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Telecom... 850MHz WCDMA/HSDPA announcement coming?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Aug-2008 14:55

Rumours are going around that Telecom New Zealand will announce tomorrow nationwide deployment of 850 MHz UMTS (WCDMA/HSDPA).

Telecom's original plans were for 850MHz GSM/EDGE in rural areas and 2100MHz WCDMA in the cities.

Let's see what is happening, tomorrow...

Prepare for another bubble FAIL: Yahoo!Xtra cancelling Flickr PRO status?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Aug-2008 11:13

UPDATE: read the bottom for an update.

Arghhh. When are things going to look good for the Telecom Yahoo!Xtra team and their included premium services? Ive just posted this in our Geekzone forums and contacted Telecom - someone is looking into this now:

Hi freitasm_xtra,

Your Flickr Pro account expired on . You have 316 photos but you're now only seeing the last 200!

Perhaps you'd like to renew your Pro account?

You'll even get 3 months free for purchasing before 30 September 2008!

You can learn more here:

The Flickreenos

No date in the "expired on", and indeed my PRO status is gone. Another storm coming? Or is just my account?

I contacted the Telecom support and received a response, which is obviously not good enough. I don't think I should be contacting Flickr since this is a Telecom service:

I am sorry to hear about your Flickr Pro account has been cancelled. Unfortunately we do not support the Flickr here, I would need to refer your to the help section within There is a "contact us" option on this page that maybe your best option.

I can confirm that your Xtra account is all active and can see no reason why you shouldn't have a valid Flickr account.

UPDATE: After talking to someone at Telecom New Zealand the case was escalated to Yahoo! in the U.S. It looks like there aren't any other cases of accounts being cancelled so let's see how it goes - waiting for my account to be reinstated.

UPDATE: The Flickr team at some point reprovisioned the account and it is all fine again. Also their team member Tara posted in the forums to confirm this was ok.

InternetNZ ACTA submission

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Aug-2008 19:20

I am just reading the InternetNZ newsletter The Browser and I would like to bring attention to the InternetNZ ACTA submission.

The Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is being negotiated internationally by some nations, including New Zealand, and it affects everyone's lives in many countries, including New Zealand, Australia, the U.S, Mexico and E.U.

This is what the InternetNZ distributed to its members and I recommend you read the InternetNZ ACTA submission:

ACTA seeks to impose a raft of enforcement measures which have the potential to further erode citizens’ fair-use rights in respect of digital copyrighted material.

For instance, a global legal regime for Internet distribution of copyright protected works may be introduced.

To date, negotiations have been held behind closed doors and publicly-available information is scant, with the exception of an ACTA discussion document leaked online.

In response to a call for submissions from the Ministry of Economic Development, InternetNZ filed a submission in July that expressed a range of concerns the Society has with Internetrelated aspects understood to be under consideration.

For example, ACTA may see the introduction of procedures enabling rights holders to expeditiously obtain information from ISPs identifying alleged infringers, and could also introduce remedies against circumvention of technological protection measures.

InternetNZ Executive Director Keith Davidson questions the need for New Zealand to be discussing Internet provisions as part of ACTA.

“We already have legislation - the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008 - that covers off the illegal distribution of digital sound and video recordings via the Internet. The Act also deals with circumvention of technological prevention measures and with repeat digital copyright infringers.

“Further, the Act has only recently been passed, with many of its newly-amended and introduced provisions yet to take root and be fully tested,” he says.

InternetNZ believes that the proposed ACTA Internet distribution and information technology provisions, if implemented, will do little to strengthen New Zealand’s existing measures against digital copyright infringement.

The Society is also concerned that they may coincidentally further restrict what should be the legitimate use of digital content by New Zealanders.

“We strongly urge the Government to adopt a wait-and-see approach with respect to the effectiveness of New Zealand’s amended Copyright Act before committing to sweeping multilateral digital copyright enforcement measures as part of ACTA,” says Davidson.

Geekzone increasing numbers

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Aug-2008 16:28

I've just looked at our numbers on Nielsen//Netratings for July 2008...

In terms of page views we had 25.72% increase (total traffic), with 45.04% increase in our New Zealand traffic.

This comes from a Unique Browsers increase of 8.37% (total traffic) and 19.33% (New Zealand traffic).

Great stuff! Thanks to all our users, thanks to our moderators, thanks to everyone!

Vodafone New Zealand and customer services

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Aug-2008 10:37

Here we go again, another rant on telco services in New Zealand. The fact is someone has to write about those things, because there isn't any indication that either are getting better or that any association will bring this up - bad customer services is in the same as high data roaming fees.

It looks like people are always complaining about Vodafone's customer services (ref 1, 2, 3). I have experience their "customer service" myself before porting my number out to Telecom.

The most common issue seems to be customer services people promising to fix things and not doing it. Or promising to call back and not doing it. Or people sending e-mails to Vodafone and no receiving a reply.

Every week I receive one or another email from someone trying to contact Vodafone to solve account problems. Why they contact Geekzone instead of Vodafone is something else to discuss - blame "browse by Google" - but I read some interesting stories, mostly people complaining about requests to the customer services not being actioned.

It seems the main problem is "not doing it". Well, "not doing it" doesn't cut, specially now that Vodafone is charging prepay customer $1 per call to their help desk when a human being is involved (and don't worry, you don't count - it's the human being on the other side of the line).

Of course problems happens with other operators and Internet providers - actually it happens so much that an industry body was created to help resolve problems that are not solved.

The Telecommunications Dispute Resolution (TDR) is here to help. There are rules you must follow. Before going and filling a complaint you should read How the Process Works and How to Make a Complaint.

The TDR issues a quarterly report of its activities. In its second report you find that Billing and Credit are 45% of the complaints, with Service/Product Deliver coming in second with 31%. Customer Services comes in third with 11% and Network Performance is fhourth with 8%.

Perhaps after you lodge a formal complaint Vodafone and others will fix their customer services?

How do you feel about laptop searches when crossing borders?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Aug-2008 10:05

Words fail me. This is something I would expect from old regimes: "Travellers' laptops may be detained at border".

More information here and here.

Vodafone NZ looking for VDSL2 beta testers

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 31-Jul-2008 22:50

Vodafone New Zealand is looking for people interested in trial their new VDSL2 super fast landline broadband service - with speeds up to 30 Mbps/down and 15 Mbps/up.

If you live in the Ponsonby area (Auckland), check this post on Geekzone with instructions and more information (including map to see if you qualify).

Vodafone new $1 for 10 MB casual mobile data rate: save with optimisation

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Jul-2008 20:46

Vodafone New Zealand has started today to charge casual mobile data usage in a different way. If you don't have a data plan but use your mobile to browse the Internet then you will pay no more than $1 per day for up to 10 MB (ten megabytes) of traffic.

Traffic over this will be charged on a $1 per MB rate. Check all Vodafone mobile broadband plans here.

Vodafone makes a few different APNs available for mobile data connection. The "optimised experience" (i.e. compressed) APN is only automatically activated if you are in GPRS coverage.

If you want to always use the "optimised experience" then you might want to configure your device to use the "" APN.

More bang for your buck.

Attending the IBM Forum 2008 in Wellington

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Jul-2008 10:43

Cool, it's that time of the year again when the IBM Forum is on. I've attended previous events and it's always an interesting day.

Here's a bit about this event:

IBM Forum 2008 focuses on Sustainable Innovation, starting with the keynote, Ray Avery, a kiwi scientist and entrepreneur; founder CEO of Medicine Mondiale. Ray is developing sustainable products and technologies for world markets, such as his latest invention “Proteinforte”. Ray will be talking about global opportunities for high tech innovation in healthcare, education and infrastructure.

Also on the agenda, Edward Orange, Director of Lotus Software of IBM Asia Pacific, will be talking about Web 2.0 and how it can be leveraged by enterprises of all sizes to help revolutionise the way they conduct business, help employees collaborate more effectively and enhance their client outreach.

The agenda also features a session on 'Co-Web: re-mixing audio and video collaboration in the next generation of the Internet’ and ‘Demystifying SOA - driving business agility with service orientated business applications’, as well as insights into the latest advances in strategy and technology; customer stories and interactive demonstrations.

The full day event is happening in Wellington (11th August, Michael Fowler Centre), Auckland (14th August, Hyatt Hotel) and Christchurch (19th August, Convention Centre).

Registrations are open now.

Unleash your Vodafone iPhone

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Jul-2008 13:50

We all know the Vodafone iPhone is not SIM or network locked. You can purchase the handset outright, paying full price and just use it with a prepay SIM card or any other network's SIM card.

We also know that because of its current APN configuration it will only have voice and SMS on prepay. The current APN configured in the iPhone is not "visible" to prepay accounts.

But there's a very legal way around this. You can change the configuration on your iPhone by visiting UnlockIt - APN changer for iPhone.

The author LennonNZ has posted some UnlockIt statistics in our forums.

So many people benefited from it, and so little was paid back. I recommend you make a donation if you use the site to "unlock" your Vodafone iPhone.

freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
New Zealand

I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums.

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

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