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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