Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Orange mobile broadband returns

Time for me to dint Orange’s reputation a little more. In a recent post I mentioned that I had tried out Orange’s mobile broadband, and it had not has signal where I needed it.

 

Before taking the modem out  had asked all the questions to check I would be able to return the modem if it didn’t get signal where I needed to use it. Yes, no problem as long as it is returned within 7 days. I checked this with two different staff in two different shops. I checked in a second shop as the assistant in the first shop had not been very knowledgeable (again see earlier post). 

 

So when it came to returning the modem, I assumed there would be no problems. Well, in fact, I assumed there would be problems, just because there always is. So I went into the store where I had first enquired about the device. I explained I couldn’t get signal where I needed to use it, at my home address in Llangollen. They then tried to claim that Orange policy stated that you could only return the modem if it didn’t work at the address they had for you, i.e. the address you provided for the credit check. For the credit check I had provided my Wrexham address, which had fine signal. 

 

In fairness the staff did get the modem returned for me, without much argument on my part. They did have to get this return okayed by their manager as they weren’t abiding by normal company policy. I was even told that I was a one off case.

 

The thing that I have the issue with, is that mobile broadband, is meant to be MOBILE. So why should the company policy be that it can only be returned if you don’t get signal at your home address. If you don’t get decent signal where it is going to be used mostly while on the move, it’s still no good for you and should be returnable.

 

 Also what if they don’t bargain for the 8 foot walls that I have in my Llangollen house. They did try and claim the signal would be fine for 3G at this house, but (presumably because of the walls) it was not. They would try and prevent you returning this device, as they wouldn’t account for thick walls. 

 

Another factor to be considered is that coverage maps are notoriously un-reliable and un-accurate. So to try and prevent a product being returned on the basis of a coverage map is nonsense.

 

A final point is that they told me that once you found you couldn’t get signal in order to return the device, you have to not make any further use of it. So if my device had more than a few megs of usage they wouldn’t let me return it. This is ridiculous again as if you want to check the device out at several locations then you would have to make higher use of the device than allowed. Also given that you have to pay for the percentage of the month that you have the device (so around £3.50 for 7 days), it should be yours to use as you please.

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Is the mobile phone industry recession proof? Answer us Robert Peston

Sure I know some of you, like me, will be thinking “recession, what recession? I haven’t heard anything about a recession.”  (That was all written in my special sarcasm font). But apparently there is a recession taking place. A thought that just entered my head is that I haven’t heard of any real impact on the mobile phone sector of the economy. 

 

Well, I don’t think the mobile phone industry is, and a quick Google soon found others, and others that are far more qualified than me to comment, agreeing. Which I found incredibly interesting.

 

I am about to fire off an email to see if I can find out whether targets and sales in retail stores are down on last year. I am certainly hoping I get a response to this as it would be incredibly interesting to see if this is about the only market on the high street not being hit by the recession. Not only that, consider the level of bail outs for other industries (cars, banking, etc.), while the mobile industry is only making more and more money. Will the mobile industry end up like the greedy banking industry devouring more and more, ever obsessed by profit until it implodes? I doubt it. Is the mobile industry the safe place to keep money tied up in shares of in banks?? Intriguing, and completely out of my league of financial thinking. We need Robert Peston.

Rolando

Roalndo is a rather fun game for the iPhone which came out recently. I say recently as there seems to be a little disagreement over when it came out, I think it came out yesterday- 18 December.

 

Very fun, if somewhat infuriating game. It costs £5.99 which feels a little steep, but I think there is probably more than enough play on it for that price. Essentially Rolando is a cartoon puzzle game in which you must save so man Rolandos on each level. This is all accompanied by some rather good music, particularly Mr Scruff’s Spandex man. It has been getting excellent reviews on the app store, currently averaging at 4 1/2 stars. Toucharcade give a pretty good review, but I thought i’d throw my thrupence in having paid for the game.

The joys of modern technology

Well, it had to happen at some time, my first rant about something. Unsurprisingly it is not something to do with real mobile phone news of any kind, nor a particularly annoying feature on a handset, well actually it is kind of a feature on a handset.

 

It is about the nasty little buggers surrounding me on this train who are playing music through their mobile phone speaker. I mean really, I don’t want to hear your dammed hardhouse  nor your equally erksome techno, and I suspect that no one else on this train wants to.  At least have some self-respect and stop dancing to the crappy music being played at very low quality through a low level Sony Ericsson W350. Before anyone suggests I mean merely a moaning oldie or anything like that, I would like to point out that I am a tender 22-years. To the best of my memory I have never played music through the speaker of my phone except when in more ‘private’ circumstances.  

 

I guess this would be an interesting way of testing the quality of mobile phone speakers. Give some nasty little chavs one for a train journey and see how they perform in pissing off other passengers. 

 

Bah-Humbug.

Vodafone returns update

Just been told that Vodafone have had a change of policy on returns. To quote the staff member that told me:

“its 14 days for faulty equipment only, returned as sold, with receipt, excluding netbooks as warranty not covered by us only covered by dell so no returns, christmas returns up to 8th Jan.”

Which is a shame, makes me lose a little faith in Vodafone to be quite honest. I mean essentially you have to make up a fault in order to return, because if it was faulty you would merely want to exchange, not return. Idiocy. So my advice if you want to return a Vodafone product, is make up some kind of software error which doesn’t occur all the time. I have emailed to find out if this is the case, and will update this post when I know.

Mobile broadband, o2 customer service and returns policies

Well after a weeks illness and traveling related absence from the blog, I am back. Back with a few bits to update on. 

 

The first is that on a visit home to Wrexham and Llangollen, I attempted to see if any of the networks would work in either town. After asking round the various networks only Orange suggested that theirs would work in Llangollen. This is not surprising as reception in Llangollen is notoriously bad. Anyway, what alarmed me was on quizzing the shop assistant who had worked there some years, she tried to claim that 8Mbs would be achieved on the 2g network, no, no, no. Anyway, after going to a different shop they told me that Llangollen should receive the 3g signal. However, they hadn’t bargained for the 8 foot thick walls my house has, suffice to say it didn’t work on the 3g network.

 

Another issue I had with Orange is that they only allow a 7 day period return of the modem. It would appear that T-Mobile have a slightly unsure return policy as well.  This is in stark contrast to Vodafone, o2 and 3 who all 14-day returns policy on all products as long as they have all packaging and aren’t damaged. So exercise caution when dealing with Orange and T-Mobile because you haven’t got long to make your mind up. Particularly worrying if you are mis-sold something.

 

As a final point on the mobile broadband. I also had some issues with the Icon 225 being compatible with my Mac. It seemed difficult to tell whether it was working at its full ability on it. I phoned customer services (at 8pm, not a great time to call) and got passed to technical support. Apparently the guy I was talking to was level 2. He basically couldn’t help. He was going to pass me to level 3, the highest, as they should be able to deal with Mac issues. Anyway, half of the level 3 staff were on their break meaning that there were only two level 3 staff on the phones. i.e. Only  four level 3 staff were working! So I would have had to wait some time. Suffice to say I asked him to leave notes on my account and said I would call back the next day.

 

Finally, popped into 02 thinking they could quickly and easily check if the insurance had been taken off my iPhone by customer services. “Can’t check that mate, only customer services can see that.” Well what the hell can you do????? I mean honestly while at Vodafone I was always told we did so much more in store than other networks, but honestly…… They can’t even check if insurance has been taken off your account!

Sneak peak at the Nokia N97

Just found this on a website, which is apparently the Nokia N97. Looks pretty ugly and un-wieldy to be honest. We shall see.

Blackberry Storm Mac synching and G1 synching

I am essentially quoting someone else’s blog (which I am trying not to do on this blog hence linking to reviews rather than repeating them), but it has been pointed out/reminded to me that Blackberry phones are useless sodding devices. Well, no thats not entirely fair.

 

I just say this as they simply don’t work with macs. As for the new Blackberry storm, to quote Stephen Fry, “Incidentally, if you are a Mac user it seems that RIM, Verizon and Vodafone would prefer that you didn’t buy this phone. Updates are achieved, not Over The Air, but online via the desktop only through the Windows version of BlackBerry Tools or by downloading a Windows executable file using Internet Explorer only. There is no Mac or OTA alternative. That is also true of the Bold. Oh well. At least Vodafone offers an option whereby you can drop off a phone for upgrade at one of their stores. Though after you’ve spent a few days with the blasted thing, an option whereby you can drop it off one their roofs for destruction will strike you as preferable.”

 

A second (and an update to this blog) issue I have come across. Again this is from Mr Fry’s blog, is that there are some pretty big issues synching a G1 with a PC or Mac. To quote, “You cannot sync the G1 with your PC or Mac – your music files have either to be downloaded OTA (your best bet may be Amazon’s DRM-free collection) or copied from your computer onto a MicroSD card that is then inserted in the G1. Cumbersome and disappointing.”

Stephen Fry mobile reviews

Couple of quick things to mention. First off is just a link to Stephen Fry’s blog where he has reviewed a few smartphones: the blackberry bold, blackberry storm and the G1. A rather long review, with an even longer intro, but I find Fry’s writing generally  is pretty entertaining. I should point out that Fry says the Bold is exclusive to Orange in the UK, but it is also on Vodafone.

 

Speaking of Blackberry phones, I meant to mention the Blackberry have released a software update for the Storm which should iron out some of its problems. In theory. The problems it is designed to fix are touchscreen issues, accelerometer lag (Thats the things which detects movement of the phone and will adjust the screen accordingly) and some of the software problems.

Vodafone wireless router

In January Vodafone enterprise are to release a wireless router for their mobile broadband modems. This will mean that multiple users will be able to use one modem to access the internet. I’m not entirely sure what consequences this will have for internet speeds, they will certainly slow, the question is how much. It also means that the usage allowance will get used up much more quickly. Added to that it could well make it difficult to keep a check on how near the usage limits you are (as it will possibly tell you the readings for each individual computer using the wireless router rather than total usage). Unfortunately this is all conjecture at the moment, but points well worth making all the same.

 Other than the description available on the website, the most I can get about the router is that, “The B970 (the name of the router) is an HSDPA 7.2Mbps and HSUPA 2.1Mbps wireless gateway which supports GSM850/900/1800/1900 networks, providing telephony services and multiple user experiences through WiFi connectivity.”  For those not sure on what the terms are referring to, HSDPA refers to download speeds, while HSUPA refers to upload speeds. Well essentially anyway. I would apologise for the wikipedia links, but I’m not going to, it does the job well.

 

Another point worth mentioning is that since the device is through Vodafone enterprise, it would probably have to be special requested by a store in order to get it in stock.