Posts Tagged ‘ Mobile Phones ’

Telecom hasn’t changed. Vodafone 3G vs Telecom XT

I got a bit of heat for my criticism of Telecom’s ‘new’ 3G service. I contend that while it does show a bit of an improvement on Vodafones (and I’m just as critical of them), it’s really a slightly improved service many years too late – and anyway, Vodafone is about to release it’s ‘new improved’ service so customers will gain little by shifting.

Like some others I had noticed problems with Vodafones service for a while, I had put it down to the fact that despite these services being hyped as fantastic, actually they are just OK – a bit like running Windows on a PC, there is a gap between the level of service promised, and the actual service. I’m an IT expect by any means, using a Mac simply because you don’t need to understand much about how it works. Sometimes you have a gut feeling something is shonky with an IT service or product, but proving it is time consuming and requires you to become an expert, life’s too short for most of us!

Now it transpires that despite Paul Renyolds contorted spin of the latest clash with Vodafone over 3G, in fact Telecom’s service has been stuffing up Vodafones. It appears in their haste to get the product to market before Vodafone, Telecom cut some corners with filters to stop interference with Vodafone’s network.

Mr Reynolds somewhat disingenuously says he only became aware of the problem in the last 48 hours. This really means one of two things, that Telecom is completely disorganised and someone forgot to tell Mr Reynolds exactly how they were going to beat Vodafone to the start line, by cutting corners, and this means that Mr Reynolds isn’t really in control of the company at all, it just stumbles along. On the other hand if we are to assume that Mr Reynold’s is getting paid a huge salary because of his management skills, we could then draw the conclusion that he has miss-spoke and did indeed know about the problems all along.

Whatever the case, it looks like once again Telecom is behaving in a very traditional way – arrogant.

I maintain that in fact the corporate culture hasn’t changed from the State Owned days. Shaking such an ingrained culture probably takes generations of management changes, and maybe sometimes it’s just impossible.

Whatever has gone on consumers can be sure of something. That despite all the spin and posturing from both companies, the service, when it arrives will not be as good as they make out. It will be an opportunity to milk customers of more money for something that promises much, but will under delivers. The service to back it up will be average to poor, with staff in call centers not knowing whats going on and you will have to wait for ages to speak to someone, and when you do, chances are they won’t be in NZ and won’t be much help. Like you currently do, you’ll feel frustrated, but in the end you’ll accept it because that’s how thing have been with Telecom for years, many many years.

Vodafone stalls for time, screws customers

If you were ever under any doubt that the two main teleco’s were ripping off consumers by running a virtual duopoly on mobile charges, then Vodafone’s latest “procedural” manoeuvre to delay Government intervention should make it pretty clear what’s going on.

Like Telecom has done for so long, Vodafone is fighting to the last lawyer to drag out the juicy profits they make by over charging consumers for so called ‘termination’ rates. These are the charges Telecom and Vodafone levy each other for putting calls through from each other networks, they then naturally pass these on to consumers.

Vodafone should think carefully before going down the track Telecom has done. For years Telecom treated consumers with contempt, obviously figuring their monopoly position would protect them from consumers wrath, and deciding it was better to abuse their position and take the cash, than treat their customers with respect and develop a long term relationship.

vodafone-sucksLike a couple on a one night stand the level of commitment from both parties ensured that when a better option came along, consumers took it. And they have increasingly deserted Telecom as time’s gone on.

Vodafone has developed a fan base as such with their hip advertising and portraying an image that they ‘get’ what consumers want. This relationship is increasingly on shaky ground and it becomes clear that true to form, Vodafone is yet another large teleco trying to wring every last cent out of it’s customers even if it means doing deals with it’s competitor to maintain a system of charging that is morally reprehensible.

Sure, this is capitalism at work, but because consumers don’t have any choice in the matter because there are only two mobile phone networks, it’s taking customers good will for granted to assume we are stupid enough not to work out what Vodafone is up too.

You’d think Vodafone would see that there is going to be an end to this price gouging and break ranks and just drop the rates and make Telecom look stupid, there’d be plenty of mileage in that sort of move. But a company that tries to hold onto a model of pricing that is ripping off it’s customers looks desperate and arrogant.

Once the Commerce Commission has sorted out termination charges, they need to start looking at the prices charged for data. Vodafone really must be out of touch when they promote 3G networks and mobile internet usage and then charge so much for data usage – especially for roaming. The roaming data charges are reminiscent of the old toll charges when we used to pay $4 a minute to call overseas. 

NIMBY morons and Cell Phone Towers

One way of avoiding cell phone tower radiation...

Some people never seem to give up – making themselves look like complete morons.

Today’s prime example are the fruitloops who get themselves worked up over cell-phone towers. Isn’t it funny how things people don’t understand can seem to be threatening. It’s not hard to see how people believed the earth was flat or that cars needed someone in front of them with a flag to warn people. Fortunately most of us live in the real world otherwise we’d still be living in caves, poking our next meal to death with a sharp stick and communicating in grunts.

I guess the Herald is providing a bit of comic relief going into the weekend with this article, it appears that the common garden RMA that’s been holding development back in NZ for years simply isn’t enough for our local Luddites, they want to be able to have “more say” on cell towers positioning. Of course by “more say” they really mean so much say that the project never goes ahead. They not worried about how ugly the towers look (because they aren’t flash looking), it’s because they are worried they will get cancer from the signal. Clearly somethings fried their brains but it may not be cell phone signals.

Take a look at these bits from the article…

“Residents of Waiheke Island’s Surfdale Beach found out about a Vodafone tower only when a woman recovering from breast cancer asked workers in “unmarked white vans” what they were doing.”

The fact that it’s Waiheke says it all really, the last refuge for hippies and various other nutters. I suggest both teleco’s withdraw immediately and let the island do without 21st century telecommunications. I mean what the hell does the fact someone is recovering from breast cancer have to do with cell-phone towers??? why even put that bit in the article? is this just lazy ‘journalism’ because it sure looks like this was a block quote from “Ban the Towers’ group. I can’t find any credible evidence that cell phones cause breast cancer so it’s a irrelevant red herring. Ooooooh ‘unmarked white vans’ has someone been watching too much X Files? Did anyone bother to check this statement out, because I’ve never seen any unmarked white vans doing telecoms work, usually they are clearly branded for good reason. But hey, it’s a nicely emotive using the term “unmarked”, and conjures up images of conspiracy and black helicopters in the dead of night, once again stupid, lazy, emotive reporting on the part of the Herald.

“Ms Grey, a Nelson environmental lawyer and scientist, said companies could put up towers as long as they were within New Zealand electromagnetic exposure limits. She questioned the standards, saying Austria’s, Russia’s and China’s were more than 100 times stricter.”

I have no idea why Austria was quoted, but I sure as hell can figure out why Russia and China have strict rules, it’s not like either of these countries has a stella track record on giving two shits about their citizens, but they do care about media control and the cell phone restrictions have more to do with protectionism from foreign telecos and local media control than peoples health. We’ll just ignore the glaring fact that obviously the rest of the know world has the same or worse standards than us.

“Ms Grey said cellphone towers were highly contentious and terrified people, which was an effect in itself.”

Well, this is pure gold, and clearly this stunning piece of logic is argument enough isn’t it? It’s now pretty obvious that genius’s like Ms Grey should be running the country, because using this argument we could sort out all our problems. Hell, I’m terrified by the IRD, so lets start with doing away with them, and idiot Luddite greenies like the ‘Ban the Tower’ nutters absolutely petrify me almost to death (the thought of not getting full 3G coverage for my iphone has all but confined me to bed) so lets get rid of those people ASAP!

The part that reduced me into fits of laughter was this…

“The hearing was interrupted from the public gallery by Vicky Webb, who emotionally told how her family chose not to use a microwave and made limited use of cellphones but returned from holiday to find a tower being put up 45m from her children’s window.”

Wait a minute, you don’t use a microwave, but you make “limited” use of cell phones, WTF? do you think we are all stupid? Oh, I see, you are quite happy to use cellphones, but you just don’t want the tower near your house because… uh, wait a minute while I try and figure this out… I give up.

This weeks Idiot NIMBY of the Week award goes to Vicky Webb!

 

Just a plug here, if anyone from Vodafone is reading this and you want to put a 3G mast on our section, drop me an email, we’d be happy to help out. 

Mobile Monopoly

Yep, sorry folks, Vodafone again.

Not really a criticism this time…

This was tucked away in an article about the delays the new mobile phone provider NZ Communications is facing in starting up a third network.

The Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand said the delays were worrying. New Zealand was running out of time to prevent a mobile phone duopoly turning into a Vodafone monopoly.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/3/story.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10527753

This could possibly explain Vodafone’s patchy service, they have obviously grown quickly and that would stretch any organisation. And as the article says, they have invested in techonogly more effectively than Telecom.

I guess there will be those who will argue that if Telecom was a state owned provider it wouldn’t be in this position, but I think in fact this is why it is there. It had a fixed line monopoly even after it was sold and big corporates are like aircraft carriers, they take a long time to turn around. Telecom has an entrenched attitudes dating back to the bad old days when it rules the roost and it has never really managed to keep up with Vodafone – almost like the Apple vs Microsoft war – Vodafone managed to look hip and cool (despite being huge compared to Telecom) and Telecom looked like a dull out of touch corporate.

Vodafone has had the advantage of being international, having access to the latest trends in technology and being able to see what works (and what doesn’t – Japan) and being able to tailor it’s offering accordingly.

NZ Communications will struggle because it won’t have the reach or infrastructure of Telecom, nor the international clout of Vodafone. If NZ Communications makes it off the ground, it will be lucky to have 5-10% of the market.

So there is a real possibility that Vodafone is going to become a virtual monopoly… which is not a good things for consumers.