My window to the world

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.

The Windows Mojave experiment results

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Jul-2008 11:18

Yesterday I posted about Microsoft Windows Mojave, an experiement in perception.

A set of people were asked what they think is bad on Windows Vista during the Mojave Experiment. Their answers were recorded.  They were then shown "Microsoft Windows Mojave", a new operating system that impressed everyone.

Microsoft then revealed "Windows Mojave" and "Windows Vista" are the same one.

I have just found out the full "Mojave Experiment" results will be available 29th July on The Mojave Experiment website.

You interview the CEO: Telecom NZ Dr Paul Reynolds waiting your questions

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jul-2008 15:19

It took some time, but it happened. We now have a discussion open in our Telecom New Zealand forum, waiting for your questions to CEO Dr Paul Reynolds.

The idea is simple: people can post their questions in the thread, and after a week I will be forwarding these to get his answers. I will then post the answers on Geekzone.

We have done this before with other major telcos in New Zealand - check the answers for Orcon, TelstraClear, and WorldxChange.

Thanks to the Telecom folks who helped us get there!

In the clouds is not always safe...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jul-2008 14:57

How well companies that offer something for "free" can do with a subscription option?

When there are so many "free" things on the web, one has to wonder how companies can keep their products up and running (or even if they can manage to get out of beta).

Some companies just don't. They close the service and tell the customers to get out of here:

Personal Media: Bluestring, Xdrive and AOL Pictures will be sunset. These consumer storage products haven't gained sufficient traction in the marketplace or the monetization levels necessary to offset the high cost of their operation. We have found that building media management applications within the context of a social experience is a more rapid and effective way to grow the business. For example, today the Bebo audience is uploading over three million photos per day. To effectively grow the XDrive online storage business we would need to focus on subscription revenues vs. monetizing through advertising revenue, and this business model is not in strategic alignment with our company's goals. We are exploring plans to migrate our users assets to ensure the best possible transition experience.

This is part of the memo AOL sent out to staff explaning the end of some of their services - including Xdrive an on-line storage service that offered 5 GB of storage free to anyone.

There's a reason why people buy external drives for home or buy Windows Home Server or NAS boxes. First broadband speed sucks around the world. Then the services don't work as expected or not as easily (Xdrive is only one that I know that could be mounted as a drive on your OS so you could just copy things from and to instead of having to open a browser window). And even so it was very unstable.

Which leads me to the next one: the on-line service businesses seem to be quite unreliable - unless they are a subscription service with a SLA, not a freebie. But even so sith happens.

When there are lots of free things, some won't last long.

Update Windows Live Mobile or not?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jul-2008 13:51

This week we got the news Microsoft has released an update for Windows Live Mobile. No, don't go updating your Windows Mobile Pocket PC yet. Read on.

First the good news: this update enhances Windows Live on your Windows Mobile. Great. But if you have Windows Live Messenger on your device (installed by an OEM), don't install this update yet. Read more.

Windows Live Mobile is really cool - it enables push e-mail for your Windows Live accounts (this includes Hotmail and even the Geekzonemail accounts).

Here is the bad news: Microsoft stopped providing Windows Live Messenger with Windows Live Mobile - a departure from earlier versions. And if you have an old Windows Live Mobile version with Windows Live Messenger, installing this new version will disable the Messenger component.

The Windows Live Messenger files are still in the system, but the program won't start at all. Uninstalling the "update" will automatically revert to the previous version and enable Windows Live Messenger again.

What is really annoying is that Microsoft makes Windows Live Messenger available for RIM BlackBerry users, but leave Windows Mobile users in the cold, waiting for operators to release their software (which we all know ain't gonna happen any time soon).

If you don't have Windows Live Mobile on your device (some OEMs don't include it), then you can download it now - and use a third party software for communicating with friends on Windows Live Messenger. Try one of the following:

- Fring (free, multiple IM systems, Skype, SIP, Twitter)
- Pocket MSN
- MSN Messenger Force

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. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

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.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

Find more about Business Transformation | Enterprise Content Management | Customer Relationship Management

Social networks presence

View Mauricio Freitas's profile on LinkedIn

My Blog by tags...

State of Browsers...
Viral Marketing...
Web Performance Optimization...
Windows Phone...

Other recent posts in my blog

Google crawling Geekzone HTTPS...
Geekzone gone full HTTPS...
Microsoft Ignite New Zealand, ...
If the headlines indicate the ...
Geekzone data analytics with P...
State of browsers Geekzone Mar...
2Cheap Cars discussion...
Now with more fibre...
Unlimited is not unlimited: Vo...
How bad is Vodafone cable at t...

New posts on Geekzone