Mobile phone blacklisting

December 10th, 2013 at 7:27 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

From today there should be little point in thieves pilfering mobile phones, as they will be next to useless within 24 hours.

A new “blacklisting” system put in place by Vodafone, Telecom and 2degrees means that once a mobile has been reported stolen, it won’t work on any of the three networks.

Cyber-safety organisation NetSafe estimated several years ago that about 10,000 mobile phones were stolen in New Zealand each year.

Police Superintendent Steve Christian said the blacklisting system would mean stolen devices would have “no value on the streets”.

This is an excellent initiative.

Mind you I always thought you’d be dumb to steal a phone with GPS capability as it is fairly easy to trace its location if you can get a telco to do it for you.

The phone companies have independently operated their own blacklisting systems for stolen mobiles, however, until now it had been possible for thieves to get around each of the operators’ blocks by substituting the Sim card in a stolen mobile with one from a different network.

Blacklisting relies on every mobile phone having a unique 15-digit international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number, which is silently transmitted to the carrier each time it is used to make a call.

Today, the three mobile operators began sharing their lists of stolen devices with one another and with overseas telcos through an international database.

The phone companies have been working for a year, through the Telecommunications Forum, an industry body, to get the shared system in place.

Not sure if it takes a year to set up a shared Google spreadsheet :-)

In June, United States prosecutors, concerned about violent thefts of smartphones in the US, suggested phone companies there went one step further and built a “kill switch” into their handsets which would render them completely useless if stolen.

I have a much better idea. Have the kill switch kill the user if they don’t get the password right after three attempts :-)

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Trans-Tasman mobile roaming

May 27th, 2010 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Steven Joyce has announced:

Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce today released a discussion document on trans-Tasman mobile roaming.

The discussion document has also been released in Australia by Mr Joyce’s counterpart – Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Minister Senator Stephen Conroy.

The document is at MED.

The document sets out three preliminary conclusions for New Zealanders roaming in Australia and Australians roaming in New Zealand:

  1. the features offered and the quality of service are reasonable
  2. the transparency of prices appears to be inadequate and consumer awareness of prices seems low
  3. the prices themselves seem relatively high.

Can’t disagree with 1 – roaming works really well in Australia (and in fact in most countries.

I’ve previously blogged about the outrageously high prices. Vodafone has recently announced a reduction, which is good.

No 2 is for me, the most important. People need to be told upfront about the cost of roaming data. Some of the possible measures proposed are:

Centralised website. A website where, for example, a customer is able to select all the domestic operators from his or her home country and see, on a single page, the best (lowest) rates that they each charge for trans-Tasman roaming (for postpaid and prepaid, and for each visited network).

I doubt this will achieve much as people don’t tend to decide on a carrier based on their international roaming rates.

Personalised SMS on arrival. Operators send their customers one or more personalised SMS when they arrive in a destination, indicating the price they will be charged when roaming (for voice, SMS and data23). To avoid unwanted SMS, this could be an opt-in service, or a ‘pull’ (one that requires the customer to send an SMS first) rather than a ‘push’ service.

This generally happens with Vodafone, which is good. I think it should be mandatory for all networks to send you a message alerting you to the roaming rates in a country.

SMS after use. In some countries, such as the United States it is common for operators to send an SMS to a domestic customer each time they complete a communication, to indicate the price of the communication and (in the case of prepaid users) the remaining account balance. This could involve either a ‘pull’ or a ‘push’ service.

The initial SMS is often received when you have landed at the airport and are pretty distracted. Having an SMS arrive after say the first MB of data would also be useful. I wouldn’t mandate it to occur after every use, but if people after 1 MB get a message saying “You have already incurred $30 of charges” it would be effective.

Billing caps. Postpaid users, in particular, are vulnerable to unexpectedly high bills for roaming, even though many operators now make a practice (both on their websites and in their retail outlets) of warning customers of the prices involved, especially for data roaming. Billing cap systems may present a solution, implemented on either an opt-in or opt-out basis.

Also potentially useful, so long as those who do not want to keep using mobile data etc can easily say they wish to exceed the billing cap.

The discussion document also looks at some price regulation options – both at wholesale or retail level.I would rather avoid price regulation, and focus on enhanced transparency.

This is a discussion document, so you can have your say by e-mailing submissions to MED.

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Text problems

May 5th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Text messages have been mysteriously altered between sender and recipient in at least 20 cases, prompting a Telecom investigation.

Salvation Army church leader Steve Molen discovered the glitch last week when he sent a text to 10 people to remind them of an upcoming dinner.

It ended on a lighthearted note with “bring a date or your muma but would prefer it if you bought [sic] a youth and plenty of food should be a great night so see you there six o’clock”.

However, one recipient – his wife Faye – received a message that read “bring a date or your muma but would prefer it if you bought me she setting a bad example for me”.

Mr Molen, of Newtown, contacted Telecom’s call centre and was told he wasn’t the first to experience the problem. “[The call centre worker] said it was a software fault that adds lines to the last part of people’s texts … and there had even been swear words added on to some messages.

I had my own text problems this week. Had played a round of phone tag with a new client and left a voice mail message for them at around 2 pm.

At around half past midnight my Blackberry beeped. I was in bed but still awake, so leaned over to check it. It was the client asking if it was too late for them to call me now. My initial thoughts were unprintable, and I resisted replying at the time.

I then talked to the client this morning and gently inquired what time did they send a text to me yesterday. As I suspected it was not at half past midnight – it was at 5.30 pm, and it took seven hours to reach me. The client was somewhat mortified (it wasn’t their fault) and was extremely grateful I didn’t phone back at the time I received it :-)

It would be really useful if text messages were like e-mails, and had both a time sent and time received stamp.

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Vodafone responds

April 23rd, 2010 at 4:38 pm by David Farrar

Vodafone have sent a response to my recent post on their pricing change:

Got a prepay mobile with Vodafone? Give up your landline

Last week we released a new add-on called Talk that lets Vodafone Prepay customers talk for up to 200 minutes a month to landlines or to Vodafone mobiles for $12.  We want to encourage our mobile customers to use their voices rather than their fingers, and their mobiles rather than their home phones.

Certainly Talk has got a reaction.  A range of parties have expressed a view, including the Minister, the Commerce Commission, TUANZ, 2degrees, and the blogosphere.  Even DPF himself has weighed in.

I want to make three points.  First, why we are launching Talk.  Second, why it is good for competition.  And third, what the implications are for the Minister’s decision on mobile termination rates.

Why Talk

Talk is a great deal.  In particular, you should buy Talk and give up using your landline.  You pay too much for it anyway.

We all know that New Zealand mobile users are very keen on text messaging.  New Zealand has amongst the lowest prices and highest usage for text in the world. But the same enthusiasm doesn’t extend to talking.

Our research tells us that three quarters of customers wait till they get home to make a call longer than five minutes.  Talk is part of our response, letting customers get on with what they want to do with their mobiles.

This is not the only change we are bringing to prepay this year.  Recently we introduced cheap international calling rates for our top destinations, but it began in 2006 with Best Mate TXT2000, $2 for 2 hours off-peak, and the introduction of Family in 2008. There is much more to come.

Competition

2degrees has argued for years that it cannot compete without a laundry list of regulatory concessions.  2degrees has not deviated from this line despite the numerous changes that have been made to accommodate it. But with several hundred thousand customers after just over six months, 2degrees is already one of the most successful new entrants in the world.  I see the Commission this morning reported 2degrees’ market share at 4% as at 31 December.  Five percent market share in a year would be very good performance.  So 4% percent in around six months is remarkable.

The real question is not what our competitors think, but whether they can match or better Talk.  Clearly they can, and they will if they think that doing so will gain them an advantage in the market.

Comparison between headline retail rates and mobile termination rates is not helpful.  Operators offer lots of different products, some are higher priced, others are lower priced.  All three mobile network operators offer products that are cheaper than MTRs.  Some examples:

•             Telecom offers calls from a Telecom fixed line to a Telecom mobile for sixty minutes for no more than a dollar.  If calls are long this could easily generate a very low average price (hat tip: Steve Biddle).

•             Vodafone allows unlimited calling between all connections on one business account in return for a monthly fee per connection.   Clearly this also generates a very low average price if usage is high.

•             2degrees offers its customers text messaging to any other 2degrees’ customer for 2 cents a text.  Under our agreement with 2degrees, we are required to pay more than four times that amount to text a 2degrees customer.

The Commission does have a cross-check between mobile termination rates and retail prices in its final report.  It’s not based on the level of any particular retail plan; instead it compares industry average retail on-net mobile prices with mobile termination rates.  Talk shouldn’t affect that average.

Decision

The Minister needs to decide what to do with the Commission’s termination rate recommendation.  He can send it back to the Commission for more work or accept the undertakings as recommended by the Commission.

Accepting the undertakings means lower mobile prices from October.  Voice termination rates would fall from 14.4 cents (already lower than the UK) to just under 10 cents, and then again to just over 8 cents on 1 January with more falls over time.  The undertakings cut text prices to zero.

Sending the report back to the Commission for more work means termination rates stay where they are for a longer period.

The Minister’s decision is quite straightforward.  His best choice is to take the money on the table now, accept the undertakings and reduce mobile prices from October.  If the Commission wants to look further at retail pricing and the relationship with mobile termination rates there is nothing to stop it doing so.

Hayden Glass
Public Policy
Vodafone NZ

We all await the Minister’s decision with interest. In the meantime, the debate will continue!

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The cost of text messaging

April 23rd, 2010 at 11:26 am by David Farrar

Sideswipe reveals:

“According to Nigel Bannister, a scientist at the University of Leicester, sending a text message can be up to four times more expensive than downloading the same amount of data from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Sadly it is true.

A text message can be 160 characters, equalling 160 bytes (actually 140 bytes – 160 7-bit characters, so the figures that follow are conservative). Given that a text message costs roughly 20c to send, some simple arithmetic can be used to work out how much it costs per megabyte:

$0.20 / 160 = $0.00125 per byte

$0.00125 x 1024 = $1.28 per kilobyte

$1.28 x 1024 = $1311 per megabyte

If we had to pay text message bandwidth rates for home or office internet connections: downloading a 4Mb song would cost $5244.00, a 500Mb TV episode would cost $655,500 and downloading a 1Gb movie, $1,342,464.”

One nice thing about Blackberries is you can PIN people instead of SMS them, and it costs you nothing. But you need to know their Blackberry PIN.

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A universal cellphone charger

October 24th, 2009 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

About time! Reuters reports:

Ever forget your phone charger and no one around has the same kind of handset?

Have a drawer full of useless old phone chargers at home?

Breathe a sigh of relief.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations’ telecom arm, said on Thursday it had given its stamp of approval “to an energy-efficient one-charger-fits-all new mobile phone solution.

“Every mobile phone user will benefit from the new Universal Charging Solution (UCS), which enables the same charger to be used for all future handsets, regardless of make and model,” the ITU said in a statement.

I want one. In fact I want three – one for home, office and the car!

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Guest Post: Vodafone on MTR

October 6th, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

I’ve blogged a few times on mobile termination rates, and Vodafone have offered a guest post to give their view (which is somewhat different to my view) on the issue. Always happy to have the debate. The guest post is:

Vodafone has made an Undertaking as part of the Commerce Commission’s investigation in to Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs) that dramatically changes the telco environment for all concerned. Instead of charging 15c/minute to terminate a voice call, Vodafone will move to 3c/minute. Similarly, to receive a TXT we are cutting the rate to 1.2c/TXT.

These are enormous cuts to the current rates:  an 80% drop in voice termination and 87% drop in TXT.

So why would Vodafone voluntarily make such an offer? Surely the cost of reduction – we put it at $450m over five years – is too much for a business to bear?

The short answer is: the alternative is regulation and any company will tell you regulation is bad for business – and sometimes consumers too.

The longer answer is that we want certainty and that regulation doesn’t deliver that.  Regulation also involves a very messy, drawn our process involving complicated cost models.  The business, the Commission and industry could well do without this if we can possibly avoid it.

In 2007 we had a deal with the government and contrary to popular opinion it wasn’t a last-minute smoky back-room deal designed to circumvent the process. When a minister of the Crown says “boys, sharpen your pencils or I’ll regulate” by crikey you sharpen your pencil.

Vodafone and Telecom agreed to drop rates over a period of time, to start immediately and (very importantly) to pass all those savings on to customers. The minister saw that getting a resolution immediately and having the money go to customers was better than anything the Commission could offer and he accepted the deal.

Job done, five years of certainty, let’s get on with business, we thought.

Eighteen months in, the Commerce Commission re-opened an investigation and removed any certainty we had from the deal.

Certainty is everything for investment and regulatory certainty is a must-have.

Instead we have a Commerce Commission that has changed its method of benchmarking termination prices three times during the last few years and which has assumed much higher levels of consumer benefits under regulation without really explaining why. And in New Zealand there’s nothing Vodafone or anyone else can do about it. There’s no merits review process for telecommunications, there’s no court of appeal, all we can do is seek a judicial review and frankly that’s a bad idea on many levels.

But do you know what? That’s the way this game is played. The Commerce Commission gets to ask the questions and the Commerce Commission gets to make the recommendations.  Today we need to tackle the issue in front of us right now.

So we set about trying to find an innovative solution that would work for all parties. We’ve accepted that while we have major issues with the Commission’s analysis on this issue, there’s nothing we can do that will change the Commission’s view, so we need to work with them to come up with the next best thing: some level of certainty over the large scale regulatory changes we are about to experience.

Which brings me to our new Undertaking.

Vodafone wants certainty and currently the only thing certain is that when the Commission reports in to the Minister in December it’ll opt for some of the most aggressive regulation in what used to be called the western world.

By putting in an Undertaking that offers to deliver better outcomes than regulation, we hope to do three things: avoid regulation; give the Commission the rates it wants and give Vodafone’s investors the certainty they need so we can keep investing heavily in the local market.

By lowering our TXT rates immediately (April next year, which is as immediate as things get in this discussion) we deliver ahead of the Commission’s timetable (which would see regulation taking effect in 2011 at the earliest).

For voice calls we’re offering a glide path from current rates down to 3c/minute by 2015. That’s slower than the Commission has laid out, but gets us to a lower number than the Commission has indicated. The glide path means we can plan better year on year for the next five years (and that’s good for us) and it’s a lower number, which is good for the Commission’s process. The Commission wins by forcing rates lower, and we get to do it in a business-like  manner.

The next step is for the Commission to report to the Minister in December and then Steve Joyce has to make the call. If we go down the regulation route we face two years of conferences and submissions on cost models and frankly that’s not something I’d wish on my worst enemy. If the Undertakings are accepted, by April next year we’ll be done and we can get down to doing what businesses should stick to: making products and selling them to customers.

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Mobile termination rates

October 5th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

As usual, Chris Keall has the best summary of what the offers are on mobile termination rates:

Commerce Commission proposal
Voice calls: immediate halving of MTR on voice calls from 14 cents to 7.5 cents. Glide path to 3.8 cents by 2015.
Txt: immediate cut from 10 cents to 3.8 cents. Further cuts to 0.5 cents by 2015.

Vodafone
Voice: Looking to head off regulation with offer to cut MTR on voice calls to 12 cents per minute from April 2010, with glide path down to 73 cents a minute by 2015.
Txt: 1.2 cents from April 2010.

Telecom
Voice: cut to 12 cents per minute from January 2010. Glide path down to 7 cents per minute by 2015.
Txt: no offer
Expresses support for bill-and-keep, an alternative to MTR that sees the a phone company whose network initiates a call pay all costs.

2degrees
Wants MTR scrapped on all voice calls and txt. Prefers bill-and-keep model (initiating caller’s telco pays all cost). If that’s not possible favours immediate drop to 6.54 cents per minute for voice, falling to 3.45 cents by 2015.

So let us look at voice calls first. In 2010 the rate would be 7.5c under the Commerce Commission proposal, 12c offered by Vodafone, and 12c offered by Telecom.

By 2015, the rate would be 3.8c under the Commerce Commission proposal, 73c offered by Vodafone, and 7c offered by Telecom.

For text messages in 2010 the rate would be 3.8c under the Commerce Commission proposal, 1.2c offered by Vodafone, and 10c offered by Telecom.

By 2015, the rate would be 0.5c under the Commerce Commission proposal, 1.2c offered by Vodafone, and 10c offered by Telecom.

It is good to see Vodafone offering a more tempting package, with the huge drop in termination rates for text messages.

Also interesting to note:

Telecom’s numbers are close to those of its previous submission. More noteably, the telco has also expressed support for bill-and-keep – an alternative to MTR in the US and elsewhere that sees the phone company that initiates a call paying all costs.

I don’t think that is explained right. With bill and keep there is effectively a zero interconnect fee or termination rate. It is pleasing to see Telecom moot that. I think it is a superior model.

Think how retarded the Internet would be if ISPs charged each other 10c an e-mail?

Also pleasing has been that the Minister has ruled out any last minute negotiations with telcos on the proposed regulation. Trevor Mallard fell into this trap of privately negotiating a deal. Steven Joyce has said that any commercial offers have to go to the Commerce Commission, not him. And then once the Commerce Commission makes a recommendation, he will either accept it or not accept it – but won’t get into a game of considering ever increasing (or decreasing) commercial offers every few days.

It will be interesting to see what the final Commerce Commission recommendation will be.

Note that my company has done some market research for Exceltium Ltd on the issue of mobile termination rates, but all views are my own.

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An idea for Yellow Pages

October 1st, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

An article in the Herald about how Yellow Pages sees 018 calls as a declining business due to increased cellphone use where people store common numbers.

This is true, but got me thinking of a new business model.

When someone rings your cellphone you see their name if they are in your contacts, otherwise only their number.

Wouldn’t it be great if Yellow Pages teamed up with the telcos so that if you get a call from a number not in your contacts, it shows you the name that number is registered to – if it is in their public directory.

I would happily pay a monthly fee for that service.

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Stupid Spin

September 4th, 2009 at 10:58 am by David Farrar

Tom Pullar-Strecker writes in the Dom Post:

People might be forgiven for taking a joint media statement issued by Parents Inc and Youthline on Wednesday at face value. The charities said they were concerned the Commerce Commission’s proposal to regulate mobile termination charges might have a ”negative impact”.

Why would they be getting involved in this issue?

Vodafone’s charitable arm, the Vodafone Foundation, awarded Youthline $200,000 to build a centre in Papatoetoe in March and has also paid the salary of a Youthline counsellor. Parents Inc announced a three year partnership with Vodafone in June.

And their arguments:

Both Parents Inc. and Youthline are concerned about the other unintended consequences of regulation, such as the potential for an increase in text spam and text bullying. When a service is very cheap or free, it increases the risk of abuse.

They’re arguing that a reduction in the cost to phone or text someone is a bad thing as it may lead to text spamming and worst of all child abuse by text bullying.

That is like arguing we should introduce a charge to send e-mails, to reduce e-mail spam and e-mail flame wars. Absolute throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Yes it is possible more companies may try to send text spam, if sending texts is cheaper. However commercial text spamming is against the law, and further the telcos have a code of practice that bans it from their networks.

Pilbrow says, “One of the issues with young people and parents is that the technology is growing so fast we have not had time to put boundaries around it. Parents struggle with it, and when spam and other areas of abuse are factored in, the issues for parents increase immensely.”

So lowering the mobile termination rate will add to family stress for parents. I can not believe anyone in their right mind allowed this press release to go out with such vapid and stupid arguments – obviously motivated by a desire to please their funder.

Youthline CEO Stephen Bell is particularly concerned about text bullying. “The mobile is such a personal communications device, and teenagers in particular rush to read and respond to a text message as soon as they hear the phone beep. Texts can easily be anonymous, which emboldens bullies and intimidates victims. Anything that makes it easier for bullies is of grave concern and we should take it very seriously.”

Again this is just an outrageous argument. It is like arguing that lowering the price of petrol makes it easier for drunk drivers, or that lowering the price of newspapers make it easier for arsonists!

Incidentially Curia, which I own did some market research for Exceltium for their Lower the Rate, Mate campaign. This was well publicised at the time. My views on mobile termination rates pre-date that arrangement, and my response to these press release is entirely my own initiative fueled by outrage at the arguments used. No-one at all pointed the article out to me, suggested I should blog on it, or even knows I was going to blog on it.

There are valid arguments for and against mobile termination rate regulation. However scaremongering about text bullying and spam are not amongst them, and shame on whomever put these groups up to making such ludicrous assertions.

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Drop the Rate, Mate

August 11th, 2009 at 11:24 pm by David Farrar

Curia did some polling for the Drop the Rate, Mate campaign, and the full results of the polling are on curiablog.

The eight organisations behind the campaign are not ones you would normally see agree on much. You have Federated Farmers and the Unite Union. You have the Consumers Institute and the Federation of Maori Authorities. You have NZUSA and TUANZ, plus the new mobile carrier 2degrees and Airnet.

They are calling on the Government to accept the recommendation of the Commerce Commission and reduce the termination rates telcos charge each other as these rates keep competition out, and keep costs higher.  You can sign the online petition on the campaign website.

The Commerce Commission previously recommended the rates be lowered speedily by regulation, but Trevor Mallard on behalf of the then Labour Government rejected doing this, in favour of a deal with the two big telcos for smaller slower voluntary reductions (with a guarantee the reduction in the wholesale fee would be reflected in their retail fees). The Commerce Commission has concluded these did not go far enough and has recommended more dramatic drops. It is thought the current termination rate for a text message is around ten times greater than the actual cost of receiving a text message and passing it onto a phone.

I’m not surprised to see NZUSA supporting the campaign, as I found out first hand what a hot issue this is for both secondary and tertiary students. We had a couple of focus groups with students aged from around 16 to 24 and I was astonished by how passionate they were about their dislike of the current billing arrangements caused by the high termination rates.

Many said that their choice of mobile phone provider has nothing to do with personal choice, but totally dependent on who all their friends are with. Hence in Wellington most students are Telecom and in Auckland most are Vodafone. Again many of them simply will not text (or call) someone on a different network due to the cost.

I sometimes wonder what a mess we would have if ISPs charged a termination rate for e-mails. Imagine having to pay 7c to e-mail someone on a different ISP. You’d end up with only a couple of ISPs probably as no-one would want to send e-mail to people at a different ISP. This might explain why up until recently we have had only two mobile phone providers but many dozens of Internet service providers!

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Two technology ideas

August 6th, 2009 at 11:53 am by David Farrar

I hate clearing voicemail messages. I much prefer people text or e-mail if I don’t answer my phone. But for business reasons I can’t switch it off. I find it annoying because I have to ring a number to find out what the messages are, and then they are gone unless I write them down. A text message you can keep for ages until dealt with.

So that got me thinking about a great service for a mobile phone company to offer. A voicemail to text service. For a few $ a month they will listen to your voicemail, type it up and send it to you as a text message and/or e-mail. That would be a seriously useful service.

There is a similiar service already called Aangel, where for $10/mth you can call 808 and leave a message that they immediately type up and text and e-mail to you, plus they e-mail the audio recording. I use this and is well worth the money as if I think of a blog idea, or run into someone whom I should call next week – I can just phone 808 and get a reminder to do so. They can even send meeting requests into Outlook.

But as useful as that is, a service that did the same for the voicemail messages other people leave me would be bloody brilliant. And it should be damn easy to do.

The other technology idea I had was being able to book an appointment with you doctor online. How it would be great if you could go to a website for your medical centre and see when the next free appointment is for your normal doctor. You could also see when other doctors have a free spot, and decide whether or not it is urgent enough to see another doctor earlier or wait for your normal one.

Such a system could also do some pre-screening by asking you some basic questions about what the problem is, and this would allow practice nurses to prepare stuff in advance of seeing the doctor.

By coincidence I saw my doctor yesterday, and he said their software firm is close to finalising such a system, so in a year or so this may be possible.

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Mobile Competition

August 6th, 2009 at 9:57 am by David Farrar

I’m one of those with two mobile phones – one on Telecom and one on Vodafone.  I have to say I have not found a huge variation in pricing between them, so it is good to have a third mobile phone company in the market.

Costs start at 22 cents per minute to call another 2degrees customer, rising to 44 cents to call other mobiles, local landlines and a selection of international countries for the totally prepay offer.

Telecommunications Users Association head Ernie Newman said the prices were lower than he had anticipated.

“They certainly bear out what our organisation has been saying which is that New Zealanders have been paying absolutely over-the-top [prices] for mobile phones for a decade or more,” he said.

I was surprised when I was overseas that I can call New Zealand numbers cheaper from overseas that I can from my mobile in NZ.

I’ll be interested to hear from anyone who takes up with 2degrees, how they find it. Also will be interesting to see if Telecom and Vodafone change their pricing options in response to the new competitor.

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2degrees

July 7th, 2009 at 1:29 pm by David Farrar

This ad from 2 degrees is actually pretty damn good.

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2degrees Mobile

May 12th, 2009 at 8:21 am by David Farrar

I was amused to see myself cited with regards to the naming of the third mobile phone network – 2degrees.

I wrote an article a couple of years ago,  I think for the Dominion Post, where I said that NZ is such a small compact connected country we have only two degrees of separation between us – not the usual six.

My observation is quoted by 2degrees in their press release yesterday.

New Zealand is said to be a nirvana for social network researchers (Prof. Rob Allen – Auckland University of Technology) with anecdotal findings suggesting that we are actually much more closely connected with as little as two degrees of separation (David Farrar – Internet Commentator).

Sadly my contribution to their name doesn’t gain me a profit share. But I do welcome theur impending launch in August – more competition is a good thing.

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