iPhone meltdown in NZ

There is a major meltdown of customer service expectations taking place over the way the launch of the new 3G capable iPhones are being mis-managed in New Zealand this week.

Go over to iPhone data plan aggregation to read some of the debate (around 50+ comments so far on a site that management might actually read.)

There is also a firestorm over at various other tech and media sites which I don’t read myself but maybe you do.

The background issue is that mobile data is still too expensive for most people to use and even worse it still only runs at close to dial up speed according to the Check your coverage link – in my area here are the results (If it is very slow why does anyone actually care about data on a mobile phone?)

2G/2.5G coverage in your area – Best (Green graph)

“This location has a very strong signal, so you will definitely experience excellent quality for all services. Your mobile data connection will be as fast as a dial-up connection.”

The TV interview being referred to is  TV 3 Campbell Live here If you didn’t see it already you should.

While Mark may not have seen the exact plans referred to by John Campbell it is sophistry to imply that the management and marketing teams didn’t research all of the pricing models available and he was well aware that pricing comparisons would be made.

Vodafone then made a judgement call on pricing models and it has backfired in a big way.

A few weeks back much was made of new data plans also at Rods site see 1-a-day/ and apparently these plans simply don’t apply to the iPhone. Plan choices are very restricted and quite inflexible.

To quote Bruce Hoult (Comment by Bruce Hoult at 9:40 am on 9 July 2008)

“Also that “$1 a day” casual data rate Paul Brislen was so happy about a few weeks ago, where everyone in the thread was talking about “that will go well with the iPhone”? It seems the iPhone is the ONLY phone you can’t use those with. Vodafone’s iPhone FAQ clearly says that if you don’t buy a data plan then you can’t use the internet AT ALL, and that the $1 a day is not available. Wtf???”

My conclusion is that if you get an IPhone at present the only reasonable way to use it without major data expense is on the WiFi networks like CafeNet or Tomizone* if they are available in your area.

*Been trying to locate hotspots at Tomizone there is a google map like interface but it’s very clumsy and slow and really hard to use on an almost dead connection anyway.

It would be much easier if I could navigate to a city or even suburb and do my searching at that level.

Speaking of data speeds I have a more fundamental local problem. My existing broadband connection is almost dead.

The obvious culprit is school holidays and the fact that yootoob is way more interesting that most NZ television.

In fact my internet connection has slowed so much that I can even complete the recommended speed test. Try it yourself although that site may have crashed out (won’t work anymore on IE 7)but Firefox 3 is OK.

Have a look at this screen-shot. It is quite typical and this test eventually got timed out.

I won’t say at this point who my ISP is but let’s just say I’m making plans to get service from a different company. It has simply been too hard to upgrade to ADSL2.

I can still get speeds of up to 1mb during the day at up to 3mb at midnight but that is not terribly useful when most of my work involves accessing web based software applications.

If you look closely the test immediately before this one got to a download speed of 1.7mb downstream which is sad but usable.

previous Broadband speed test

On a brighter note: If you are one of the 5000 or more people in NZ who already have an iPhone (or an iTouch) for that matter can you please tell me how this blog site looks on your screen.

I’m running a series of filters that are meant to detect iPhone / iTouch and display accordingly.

Hopefully it works and normal internet speeds will be restored soon but switching suppliers is not an easy thing. It seems like a huge opportunity for customer service people to excel and I hope they do.

(TBC in a later instalment.) Hope and trust your day is going better.

Update 6pm: Telecom announces a new 3G broadband device which looks promising on many levels. Maybe number portability could work in teh opposite direction and telecom will get lots of new customers from this.

“Telecom’s 3G mobile broadband network was upgraded with rev a technology last year which means Telecom’s cell sites now have the ability to deliver average download speeds of 800Kbps and 300Kbps upload, resulting in an experience much closer to DSL broadband on customers’ mobile devices.”

Now higher data speeds and capped rates with SMS warnings and a 30 day money back consumer protection all sounds like a breath of fresh air. I never thought I be pleasantly surporsed by a new Telecom product but I am.