Posts tagged XT

Voicemail on XT with iPhone 4


For some reason this blog keeps coming up as a result for the search terms like iphone voicemail setup xt and such like.  In fact when I went to search for an image for this post using XT Voicemail Image in I found my site as #1 and #2!

Problem is I don’t have a whole lot of info on it – other than the # to dial for XT voice mail is 083210 and this post on XT Voicemail issues on the iPhone 4, which is now out of date, but has some useful links that are still relevant.

So here is my fix.

For those that have issues working with XT (Telecom) Voice mail on an iPhone check the following:

  • You should have a version 3 sim card from XT – if not swap it (free) at your local Telecom retailer
  • It should now work
  • If it doesn’t, go into your phone (as you would do dial a #) and press *5005*86*083210#
  • That’s it, your voice mail button should now work
  • Remember the fail safe is to dial 083210 (always works).

Black and White Version: Telecom XT Voice mail on iPhone 4 explained.

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Prepaid Top-up - Telecom NZ Ltd

Telecom – great deal, but too many steps


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.


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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Vodafone – the good and the bad and the bullshit


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?


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.


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iPhone Speed Test – Vodafone and XT in Dunedin


I got a very nice email from  Ahmad who has done some cool (and independent) iPhone 4 testing in Dunedin.

Ahmad goes to some lengths to point out hes NOT associated with any telco – and just wants to share info (like me hes just doing this out of interest).  Thanks Ahmad, and here is the video:

Full test results for iPhone 4 XT vs Vodafone here.

Update: Here is the disclaimer info from Ahmad’s page, which I think is important to re-post here.  Coz I just say “Wow .. XT rocks” which is not quite how he says it!

  • This is NOT a test of which network is “best” or “fastest” out of Telecom XT and Vodafone 3G.
  • This is an iPhone specific test, and should only be taken as such. It is a comparison of speeds using the  iPhone 4 device, on Wednesday 4 August 2010 in Dunedin.
  • The test results should not be extrapolated beyond the scope of the test. However the results should be of interest to iPhone users in Dunedin, and to iPhone users generally. Your milage may vary if you use a different handset/device, or if you live in another city/town.
  • I am not a telecommunications expert. I am simply an iPhone user with an interest in testing the claims of Telecom XT being “faster in more places”. I repeat – this is a hobby. I welcome any feedback about these results and will endeavour to correct any errors which have been made if they are pointed out to me.

Black and White: More evidence that XT rocks on the iPhone (although like anything, it can vary).

Hat tip: Ahmad.  Thanks!

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Mobile Termination Rates Will be Regulated in New Zealand


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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iPad dataplans in NZ (updated for 2Degrees)


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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Telecom Split (just like Brad and Ange)


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.


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iPhone NZ Launch FAIL


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:


  • 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 :-)


  • 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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Data up to 1GB

iPad Data Plans Comparision – XT, Vodafone and 2 degrees


Follow this link:

THIS POST HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED BY THIS ONE on iPAD data plans, as it factors in the new 2Degree plans, and also fixes an error in one table (Voda $20 should be 250MB not 500MB).

Recently I blogged about the various data plans for the iPad in NZ, and included a summary table with the costs, along with which were 3G etc.  I suggest you read this last post if you haven’t already, as this one is just about price.

Well I wanted to go one step further with the pricing side of things and show the various plans based on actual usage.

So here there are, two tables one showing lighter usage (up to 1GB) and one heavy usage (right up to 10GB).

My assumptions:

  • 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).
  • 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 for 2Degrees, where it SHOULD jump up $6 every 50MB and not a gradual progression as the graph shows.

Note: Click on any image for a larger view.

iPad Data Plans in NZ, up to 1G

iPad Data Plans in NZ, up to 10G

The cross over points are quite interesting, with lots happening in the  250MB – 1000MB space.  Also I note that up to 1GB there is not a lot in it (the Voda 500MB does have the edge if you use just 500MB though).  Personally I like any of the XT plans since they do the 10c/meg to start with and then capped at the monthly rate you select, plus the $29.95 double up option.  Pity Vodafone doesn’t offer the double up for $10, like they do on their other data plans.

Update 28th July 2010: What’s interesting (and I thought was a mistake at first) is that from 750MB right through to 3GB, the 2GB XT plan is cheaper than the 4GB. This is because the 4GB keeps charging at the 10c/MB until it hits the monthly cap of $79.95, where as the 2GB hits its cap of $59.95 earlier and stays there till 2GB and only passes it again between 3 and 4GB.  So unless you are a REAL heavy user, on XT the 2GB plan is better.    At anything more than around 3.5GB the only viable plans are on XT, with everything else getting prohibitively expensive.

For anyone interested here is the raw data

Other useful related links

Black and White Version: XT is faster, and cheaper in MOST cases for the iPad in NZ {and just faster for the others :-) }

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