Posts tagged XT


XT wee blip (yes it broke again!)


XT (Telecom NZ’s flagship mobile network) was down again this morning.  But this time it appeared to be nationwide, and more serious in terms of what callers got when it failed, but very brief.

The message The Telecom mobile # number you have called is currently unavailable, please call again later. OOOPS.

Apparently a few Telecom execs were panicking just a tad in head office :-)   But all is fixed (for now).

Looks like there are still issues.  I normally wouldn’t blog every time this happens, but this wee blip was a new type of blip – let’s call it a nationwide blip (which is new).

A related broken video (replace Broken Heart with Broken Network and the song works surprisingly well :-)

Black and White Version: XT when opps again.

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iPad: micro-sim and mini-sim


UPDATE: This post is superseded (well mostly) by this new post that outlines HOW to actually put a sim in an iPad in New Zealand, and how it works on XT better than Vodafone etc.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


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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dictionary book

Jetstar and XT are now verbs


Yep, it’s official – Jetstar and XT are no longer just brand names, they are also verbs.

Well OK, not 100% true, they are unofficially verbs now.  But it’s on record (mine) that they are.  So that’s like officially unofficial.  Anyway .. I digress, let me explain:

Jetstar (the airline) is known to have screwed up their launch into the domestic NZ market, BIG TIME (basically not enough planes, meaning flight delayed all over the place)  And further more to in an effort to help fix their issues, they further pissed off customers with over the top rules (e.g. “no, you’re late, you cant go on that flight now”).

XT (the mobile phone network) on the other hand had a great launch, they pulled in overseas speed demon, Richard Hammond for ads.  And it went so well.  It was rated by almost everyone as FAR better, especially for data.  But then OOOOPS happened.  And again.  And again.   Then people resigned (and again).  Yeah .. not good eh?  But they did offer compensation, and they (including the CEO) fronted up and said sorry and this isn’t good enough.

So here’s how it works now.  There are now two new verbs “To Jetstar it” and “To XT it”.  Here’s how they should be used.


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confidential file

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


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.


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XT bashing


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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I quit

Alcatel CE resigns – how the NZ media got the focus all wrong


It’s been widely reported in NZ about the resignation of the Alcatel-Lucent NZ CE.  A few months ago this would have got a 1/2 paragraph on page 17, but in case anyone has been living under a rock in the last 2 months, Alcatel are the company that provided the hardware for, and the maintenance of, Telecom’s NZ’s XT Mobile network (their new fan-dancy one) that keeps breaking.  Many of the headlines are pretty blunt and hinting to the reasons behind the resignation, such as Telecom XT network builder CEO resigns (this article also states “No reason was given for his sudden departure”.)

Here’s where I think the (mainstream) NZ media got it wrong.  There is a MUCH bigger story that has been more or less missed in the NZ media Alcatel was recently fined over $NZ 190 million ($US $137 million) over bribe allegations.  This issues puts the XT issues into perspective.  Unfortunately the NZ media is so focused on “mobile phones not working every few weeks” that the fact that a business was fined something of that scale, and it effected the share price significantly

Alcatel fell as much as 2.6 percent in Paris trading today. The company’s American depositary receipts, each representing one ordinary share, dropped 6 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $2.77 at 10:27 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Do some investigation here (that’s the media’s job after all!).  Maybe it’s unrelated to NZ in any direct sense (ie there is no bribery allegations about NZ, but has anyone looked?). It’s such a BIG issue about a company that’s in the news a lot at the moment that it’s worthy of a serious look.

2.6% and 2.1% is significant in terms of a one off share change in a day. I haven’t seen ANY reports of the Alcatel share price falling as a result of XT issues (well not yet anyway!), so it shows that the market understand what’s important here.

Black and White Version: NZ media need to stop naval gazing, sometimes stuff happens outside NZ that is VERY relevant that they are missing.

UPDATE 11.38am: Telecom’s Chief technical Officer has resigned (and I think one CAN say thats over XT).  Watch the media jump over that!

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XT: Ooops I did it again!


I spoke to soon.  XT is down again.

Random texts still come thru, so maybe it’s intermittent?  Then again maybe it’s fixed, oh, no, sorry it’s not.

Black and White Version: Over to you Britney, you say it so much better

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XT Update – it’s back again!


I won’t say XT is fixed, coz I dont think it is.  But it’s working again (for now)

Black and White Version: XT is on again (for now).

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XT is down .. AGAIN!


Yep, Telecom’s NZ flagship* mobile network XT is down AGAIN (yeah that should read again, again).  And has been since 4.30pm today.

This is getting serious.

I have blogged about the trust issue before, and indeed XT in general quite a lot (I actually LIKE it, I think it ROCKS actually, but only when it works).

I am sure a few people at Telecom (Chorus, Telecom Wholesale, Gen-i, everyone) is getting REAL frustrated by this, but the major issue is long term reputation dammage that will take YEARS to rebuild.

In hindsight maybe they shouldn’t have rebranded QUITE yet :-)

Black and White Version: Telecom are very close to a MAJOR PR nightmare here.

* I accidentally typep flagshit not flagship in the 1st line of this post and didn’t pick it up until I had posted this.  Oooops (honest – it was a genuine typo).  Anyway, it has been suggested to me that that term was actually more appropriate :-)

UPDATE 5.50pm: It’s back again. For now

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