Posts tagged Telecom

ZTE V9

Telecom to release an iPad killer – yeah right!

12

A source inside Telecom has told me that they is about to release their own tablet to compete with the iPad.

Here’s my take on this: DUMB!

WHY WHY WHY?  This is almost as bad (although not as big) as their decision to ignore GSM for so long and stick with their old CDMA network.

Why go against the grain?  Why invest resources (time and money) to advertise a product that 1% of the population will want (or use).  Even if you sell it to corporates due to a low price point, users of it will hate it coz it’s not an iPad (and hate both Telecom and their employer in the process).  OK, maybe I am overstating that, but it’s just a STUPID call IMHO.   How many times can I say DUMB?

But for anyone interested (not that it matters) here are the specs:

  • RRP: $399.00
  • OS: Andriod 2.1
  • 7″ resistive touch screen
  • 3mp back facing camera

Sure the price is nice, and the camera is better than the iPad, but if one thing Apple has taught us is that people will pay for things they WANT, regardless of specs.

That’s all I have for you now, but it’s enuf to say EPIC FAIL in my view.

Update 30/3/11: Rumor is its this model: TheZTE V9.  Full details of Telecoms new tablet here.  (note this is still all rumours)

 

Black and White Version: Telecom are retuning to their past and making strategic blunders.  Here’s a tip for you Telecom: Bite the bullet and buy some iPhones guys!

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Prepaid Top-up - Telecom NZ Ltd

Telecom – great deal, but too many steps

10

Partly to show that I will call out Telecom when they trip up too (not just Voda), and partly coz I think on this one Telecom are just DUMB, here’s my commentary about Telecom’s systems for topping up mobile broadband.

Background

Today I swapped my iPad XT sim from the 2GB post pay plan ($59.95 a mth) to a pre-pay plan (so 10c/meg up to $29.95, and then nothing till 500MB, and then 10c again till $59.90 and free till 1GB).  An awesome deal, especially since iPads don’t use THAT much data (esp when they are set up to use WiFi at home/work/airports etc) and I don’t use the iPad for massive data intensive applications (mainly email, web, apps etc).

The issue

Anyway, all was fine with the swap (very easy).  Getting a password set for my sim so I could log in and check data usage was a tad harder (since it sends a text  to the sim).  Lucky I had an iPhone 4 handy that I could throw the sim in – I wonder how others do this for data-sticks etc?    Why not have an option to email, or even just show it on screen?  Anyway , that wasn’t the big issue).

My main issue was with top up of Telecom Pre-Pay.  Firstly, finding it was not easy.  Why is a link not on the mobile broadband page?  I have to go through three more steps > click Pre-Pay Plans (top right) THEN at the bottom of the page click Topping Up Your Mobile Broadband THEN click on Top up Online (about a 3rd of the way down the page).  Why so hard?   Why so hidden? Isn’t topping up (i.e. paying money) one of the MAIN things Telecom would want to encourage people to do online – if not THE main thing. But that’s not the biggie.

The BIG issue I have is with the whole unnecessary step of providing my payment details and sim # on the web page, and then getting a voucher code that I then have to call an 0800 # to redeem, and AGAIN providing my sim # etc.  Why not just skip this 2nd step entirely?  I provide my sim # with payment, why not just top it up based on that? The whole system appears very 90s.  If was overseas and doing this, I couldn’t (since they only offer 0800 numbers to call).    Seams unnecessarily cumbersome.  I was also surprised I could only top up $60.  Why?  Why not $200?   I don’t want to be topping up every 2 months!  I would gladly throw 200 bucks on it now and let it remind me in 6 months when it’s running low.

The fix

All (and I mean ALL) of the overseas sim cards I have, allow me to top up online without having the sim on, or even in a phone, and I can remotely check the balance VERY easily.  Telecom should let me log in and then top up, any amount, at any time, from any location via their web page. They have my details, they have the ability to charge credit cards, and know my sim # (since I am logged in), so just do it!   Although I have to say the online usage check bit works fine now – I can log into it via the web page or via the cool wee Consume App on my iPhone and check how much data I have used.  Unlike when I was on post-pay, since Telecom are yet to allow any corporate customers the ability to check usage online – another gripe.  Surely this group are MORE important to Telecom!

Anyway .. enuf said.  Gripe over (for now).

Black and White: Taking money of people should be made EASY, not hidden in 3 levels of web page clicks.  And it should be one step, not two!

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bullshit-stamp

Vodafone – the good and the bad and the bullshit

1

Any reader of this blog will know I like Telecom’s XT network.  And no, I am not paid to say that, I don’t work for, nor have I ever worked for a telco (or a supplier to one). I have always just been a customer/end user.

Anyway, I have commented before about how Vodafone’s network does have issues too, but Vodafone issues often go unreportedWell the lastest issue that Voda has are causing quite a stir (along with this blog post on Voda’s crappy network)- not the least of which because they are denying its a problem.   I found their recent excuse most laughable (from this NZ Herlad Story)

At certain times of the day there’s a lot of congestion … What happens in Wellington is they come out of a meeting and all switch on their iPhones at the same time and find it’s congested.

This is either spin (which I think it is) or Vodafone has very serious problems. If a network can’t handle a few dozens smart phones turning on at the same time in a major city, then the network has MAJOR issues.  How do they handle airports (aka a few hundred?)   Actually come to think of it, this is bullshit, since 99% of people don’t even turn phones off, they just put them on silent when in meetings.  So yeah .. cut the crap Vodafone!

Anyway .. the good news is Voda are planning a speed upgrade (maybe because XT keeps kicking their arse in speed tests?)

Good to see voda also understand the real value of their 2G GSM network too

Baird also announced that Vodafone will push out the life of its aging GSM network until at least 2020. If there are problems on the 3G network customers default to the 2G network – ensuring, in most cases, that there is no total loss of service.

He said that customers value the GSM network as a “fall back position”.

“They like the redundancy it offers, so we’ve made the call to keep the GSM network operational for at least another decade.”

I’ve blogged about this a lot, how one of Telecoms issues is they have no fallback from XT (their other network is incompatible).

The BIG difference I see here is how Telecom (XT) and Vodafone respond to their issues.  Telecom fronted up and admitted it, and did something about it while Voda seam to be in denial mode.  Not a good look voda. (In fairness, XT’s issues were more significant, but that’s not the point I am making here – it’s not whether or not issues happen, it’s what they do about them when they do).

Black and White Version: Voda network appears to be under pressure, and lots of unhappy campers.  Speed upgrades coming.

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the fonze

OMG might Telecom actually be cool?

1

I have been meaning to blog about this for a while.  And that’s the rise of Telecom vs Vodafone in NZ, and who wins in the cool stakes.

Actually I should take a step back, let’s first talk about the FALL of Telecom.  When Bell South came along in NZ it got a whole bunch of high end business users, but was not regarded as mainstream by many.  From memory, estimates were it had around 10% market share.  It also had coverage issues, especially in Auckland.

When Vodafone bought Bell South in 1998, their market share begun to steadily climb, for a whole bunch of reasons:

  1. It had a superior product (GSM sim card based tech vs CDMA)
  2. Better phones (more GSM handsets from the then market leader Nokia)
  3. Telecom was the atypical monopoly, and people hated them, so anyone who wasn’t them was perceived as better
  4. Most important, IMHO, Vodafone was COOL.  Telecom was boring, old and .. well, not cool.  Vodafone marketed this very well at the time.

(more…)

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Yellow Pages Logo

Yellow Pages – straight in the bin!

6

Today I had a nice new copy of the Yellow Pages and White Pages delivered to my home.  So I picked them up, and put then straight in the recycle bin outside.  I did peak inside the white pages (coz it was smaller than last year) but that’s all.  They have no use to me anymore.   I wonder how many people even use the physical version anymore?

I think the online service is still relevant (although diminishing with every year), I use Google 10x more than I would ever use Yellow Pages for online searching to get “stuff”.

I remember a few years back when Telecom sold off Telecom Directories for a few billion $ and thought at the time good call, since the long term future of Yellow Pages (and physical directories in general) was dead.  Yellow Pages online presence competes in the same sandpit as Google, and I know who’s gonna win that one!

Anyway, interesting how times change.  Only 10 years ago any business not in the Yellow Pages that sold stuff to the public would have been thought of as crazy.  Now it’s more like why would you?.  I think the modern equivalent is being online – you HAVE to be there (I know if I cant find info online I would rarely buy from a company these days).

As an aside, one might ask WHY they still produce the books if no one uses them.  Why not OFFER the book and see who takes it up? Well the answer is easy: Advertising.  If Yellow Pages did that they couldn’t claim x million copies in circulation.  What a waste of trees.

Black and White Version: Yellow Pages physical directory is dead in NZ.  I wonder how long before the online version is?

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mobiles

Mobile Termination Rates Will be Regulated in New Zealand

0

YES!  Finally. WOOWHOO!

After all the attempts by the big two (Vodafone and Telecom) to stop this, it’s gonna now happen.  And this is GOOD for any mobile user in NZ.  It will also help 2Degrees to grow and be a more effective 3rd player.  The reason this is so important to 2Degrees is that 95%+ of mobile users are on Voda or Telecom connections they can’t drop their rates too much because of the high Mobile Termination Rate (the amount Telcos pay each other to interconnect). Anyway .. this will help this big time and enable 2Degrees to lower its rates further and further drive down prices!

The Telecommunications Minister, Stephen Joyce, has announced Mobile Termination Rates will be regulated:

Mr Joyce says he considers that accepting the Commission’s recommendation meets this test and in this case will lead to lower mobile termination rates and more competitive mobile pricing plans for consumers.

“Following today’s decision I look forward to New Zealand mobile users enjoying more competition between operators and better prices.”

The next step is to add mobile termination access services to schedule 1 of the Telecommunications Act by regulation. The Commerce Commission will then go through a process to set prices and other terms which mobile carriers must offer. This process will likely take a few months.

And who do we have to thank?  Well the boys at droptherate for an excellent campaign AND of course a big thanks to Vodafone, for their own goal (yep they sure screwed up).   Sucks to be you eh Vodafone? <grin>

Black and White Version: Well done on regulating mobile termination rates Mr Joyce!

HatTip: Kiwiblog

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iPad1a

iPad dataplans in NZ (updated for 2Degrees)

10

A week or so ago I did a post about iPad data plans in NZ, and included some nifty wee graph of the various plans etc.

Well 2Degrees have gone and made that post redundant with their new plans, so here is is again, UPDATED.

There are some (new) assumptions that need to be made here which are all noted, and the whole 60/90 day expiry with 2Degrees makes it less easy to compare across providers, so I have done the basic use it all in month one option, along with a more sophisticated graph.

UPDATE 4th Aug 2010: I have fixed 2 errors already.  Voda was recorded as 500MB (should be 250MB) for $20, and, and 2Degrees was 15GB (should be 10GB).  All fixed now.  Thanks Reece and Brett for spotting these!

My assumptions (important, so please read):

  • 1GB = 1000MB (not sure if this is how telcos in NZ charge or not to be honest, but I have been consistent with this, so it will make very little difference).
  • All rounded to the nearest dollar.     X axis is always in MB.     Y axis  is in $.
  • XT plans are the Pre-pay versions (so you get the 10c/MB till you hit the cap)
  • I have just put in the pre-pay plans, as that way it’s consistent and fair (and less lines!).
  • I am assuming Vodaphone do allow 10c/MB for over rates (their web site doesn’t say, not that I can find!)
  • No allowance is made for any difference in part charges or min charges per connection (no idea if this makes a lot of difference or not!)
  • The graph shows a straight line line between each data point, which is right EXCEPT all 2Degrees plans, where it SHOULD jump up $6 every 50MB or $20 every 500 MB etc, and not a gradual progression as the graph shows.
  • It assumes you keep buying packs on 2Degrees when you run out.  In reality you get to use any unused data from that the next month, so the first two graphs are slightly unfair to 2Degrees just after each re-buy point (but the later ones try to compensate for that by spreading the data over 60 or 90 days.
  • No specials are allowed for – this is the ongoing rates the telcos charge (so the 2 Degrees paid for 2GB get 3GB is just shown as 2GB here, nor is the $10 discount for XT on contract shown)
  • It assumes you are in an area of 2Degrees Coverage (or else you need to ignore every 2Degrees col except the $6 one!).

Note: Click on any image for a larger view.

All plans – based on 30 day use it or lose it, up to 10GB

All plans – based on 30 days use it or lose it up to 1GB


All plans – based on average cost per month, factoring in expiry, up to 1GB


Plans 2GB or more – based on average cost per month, factoring in expiry, up to 5GB


Commentary (updated 4 Aug)

Any winner less clear cut now with 2Degrees in on things.  A reminder of course 2Degrees is only really an option for any moderate use if on the 500MB/2GB/15GB plans, and these are only available in ChCh/Welly/Akl and Queenstown. The 60 and 90 day expiry on the data on 2Degrees also is a MAJOR bonus, esp when you are a heavy user (2-3GB+ per month).  IN case you missed it, 2Degrres has a 60 day expiry on the 2GB packs, and 90 days on the 10GB.  2Degrees packs and expires explained here. All others are 30 days.  2Degrees is also the only carrier to allow you to just keep buying more of the same pack in a month (I checked this by calling them – yep you can buy a 2GB pack each week if you want – something you CANT do on XT or Vodafone).

I would say when you are on the right plan (for your chosen telco) the price diff isn’t MASSIVE. So for a few hundred MB it’s $20 or $30 (I know that’s 50%, but its only $10!), or its around $50-$60 for a couple of GB on all three. When it changes is when you go over that, or change your usage, and it can sting (for going over OR under).  XT is far better when you DON’T use it much for a month (the 10c/MB to start with, esp if you normally use a GB or two), and 2Degrees 60/90 day expiry is very handy if you top up mid month (the only one that allows multiple top ups through the month).  And remember to factor in coverage, and speed (XT wins hands down there).

If you go a LITTLE over a cap (eg use 501MB and on a 500MB plan on XT) the 10c/MB until it hits the next double up cap level (ie you get a further 500MB for $29.95, but once only) is both fair, and good value.    If you go A LOT over your cap 2Degrees is great value since you can just keep re-buying multiple top ups (the only telco in NZ to allow this – the other penalise massive over usage in a month, 2Degrees just says: Sure use some more at the same rate – much fairer!)  Also one should not underestimate the advantage of the 60 or 90 day expiry on 2Degrees.  If you are moderate use (say 750MB – 1GB a month) you can now buy a 2GB plan and use the data over 2 months (in effect $25 per month for 1GB/mth)  Fare cheaper than anything else available.

Personally, on balance, XT is still my pick (for my situation).  The $29.95 for 500MB or $59.95 for 2GB, combined with the 10c/MB until you hit the cap, and the 10c/MB if you go over it, and the $29.95 double up are all NICE things about the plan, but for me the clincher is the superior coverage and speed.  I would say for those living in a metro area (ChCh/Welly/Akl or Queenstown) who don’t move around a lot for work, 2Degree could well be the best option – but you just have to know the kinda data usage you will use in a month before hand (ie do you buy the $6 packs of the $20 ones type thing).   I have to say Vodafone is a poor 3rd (for me), for lots of reasons, but the main one is I just don’t like them any more and their customer service sucks, and their plans have no advantages over the others (at least XT and 2Degrees each has advantages and wee extras).

Raw Data

Raw Data – all plans, assuming 30 day use it or lose it (not a correct assumption for 2Degrees)

XT 500MB XT 2GB XT 4GB Voda 250MB Voda 3GB 2Deg 50MB 2Deg 500MB 2Deg 2GB 2Deg 10GB
1 MB $0 $0 $0 $20 $50 $6 $20 $50 $150
10 $1 $1 $1 $20 $50 $6 $20 $50 $150
50 $5 $5 $5 $20 $50 $6 $20 $50 $150
100 $10 $10 $10 $20 $50 $12 $20 $50 $150
500 $30 $50 $50 $45 $50 $60 $20 $50 $150
750 $55 $60 $80 $70 $50 $90 $40 $50 $150
1000 MB $60 $60 $80 $95 $50 $120 $40 $50 $150
2000 $160 $60 $80 $195 $50 $240 $80 $50 $150
3000 $260 $70 $80 $295 $50 $360 $160 $100 $150
4000 $360 $90 $80 $395 $150 $480 $280 $100 $150
5000 $460 $190 $110 $495 $250 $600 $440 $150 $150
6000 $560 $290 $110 $595 $350 $720 $640 $150 $150
7000 $660 $390 $110 $695 $450 $840 $880 $200 $150
8000 $760 $490 $110 $795 $550 $960 $1,160 $200 $150
9000 $860 $590 $210 $895 $650 $1,080 $1,480 $250 $150
10000MB $960 $690 $310 $995 $750 $1,200 $1,440 $250 $150

RAW DATA – With Expiry Dates.  Assumes even use each month

MB XT 500MB PP XT 2GB PP Voda 250MB Voda 3GB 2D 500MB 2Deg 2GB 2Deg 10GB
100 $10 $10 $20 $50 $20 $50 $50
500 $30 $50 $70 $50 $20 $50 $50
1000 $60 $60 $95 $50 $40 $50 $50
2000 $160 $60 $195 $50 $80 $50 $50
3000 $260 $70 $295 $50 $160 $75 $50
5000 $460 $190 $495 $250 $600 $125 $75

Other useful related links

Black and White Version: Even more choice – it’s good!

PS: Let me know if I missed anything or messed up any of the graphs!  I will fix it :-)


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BradandAnge

Telecom Split (just like Brad and Ange)

0

Great news (and about time).

While I am a big fan of XT, I am not a fan of the way Telecom have acted in general over the last 10 years.  IMHO, they have squeezed every last bit out of their monopoly on landlines (the network part), and duopoly on mobile, for years.  They have danced around the whole split thing, and teased us promising reform that never happened.

Finally it’s been announced that Telecom will split. Well kinda, the have announced the shareholders will vote on it.  Anyway about time, well done (if not a bit forced), but Telecom will likely split (as pointed out by KiwiBlog).  And this is ALL about Telecom being able to participate in the Government’s ultrafast broadband (UFB) investment initiative. While I don’t think it was every the intention of the Government to have this effect on Telecom (their policy was all about speeding up the building of UFB infrastructure in NZ), Telecom finally realised that if they don’t take part, the new UFB backbone will actually be a direct competitor to Telecom’s monopoly on land-line infrastructure in NZ.  Yep, the UFB infrastructure could allow Telecom competitors to simply use Voice over IP (VOIP) technology (and other tech) to directly compete with Telecom.  If they don’t play in the new UFB game, they could be just another me-too offering, bye-bye Telecom as we know it.

(more…)

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fail

iPhone NZ Launch FAIL

13

I promised myself that I wouldn’t post on the iPhone, iPad or anything Apple related for a while.  Well OK, I didn’t PROMISE, I thought about it. Kinda like people think about giving up smoking, or walking the dog, and then the moment passes.

Anyway .. this one is just too big (and bad) to give up on.

Today Apple was SUPPOSED to launch the iPhone 4 in NZ. MAJOR FAIL.

Here’s a wee summary:

  • The one official iPhone carrier Vodafone (and note they have no exclusivity in NZ, they are just the only one) provided NO information prior to launch day.  Nothing, ZIP. 
  • On launch day, people have queued up outside retailers (we don’t have Apple shops, so this is people like MagnumMac and Vodafone) only to be told “go away, nothing to see here”
  • Vodafone are entirely quiet on their twitter account despite being inundated by questions.  They are staying ZIP (for now). 
  • XT (Telecom) the non official carrier, that most people actually prefer to run an iPhone on, have even chipped in – see the post on the right.  Glad to see someone has a scene of humour!
  • The Apple NZ web site for iPhone still has “notify me” not buy now as the option (see image on right) as of 1.30pm on launch day
  • Lots of rumours about why no stock – some blame Apple, some Vodafone who are controlling it all
  • 1pm UPDATE: Vodafone have NOW announced the iPhone 4 is on sale from 1pm (ie now), but only on contract.

My thoughts:

Vodafone:

  • This is a mess for Vodafone NZ
  • However, this is NOT a Vodafone only issue.  They do NOT (IMHO) control stock in NZ.  They are the only authorised carrier, but it’s non exclusive.  Apple’s own web site says you can use it on any network you want
  • They have handled it VERY badly
  • You are pissing all the high end users off.  Just take a look at the online forums and iPhonenewzelanad to see that all the geek users (and I say that nicely) are all major XT fans already.  These geek users (my new term) influence others.  I know I do :-)

Apple

  • Gotta say, not impressed here either.  All that was needed was some basic info on your web site.  What was there was (and is) wrong.  Says avail from selected retailers – and all of them are saying “not us”.
  • Even Apple only released the price of ONE of the two iPhone 4 models prior to launch day.  As of today (launch day) we STILL don’t know the retail cost of the 32GB model.
  • What happened to your Premium Retailers?   MagnumMac should be your FIRST option to sell stuff, not Vodafone.  Vodafone are pissing off Apple customers.

Further rumours, and where to from here?

  • Apple will sell them form their web site from 7pm today UPDATE: It came online at 11pm, with a 3 week delay in delivery.
  • As much as people are saying this is bad (and it is), this won’t affect Apple sales ONE LITTLE BIT.  It just makes them look bad.  Very un-Apple like.
  • It WILL affect Vodafone.  It will further alienate them from the geek-users (see my comments above) and these people matter, even if they aren’t your customers
  • In the long term this will be a blip.  People will talk about it, but still buy the iPhone (or not buy the iPhone, but those people weren’t buying it anyway).

There is an EXCELLENT post on TUAW on the iPhone 4 launch fail in NZ.

Black and White Version: Major fail for Vodafone and Apple on iPhone Launch day in NZ, not that that will affect sales though.

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XT vs Vodafone on iPad

2

I have blogged about how XT is way faster than Vodafone on several occasions.   This particularity applies in areas outside of the major metro areas (since Vodafone drops to 2G there for the iPad, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3Gs).

Anyway, someone has done a nice wee video test of it and put it on YouTube.

I think the better part of each test is the real word usage with an App.  The speed test is useful to show how much difference there is, but at the end of the day we use Apps in everyday life, not downloading 1meg test files :-)

Black and White Version: As we knew, XT rocks on the iPad.

HatTip: KiwiBlog

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