Posts Tagged ‘ Vodafone ’

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!

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.

Telecom launches 3G… 6 years too late

I see Telecom are apparently going to launch their 3G service “early”… in May.

I don’t know how this can be described as early when Vodafone rolled out theirs way back in 2004.

That’s 6 years ago.

6 Years too late Telecom… well done… again!

I see they are also hyping their “exclusive” Samsung 3G handset with… wait for it…. drum roll…. a touch screen.

Whoopdeedoo! I can hear the cries of admiration at Telecoms stunning marketing victory!

So, they have a 3G service 6 years after Vodafone did, and they now have a touch screen phone almost 2 years after Vodafone launched the iphone, and I guess they will now be able to finally offer global roaming too.

In what seems to be a dig at Vodafone, Telecom  CEO Paul Reynolds said they would provide  “best genuine coverage across New Zealand”. Oh I see, yes, right. This is in contrast to the imaginary 3G network that Vodafone launched years ago, along with the imaginary touch screen phones?

You have to admire the cheek of Telecom’s CEO to stand up and spout marketing PR such as this with a straight face.

So folks, you now have a choice, you can join Telecom and get the same service Vodafone’s offered for years. I guess you’d probably pause for thought though and consider that you may get stuck with a lemon considering Telecom are likely to be light years behind Vodafone when the next change comes along, and that’s just around the corner.

Telecom New Zealand, ‘Connecting New Zealanders with yesterday’s technology’.

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. 

Minister to axe Commerce Commission

rebstock_paula1606

NZ Consumers Hero

I see tucked away in Thursday’s Herald the rumour that our new Commerce Minister Simon Power is thinking about having a look at the Commerce Commission.

He’s naturally being egged on by the likes of Telecom who would like nothing better than to behave in a shoddy way towards consumers without having a publicly funded body watching their every move.

I’d suggest that Simon had some more pressing issues at hand, and maybe he should be concentrating a bit more on protecting consumers rather than big business.

Being Commerce Minister doesn’t mean ignoring the people who buy the products that allow commerce to take place, in fact, in the current environment you’d think he’d be doing everything he could to encourage consumers.

It would be nice to think that big companies like Telecom, Progressive, Air NZ etc would treat consumers as a precious commodity instead of a bunch of silly tits who need to be relieved of their cash by any means possible. Obviously the longer they treat people with little respect, the more likely their are to disappear, so they do ultimately pay the price for their arrogance. 

The problem is that in a very small country like NZ consumers often end up with little choice and competition so often ends up being a duopoly, where the two incumbents have a kind of gentleman’s agreement to jointly screw the consumers for every penny – Vodafone and Telecom jump to mind.

The problem usually occurs because politicians can’t help stuffing around with business and giving their favorites a helping hand every now and again, which creates the requirement for the Commerce Commission.

Naturally if Mr Powers was going to lift any regulation and barrier on business. If Mr Powers and his predecessors weren’t always throwing money at business whether it be through broad band subsidies, buying most of Air NZ,  or suggesting they might bail out F&P, then I could understand him also planning to look at the Commerce Commission.

The playing field is skewed because politicians made it that way, therefore we need somebody aggressively enforcing consumers rights, and the Commerce Commission has been doing just that – hence the whining from business to have it and Paula Rebstock (who I think has been a successful crusader for consumer rights) axed.

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. 

Blackberry Bold “later this year”

It now looks like my source was full of shit, and the Blackberry Bold aka 9000 is not coming to NZ until “later this year”. This could mean anything from next month to December.

I couldn’t wait any longer so I have made the switch to an iphone. There was no point getting a $900 phone that wasn’t on 3G.

Is the iphone better than the Blackberry?

Well I’ve only had it 12 hours so difficult to say. First impressions is that it is a very different phone. It does almost all the same things, but quite differently, but if you are a Mac user you will already know this. It’s a bit like comparing a PC to a Mac, at the end of the day they perform the same tasks with the same outcome, differently.

Having a Mac made it surprisingly easy to set up, it took about 5-10 minutes, I plugged the phone into my Macbook at home, it linked up with itunes and sucked in all my contacts, calendar, emails settings for my various accounts, music and video and an update and I was set.

I liked the Blackberry wheel, but then Blackberry have ditched this. The on screen navigation is clever on the iphone and will take a bit of getting used to. I don’t think the key board is as good as a tactile one, but then again, I was used to a full QWERTY keyboard and this is a big change.

I think I will miss push email, but then again, did I really need all that email? I usually ended up deleting a lot unread. Having lost the Blackberry Enterprise Server when I left my corporate job the seamless synchronisation that the Enterprise Server provided with Outlook has gone, so I was going to be plugging a Blackberry in to synchronise it anyway so some of the advantages of the Blackberry have diminished.

It works nicely on the home WIFI network and the web browsing is very cool with a crystal clear screen (apart from my sticky fingerprints) and it’s only a bit smaller than the PSP screen.

I confess that despite being a long term Mac user I would have got the Blackberry Bold if it has been available, but so far the switch won’t be quite as painful as I thought it might be. It will be how it interfaces with my work PC laptop that will be interesting. 

It’s a sexy package and as usual it has got the style you’d expect from any Apple product.