Posts tagged vodafone

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2Degrees goes 3G

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2 Degrees  (the third mobile company in NZ with a network) announced their 3G network is ready in the NZ Herlad.

Mobile phone company 2degrees will start using its 3G network next week, putting it on a par with rivals Telecom and Vodafone.

Specialists are completing the final network testing, so it will be available only to a select group of customers.

But company spokeswoman Bryony Hilless said the 3G network would be available to all “sooner rather than later”.

While at present the data plans on 2Degrees aren’t that appealing for any moderate to heavy users.

What’s quite interesting here is 2Degrees are doing a very soft launch, with this 3G Launch news just slipping in, rather than Vodafone that announces things with a big song and dance, but actually says nothing (see post here).

For iPhone 4, and iPad users, this will mean a 3rd network can now offer an alternative, but for iPhone 3g and 3Gs users, XT is still the only option (IMHO) due to the frequency issues (as explained in this post about the iPad).  While there are other providers in NZ (like Slingshot, Orcon etc) these are just resellers of others networks – 2Degrees actually has its own infrastructure and network, albeit that it only covers 50% of the country for now.

Black and White Version: Competition hotting up in the 3G space in New Zealand, hopefully prices will start to fall soon (esp for data).

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iPad, iPhone 4, micro-sims and new data plans: The round up

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This week a lot has happened in the iSpace (ie iPad, iPhone) and mobile broad band arena in New Zealand. Here’s the summary:

On the selling front:

The good news is there are two serious players in the mobile broadband/ iSpace (ie iPhone, iPad etc).  Not only have Telecom (XT) kept in the game by offering micro sims, but also their new data plans are at least in the right direction price wise (still expensive compared to most places, but getting there!).  With the new iPhone 4, and the iPad being able to fully take advantage of both XT and Vodafones 3G networks, it means we have choice.  Choice is good.

Black and White Version: Mobile broadband is still expensive in New Zealand.  At least we have two players and not one (and XT still kicks Vodafones ass IMHO).

Post to come: I intend to outline how to have ONLY a micro sim these days is the way to go, even if the device you have uses the older mini sims. (Update: The micro-sim post is here)

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Vodafone – non news annoucement on iPad data plans in New Zealand

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Today Vodafone New Zealand made a PR release about data plans for the iPad in New Zeland.


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Click on image for larger version


This has come under universal attack as a complete waste of time (or here from iPhonewzealand), and quite rightly.  I will save the trouble reading it it says nothing other than “data plans for iPad are coming“.  DUH, like we knew that, that’s what you were SUPPOSED to announce.  Worse, last Friday via Twitter Vodafone specifically said they were making “an announcement’ about iPad data plans on Monday (i.e. today).

*sigh*.  Here’s a wee tip for the marketing team at Vodafone: If you spent half the time you do on making non news stories up on actually making competitive plans (like they have in Australia, and even Vodafone Australia does – like the image on the right) then you would have far more customers (and happy ones too!).

So the gauntlet is laid down Vodafone, come up with some decent data plans or else face my wrath (which I have to admit, as far as wrath goes isn’t that bad – nothing like this guys!)

Black and White Version: PR releases should be for when there is an actual announcement (Apple rock at that – they really creative hype around theirs!)

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Telecom to get micro sim cards (think iPad)

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In an announcement via Twitter today, Telecom announced that MIcro-SIms for XT are on the way.

This is quite interesting news (exciting even, but I think saying that may make me sound geeky). Not only does this mean in New Zealand we won’t have to cut our sim cards in bits to get one to fit into an iPad, BUT Telecom beat Vodafone to the party with the announcement AND as I have already blogged about, XT are actually a FAR superior network to run the iPad on (far more so than even the iPhone – and that’s saying something, coz everyone has reported that already!)

In case anyone reading this is going WTF?, the Apple iPad (only) uses micro-sim cards (far smaller than the standard sim) for the 3G version and it wasn’t certain that anyone in NZ would offer them until now – so this is GOOD news.  Micro-sims are explained more in my earlier post on this.

Black and White version: XT may still be like the Ferrari that keeps breaking down (you know: ultimately better, but kinda quirky) but their 3G frequencies and micro-sim means they are getting the jump on Vodafone for the iPad.

HatTip: iphonewzealand.co.nz (a great site for NZ based iPhone related stuff).

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iPad: micro-sim and mini-sim

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UPDATE: This post is superseded (well mostly) by this new post that outlines HOW to actually put a sim in an iPad in New Zealand, and how it works on XT better than Vodafone etc. You can still read this post all about what a Micro Sim is (and mini sim), but the “how to” of iPhones and sims in NZ is here.

With all the hype of the iPad launch around us this week, one thing that has gone relatively unanalysed  is the need for a micro-sim not a mini-sim (which is what 99% of us use in phones at the moment) in the iPad.

While no carrier that I know of outside the US has announced that they will supply micro-sim cards on mass to the consumer (yet that is), the GOOD news is that the actual core of both cards is the same – so if you want to attack your existing GSM mini-sim card with a pen knife, it SHOULD work.    Just like the old days when you could trim your sim card so two fitted into the space of one, and then could have a phone with 2 sims (certain phones that is!).

As reported on CreativeVision blog, this is indeed good news!

There is one caveat: Apple claims that to save space, they switched to the next generation Micro SIM standard. This is like a regular Mini SIM card, which is used by most mobile phones today, but with the excess plastic around the chip chopped off. But it turns out that the chip itself is not only the same size but electronically identical, as confirmed by the GSM association, so the good news is that even if your mobile phone network only supplies the older Mini SIM cards, you’ll be able to simply cut off the excess plastic yourself and fashion a DIY Mini SIM card. Cheap data roaming here we come, just remember to bring a steak knife!

This means even if Vodafone and Telecom (XT) don’t launch micro sims in NZ, there is a creative way of getting existing sims to work.

I for one will wait for the first report of someone actually doing this!

Of course many have asked why apple would do this – after all the iPad is hardly tiny! (the iPhone is MUCH smaller and doesn’t use/need it), and Engaget offers some comments:

In fact, from AT&T’s perspective, this is better than a software lock in some ways — you’re not going to be able to download a hack that gets you on another network, so you’re totally at the mercy of your carrier at choice for providing a compatible card. Intentionally evil? Perhaps not — all standards have to start somewhere — but it’s an awful pain in the ass.

I for one am waiting for the 3G version launch before I consider buying an iPad, as WiFi is just not well enough supported in New Zealand.  Depending on when I get one (ie do I go to OZ and get one early) this might mean my cutting skills get some practice :-)

UPDATE: Thanks to an excellent question from my good friend Mark, I have spotted there could be an issue for Vodafone with the iPad.  Not about sim cards, but around frequencies that they use for their network(s).

This is because the iPad supports 850,900, 1800 and 1900 MHz and NOT the 2100 MHz that the iPhone supports.

XT (Telecom) uses 850 MHz for it’s XT WCDMA network, so is fine.  But Vodafone uses 2100 for its WCDMA in all major cities and only has 900 MHz on WCDMA (the fast 3G network) in rural areas.  It’s has a full nationwide network on 900, but not on WCDMA, so it will be slow(er).  Ironically it will be fine in rural areas on Voda – just not the cities!

Details here if you want to read.  This might cause issues for Voda.  Watch this space!

Update 2: I was wrong about the frequency issue (the rest is still fine).   All explained in a new post here.

Black and White Version: We still don’t know what Apple decided on the micro-sim, but at least we know (think?) a normal sim can be trimmed to work.

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Vodafone fails (again) but no hate FaceBook pages or random rants

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Today the NZ Herald reported how the Vodafone network failed on Saturday.

Now normally I would say “it happens”, but in this case I don’t see a flood of FaceBook hate pages, nor demands that Vodafone “fix” it, or silly stories about how poor wee Jane couldn’t call the fireman to get her cat down out of the tree (yes I made that last bit up – but you get the idea).  Why not?  It seams good enough for Telecom’s XT. As I have blogged previously it’s NOT because Vodafone hasn’t done it before  – in fact Vodafone’s 3g network fails MORE than Telecom’s CDMA network does – it’s just it has a back up (ie their 2G network frequency) so many people don’t notice it.

Anyway … I do think Telecom have major issues with XT, the most significant of which is not the hardware issues – but the loss of public confidence in the Telecom brand (result in major customer loss, and even questions about Telecom’s ability to deliver on the 1.5 billion broadband roll out package – a question that wouldn’t have been asked 6 months ago).  BUT, and this is the point here, failures happen, and rather than rant on about it on FaceBook crying over spilt milk, DO something about it (that or just shut up).  The media need to make sure they are balanced here – lets see how the report the next Vodafone failure – and will they call for a Government enquiry or not.

Black and White Version: XT bashing seams a bit one sided to me (and no I don’t mean XT should go out and bash people – that WOULD be a PR disaster!)

Disclaimer: Anyone from Vodafone’s legal team might want to read by disclaimer page, but in case you want the short version this entire blog is my OPINION.  So there.  I am allowed to be wrong, coz its what I THINK (although I THINK I am right!)

PS: The irony of me ranting on about people ranting on about stuff is not lost on me.  I am smiling on the inside. :-) :-P

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Telecom Comments – from the REAL staff (warning .. graphic language!)

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Like many people in New Zealand, I happen to know a few people that work for Telecom.  In fact I did some checking and found I know people that work in EVERY major structural division of Telecom.

Now we know what the CE of Telecom, Dr Paul Reynolds, thinks we even know he’s not resigning.  But what do the grass roots staff think?  You know, the people who we know, who we interact with, maybe even socialise with, and have to deal with the day to day stress of it, without actually having the power to change much.

Since I am no journalist, I don’t get to ask Dr Reynolds questions, in fact I didn’t even ask my friends question, I just let them rant.   So, no names (to protect their jobs), but here is their good honest feedback about the whole XT thing.  Warning, graphic honest language follows.


(more…)

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XT bashing

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I think the only place that has more XT bashing at the moment than the mainstream media is FaceBook.  Appears the in thing to do is post ‘I hate XT’ or any deviation.  A witty link to something else topical helps, but doesn’t appear compulsory.  FaceBook fan pages, status updates, and links to TradeMe auctions about XT lemons. It’s all the rage this week.

Interesting to see the extent really, since unlike something like power supply in New Zealand, we actually have choice when it comes to mobile networks.   Yes they all rip us off (well I guess 2 Degrees is at least trying to help there), and yes the interconnect/termination rate is WAY WAY to high, BUT we actually have simple portability (you can take your # with you if you swap networks) and as has already been identified, NZ has one of the highest rates of people having 2 mobiles (aka 2 different networks).   Anyway .. lets explore this some more: (more…)

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Telecos may rip us off at times, but where is the user responsibility?

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A NZ Herald headline today was Salesman ‘crippled’ by internet charges.

This was due to what NZ mobile teco’s charge when roaming- $30 per MB in most countries.  So that’s $30,000 per GB – which compares to around $10-$20  per GB if on a plan in NZ (and no, that’s not a mis-print – $30,000 per GB).  (Btw, OZ is one of the few cheaper countries, and ‘only’ $8 or $10 per MB depending if you are on XT ($8) or Voda($10)).

Now I agree with DPF on Kiwiblog here that this is a rip off, but I think some serious points are overlooked in the media analysis: (more…)

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iPhone 3Gs Speed Test

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Here it is … an unscientific, but robust test of the new Telecom XT network along side the Vodafone network in New Zealand using an iPhone 3Gs.

Disclaimer: None, since I am a customer of both.

Apologies for the video, it was recorded on an iPhone 2G (which isn’t supposed to have video recording) so the frame rate is rather low.  But you will get the idea.

Update: DARN the video is sideways. Doesn’t effect what you see. Should I apologise again for the glare on the video?

Black and White Version: XT kicks arse!

PS: Can you tell that was my first upload to Youtube and also my 1st video link in a blog? Such a milestone (well for ME it was, mum will be proud).

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