being told there was no dial tone etc, he insisted I restart the modem. He then told me that it must be Telecom’s exchange and he’d look into it… well it took him a while, two days later there was a message on my phone (long after I got my service back) saying there had been some work done on the exchange and this must have been the problem.

It seems to be a bit of a standard response “it’s Telecom’s problem”. Well Vodafone, it might be technically Telecom’s problem, but actually it’s your problem. It’s Vodafone’s problem because I pay for your service, and so I expect you to sort it out. If I kept getting told this, then maybe I should be back with Telecom where someone can tell me what is going on.

I am genuinely stunned that a large company like Vodafone seems to have learnt nothing from the unpopularity of Telecom and seems hell bent on delivering the same piss poor service as their competition. Somehow I don’t see this as being a winning formula.

Having worked for a large corporate I noticed something companies here seem to do a lot. They assume that by creating a policy and publishing something on their web site they have solved a problem – in Vodafone case…

“You’ve come to expect a lot from ihug, and now you can expect a lot from Vodafone too. That’s because from 1 April 2008, the ihug brand is integrating with Vodafone. You’ll still get the same great service you’re used to, and you’ll have the support of one of NZ’s most loved brands behind you”

yeah right!

Guy’s just saying that on your website doesn’t actually make it happen. And if you go sticking it right on the front page for everyone to see, then you’d think you would have done a bit of work beforehand making sure it was possible to deliver that fairly modest promise – as it is really the least you’d expect from a service provider and hardly ground breaking stuff.

The merger took a while and had been going on for at least a year, so why didn’t Vodafone use the same model they use for their mobile call centre for the Internet and phone call centre, as this seems to work ok?

I called them again this week about the weird $1.50 increase they gave all those punters who switched their home phone service over – hey guy’s thanks for switching, here’s a $1.50 increase in your bill! This time I ‘only’ had to wait 20 minutes, but then got someone who was in training who couldn’t help with anything. I would have thought you’d train someone before you let them loose on customers, but what would I know, I don’t run a call centre. Maybe they figured that I’d be happy I didn’t have to wait 54 minutes so would be grateful to just have someone to talk too even if they couldn’t help… wrong again! It took over half an hour for the poor trainee going back and forth from his supervisor and me.

I also discovered that they had done a bit of a Telecom on me and put me on a contract without telling me, which only confirms to me that they have decided not to take customer service too seriously. Now they are a big player they can afford to treat me like, well, like Telecom used too…

Maybe time to look around for an new ISP and ditch the home phone altogether?

My other more recent post on Vodafone is https://consumeist.wordpress.com/2008/07/09/vodafones-iphone-a-bit-expensive/