Self serving crap from Vodafone

March 7th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Government has rejected a call by Vodafone New Zealand chief executive Russell Stanners to scrap the roll-out of fibre-based ultrafast broadband in much of Wellington and Christchurch.

Stanners said the cost of the UFB scheme could be cut by $500 million and taxpayers could save $145m if people instead used its cable networks in the two cities.

Vodafone was all in favour of the UFB. Then it buys the Telstra-Clear cable network and suddenly it is all no, no we don’t want UFB – use our cables instead.

InternetNZ said earlier today it strongly opposed Stanners’ proposal.

“This suggestion by Vodafone begs the question, why would Kiwis choose to make use of a second-class network when we are already on our way to having a first-class network?” chief executive Jordan Carter said.

Fibre is a future-proofed investment.

UPDATE: Also if Vodafone really wants their cable network to be used instead of fibre, then they should do what Telecom had to do, and separate it out into a separate company with open access requirements to all retailers.

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A new trans-tasman cable

February 19th, 2013 at 10:05 am by David Farrar

Telecom have announced:

Telecom, Vodafone and Telstra announced today they have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) to co-invest in the construction of a new submarine cable between Auckland and Sydney.
The new cable, tentatively titled the Tasman Global Access (TGA) Cable, will significantly improve New Zealand’s international telecommunications connectivity as well as strengthen links into fast-growing Asian markets.

The total cost of the TGA cable is expected to be less than US$60 million. The cable will incorporate three fibre pairs with a current design capacity of 30 terabits per second – approximately 300 times the current internet data demand out of New Zealand.

30 terabits a second isn’t bad!

The TGA cable will achieve significant international connectivity benefits for New Zealand at a fraction of the build cost of another, much longer trans-Pacific cable, the consortium partners said.

It would be nice to have another trans-Pacific cable also, but this announcement is good news as it means more competition and more capacity. What is pleasing is that it is not just Telecom (who have the biggest stake of Southern Cross) but also Telstra and Vodafone.

Telecom chief executive Simon Moutter and Vodafone New Zealand CEO Russell Stanners jointly commented: “The business case for a new cable between New Zealand and Australia is compelling, providing greater capacity and global redundancy capability. It also reflects the growing importance of trans-Tasman internet traffic: for example, around 40% of both Telecom and Vodafone’s international internet traffic is now Australia to New Zealand, versus just 10% in 2000.

“We are seeing increased data content being provided from Australia-based servers by global companies and being accessed by New Zealand internet users. An additional cable connection with Australia will strengthen the business case for international data servers to be located in New Zealand.

I’ve blogged on this in the past. NZ will never be big enough to have global datacentres here, but if we can get the Googles and Apples of the world to do regional datacentres in Sydney, then we will pull more and more of our data from Australia rather than the United States.

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Telecom v Vodafone data roaming prices

December 11th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Vodafone pointed out to me their data angel service allows you to buy data in advance and not be able to go over your cost limit. This is better than what they had previously, but I have to say I like the idea of just having a flat rate and not having to worry about how much data I am using.

But people may wonder, which is cheaper. Well here is the comparison.

  • Australia $6/day Telecom v $15 for 100 MB Vodafone. So if you do more than 40 MB a day then Telecom is cheaper. Less than 40 MB a day and Vodafone is cheaper. But of course they key difference is most of us have little idea how much data we may use on a trip. If you end up using your phone for GPS the data use will be much higher.
  • UK/USA $10/day Telecom v $15 for 40 MB Vodafone. So if you do more than 27 MB a day then Telecom is cheaper and less than 27 MB a day, Vodafone is cheaper.

If you use your smart phone to tether your laptop also, I’d say you end up doing far more than 40 MB a day. I’m doing around 70 MB a day in NZ, and that is without tethering when I am in Wellington.

My prediction is Vodafone will move to flat rate data plans within 12 months. And it should be much easier for them to negotiate the plans as their counterparts in other countries are Vodafone Australia, Vodafone UK etc etc. Telecom managed to do it with telcos that are not even part of the same global company.

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Data Angel

November 6th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Vodafone says its customers will no longer be able to run up unexpected bills surfing the web or checking email on smartphones or computers when travelling overseas.

A new system, Data Angel, means its customers will be prompted to buy data when they switch on their phones or devices after arriving in a country. They will receive a warning once they have used 80 per cent of their allowance and will need to buy extra data in order to continue accessing the internet once that runs out.

That sounds a good system. One thing unclear though is whether you have to prepay for data which you may not use, or whether you can use it just to notify you of your data usage but on pay as you go?

Vodafone said the system was a “world first”. It has at the same time cut the cost of data for New Zealanders visiting Australia by 70 per cent to $15 for 100 megabytes.

Getting better. But $150 a gig still way too high. The real solution is having roaming rates say no more than double local rates.

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A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

October 31st, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Commerce Commission has unconditionally approved Vodafone’s purchase of TelstraClear, a decision the Green Party says will reduce options and push up prices.

Co-leader Russel Norman noted the terms of the $840m takeover included a clause that would prevent Telstra re-entering the New Zealand market for an undisclosed period.

“Make no mistake – Vodafone’s move is about eliminating competition,” he said.

“We’ve seen it in the banking sector, the insurance sector, and now it’s happening in the telco sector. Vodafone’s takeover of TelstraClear will inevitably lead to higher prices for end-users, businesses, and government.

“It’s not in the long-term interests of the New Zealand economy for our primary competition regulator to be eliminating competition in the telecommunications industry.”

Oh Good God, now Russel wants to be the Commerce Commission also. Let politicians decide on the basis of a five minute chat to their staff, rather than you know months and months of legal and economic analysis.

However, the commission said it did not find any significant business overlap between Vodafone and TelstraClear in the provision of either mobile phone services or fixed line services to large businesses.

Exactly. It would be vastly different if it was a Telecom and Vodafone merger. That would be bad for consumers. But many in the industry think that the TelstraClear acquisition by Vodafone will actually enhance competition as it means there will be a fully fledged competitor to Telecom. Individually neither TC nor Vodafone could effectively compete with Telecom in all aspects. Together, they can.

With David Parker having declared that Ministers (not shareholders) should determine who can buy F&P shares, and Russel Norman declaring who can buy TelstraClear, it is becoming clear that in a future Labour-Green Government the way to get sales approved will be to cosy up to Ministers.

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The Vodafone brand

September 11th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

NZ Herald reports:

Vodafone has been slapped with more fines for Fair Trading Act breaches than any other company but a brand specialist says the telco has dodged major reputation damage by owning up to the wrongdoing.

The phone and internet company was fined $960,000 yesterday after pleading guilty to 21 charges for misleading advertising.

This brought the total fines Vodafone has copped for Fair Trading Act breaches to almost $1.5 million, the highest imposed on a single defendant.

Despite this milestone, Interbrand managing director James Bickford said Vodafone’s apology for its actions would mitigate the harm the offending could have done to its brand.

“They’ve come out and said ‘we’ve made an error’ and apologised for it,” Bickford said.

“As far as the brand is concerned, that’s what it should be doing,” he said.

Vodafone fines

Yesterday: $960,000 for misleading advertising over a free air-time deal and the coverage of its wireless broadband network.
November 2011: $81,900 for misleading customers over “$1 a day” mobile data charges.
August 2011: Fine $400,000 for misleading customers over its Vodafone Live! service.

While it does mitigate the damage to have Vodafone admit their mistakes and apologise for it, I think their brand is being damaged by the third fine for misleading advertising in a year.

Telecom are no longer the big bad bully. Having lost Chorus, they no longer have a structural advantage. Vodafone is the giant global brand, and they need to be careful that their brand doesn’t suffer any more damage. With 2 degrees also in the market, loyalty is far from guaranteed.

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Vodafone buys TelstraClear

July 12th, 2012 at 12:14 pm by David Farrar

Vodafone has purchased TelstraClear for NZ$840m. This means that many of our original ISPs such as Clear.net and Ihug are now Vodafone.

It’s a sensible move for Vodafone, as the two companies complement each other and means they can go head to head with Telecom in landlines, mobile, broadband Internet and ultra-fast broadband.

What I will be looking for is whether Telstra, once the sale is approved, then makes a take over bid for Telecom, or at least a significant stake.

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Will Vodafone buy TelstraClear

June 6th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Telstra has confirmed it was in talks to sell its New Zealand subsidiary to Britain’s Vodafone. …

Deutsche Bank analyst Geoff Zame said the fact Telstra had issued a statement to the markets indicated there was something tangible and promising to the discussions.

The idea of combining the businesses was not a surprise and ”quite logical”, but the way they might be combined was a surprise, he said.

”Most of the rumours tended to be that Vodafone was for sale.” British analyst Ovum had believed TelstraClear might be a possible buyer of Vodafone New Zealand.

A takeover of TelstraClear by Vodafone would probably be negative for Telecom as Vodafone might be willing to invest more money in TelstraClear than Telstra,  Zame said.

Telecommunications Users Association chief executive Paul Brislen said that ”without a mobile division to call its own” TelstraClear was going to struggle in New Zealand. ”Either Telstra needs to put up and invest, or it’s time to call it a day and by the sounds of it, having looked at Vodafone New Zealand and not wanting to pay the asking price, it would seem a reverse offer is on the table.”

The potential deal probably makes sense for both Telstra and Vodafone. TelstraClear has never performed well in New Zealand, and with no mobile presence or fibre involvement has a fairly bleak future.

What assets they do have though, complement Vodafone’s current assets quite well. One industry expert said that he thinks that what Vodafone really wants is the spectrum owned by TelstraClear, which makes sense.

Obviously any deal would need to be approved by the Commerce Commission, but on the surface I don’t think it would put Vodafone into a dominant position – they are losing mobile share to 2 degrees quite rapidly.

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Vodafone or Telecom or 2 Degrees?

February 21st, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Okay I blogged yesterday that I will be replacing my Blackberry with a new smartphone.

A related issue is do I stay with Vodafone. Here’s how I am currently connected:

  • Home Internet – Vodafone (through Ihug)
  • Work Internet – Xtreme (they are in my office building, which is handy)
  • Blackberry – Vodafone
  • iPad – Vodafone
  • Mobile Internet – Vodafone (Vodem)

I am a bit exposed having my main four connections (I rarely go into the office) all with Vodafone. Hence my thinking has been to swap my Vodem for a T-Stick. This provides me with a backup network when Vodafone is down.

Also when travelling, I have often found Vodafone 3G signals hard to get (and GPRS is next to useless for me). In large parts of Ponsonby and St Marys Bay in Auckland I struggle to get Vodafone 3G. Sometimes you get a signal for a bit but somehow it gets overloaded and drops you to GPRS.

Sort of related to that, my Vodafone Blackberry hits a few black spots around Wellington. It always loses a call if driving up the hill to Khandallah. Also loses signal in parts of the CBD sometimes.

I’ve heard that XT is pretty good since they sorted their problems out – faster and with more coverage.

So should I stay with everything on Vodafone, or go to Telecom for some connectivity – and if so, for the phone or for the mobile internet or both?

2 Degrees is a possibility also. They tend to be cheaper, but I am more focused on speed and reliability than price.

What would be great would be a telco that would sell me say 100 GB a month, and allow me to use it over all four devices (laptop, phone, mobile internet stick, ipad). I hate it that I have to buy say an extra $20 of data for my iPad for the last three days of the month, when I have 25 GB unused on my landline etc.

I’m definitely not planning to change my home Internet (have been Ihug since 1996) or iPad (unless there is some bundled package for data across all devices). But I am open to going elsewhere for my smartphone and my mobile internet stick. Views welcome.

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Funny

August 18th, 2011 at 9:51 am by David Farrar

Sent in by a reader.

UPDATE: And Telecom have pulled the campaign. A good call.

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Vodafone Customer Service

July 21st, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Vodafone frustrates me. Some of the time they give great customer service – especially if you engage with their Twitter people who several times have sorted problems out for me within minutes.

But at other times the customer service is sub-standard.

In January I moved apartments. As part of that I gave both Telecom and Vodafone advance notice. Telecom scheduled the phone number to transfer for a specific hour on a particular day.

I was hoping Vodafone could arrange for my DSL connection to transfer the same afternoon as the phone transfers. But alas I was told they could not even log my job into their system until the Telecom transfer was done!

Then once the job was logged I was told there would be a 10 to 15 working day delay until my DSL connection was transferred.  In the end it took 16 days (including weekends) to get my DSL working again.

Now this wasn’t the end of the world as I had a vodem, and could survive on mobile broadband even though it is not as fast. So I got through the 16 days okay.

But then I got the bill for the vodem. And on top of the normal $50 monthly charge was $602 of excess data charges!

As I only used the vodem because my DSL connection was not available (which I was paying for incidentally) I e-mailed Vodafone on the 7th of March asking them to consider remitting the excessive usage charges as it was their own inability to reconnect my DSL within a couple of days, which caused the excess data charge.

I go an auto-reply which said:

We appreciate that you have taken the time to write and you can be assured that we will be in touch as soon as possible.

And apart from a further acknowledgement, I’ve never heard back.

The $600 I got whacked is reason enough to be less than happy. But that is not even the biggest issue for me. If I had got a reply saying this is our decision, then I would at least have a decision on which I can base my future purchasing decisions.

But just getting no reply at all is incredibly frustrating. I don’t have the time to spend hours on the phone being transferred from person to person while trying to find out what has happened. I expect a major company to have a system which ensures customers’ letters are replied to – especially those seeking a refund.

UPDATE: Vodafone have contacted me and the issue has been resolved satisfactorily. My thanks to them for this. I use Vodafone for my mobile phone calls and texts, plus as my home ISP, and also as data for my Blackberry, ipad and Vodem. Most months they get $300 to $500 from me, which is fine – but I did object to an extra $600 in the conditions outlined.

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Air NZ data charges

February 8th, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Passengers on Air New Zealand’s new black A320 will be able to make phone calls, send texts and check emails – if they are Vodafone customers.

The plane is one of two A320s which the airline is making “mobile phone capable” in the next month.

Being able to text and e-mail will be useful. Not so sure about the wisdom of voice calls, but to be fair in theory one can already make these on their international flights through the in seat phones.

Passengers will pay roaming costs of $3.50 a minute and 80c for every outbound text. They will also pay $20 per megabyte of data.

Well fuck that. $20,000 per GB of data is insanely high.

Will they also charge for incoming calls and texts?

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Vodafone on Rural Broadband

November 26th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

A guest post by Steve Rieger, Vodafone’s General Manager of Wholesale and New Business Development:

Rural Broadband – an easy answer

The Telecom-Vodafone joint bid for the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) has certainly got attention.  Who would have thought that these traditional arch enemies would entertain such a partnership?  Well, it’s the right thing to do to deliver a step change in connectivity for New Zealand’s rural community and moreover we think it’s the way of the future.

We think rural Kiwis deserve high speed broadband, wider mobile coverage and a choice of service provider.  That shouldn’t just be the preserve of the city-dwellers.  That’s why our solution – a new open-access network which combines fibre and wireless gives better bang for the tax-payer’s buck.  It equips New Zealand’s economic heartland, which accounts for 60 percent of New Zealand’s exports, for the 21st century.

So what will we deliver?  Fibre to 97 percent of rural schools and a minimum of 5Mbps broadband service to 80 percent of rural households within six years and priority users with fibre-based broadband services.  That’s a minimum of 5Mbps.  In time we will deliver more.  And, we will deliver it faster than the government’s timetable.

The solution looks like this: Chorus will extend Telecom’s existing fibre infrastructure to key rural points of presence, including schools and hospitals.  Vodafone will expand its wireless infrastructure to deliver wireless high speed broadband.  Chorus will build the fibre and DSL network and Vodafone will build the mobile towers.  XT and Vodafone will put their cellular equipment on the towers and provide independent services to their wholesale and MVNO customers as well as directly to retail customers.

The key is open access.  Anyone will be able to offer a retail service over the new infrastructure, whether fibre or wireless, on an equivalent basis.  2degrees, XT and regional wifi operators will be able to put their equipment on the towers and provide independent services to their customers, competing on equal terms.  The result – strong retail competition and a real choice of retail solutions and providers for rural customers.

We think this model is the new state of the telecommunications industry.  We compete vigorously on one hand and cooperate on the other.  The design of this solution means we will continue to be fierce retail competitors – and have created a platform that enables other operators to compete with us.  Trying to deliver this as a sole operator just doesn’t stack up economically.

Our proposed solution delivers choice to rural customers: either fixed broadband, or fixed wireless broadband.  In delivering wireless broadband we provide additional social advantages by enabling wider use of mobile voice and text, two important communication channels for individuals and communities.

Why not fibre to the farm? The economics just don’t stack up.  International best practice for rural communities is to deliver broadband over wireless networks.  Ireland, Germany, the US and Australia have all gone this way.  It means rural families can stay connected at home and on the farm, reducing geographical and social isolation.

Wireless is also future-proofed.  It means next generation mobile technologies such as 4G (otherwise known as Long Term Evolution – LTE), can be rolled out to rural users at the same time it’s made available to urban customers.  4G will offer faster data rates, lower latency, shorter delays and loading times, and ultimately a better experience.

Vodafone and Telecom can bridge the urban/rural digital divide in New Zealand, give other players equal access to the infrastructure, and deliver choice to rural New Zealand.

The Minister expects to make a decision by Christmas.

I am a big fan of the open access nature of the proposal, and think it is a model for future mobile expansion.

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All about Telecom

November 12th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Four recent Telecom issues, so will talk about them all in the one post.

First they have a new data roaming deal.

The new pricing gives customers 100 megabytes (MB) of mobile data for $100 while roaming overseas in these locations that’s the equivalent of $1/MB.

Customers will be charged $8.00/MB for the first 12.5MB and a remaining 87.5MB worth of data for the rest of their billing month will be free.

A year ago we were all paying $30/MB for roaming data, so this is a good step in the right direction.

If you are on a big trip and will use close to 100 MB this is a damn good deal. If you will only use 10 MB or so, then not so great.

Vodafone charge $5/MB in Australia and $10/MB elsewhere (off memory). So if you plan to use more than 20 MB in Australia Telecom are better. And for US and UK they are cheaper at any rate.

My personal price point is around $1 – $2/MB. I will grudgingly pay that for international data for my mobile devices.

Secondly Stuff reports on the UFB tender:

Telecom will today step up its campaign to become the Government’s broadband partner, releasing a poll on its website that says more Kiwis would prefer its network arm Chorus got the job of building the ultrafast broadband network than electricity lines companies headed by Vector. …

UMR said 48 per cent of those polled would prefer to see Telecom broken up and have “an independent, stand-alone Chorus extend the existing fibre network”, while 28 per cent favoured the Government investing in a new network rolled out by electricity lines companies led by Vector.

Vector spokeswoman Philippa White responded: “Essentially the decision as to who will partner with the Government for the UFB build sits with Crown Fibre Holdings”.

The poll is interesting but to some degree irrelevant. Because it ignores the most important factor – cost.

If the Regional Fibre Group/Vector and Telecom/Chorus both say “Yes we can do fibre to the home to 75% of NZ if the Crown invests $1.5b”, then my view is you would absolutely go with Telecom/Chorus due to their existing infrastructure.

If the two bidders are even “close” to each other – ie Chorus says we can do it for $1.7b and Vector/RFG for $1.5b, then you’d probably still go with Telecom/Chorus – just to avoid the possibility of Telecom using the copper network to make the fibre network unprofitable by undercutting them.

But what the poll ignores, is that there may be a large difference between the two bids. If Vector/RFG are saying we can do 75% in 10 years for $1.5b and Telecom/Chorus are saying we can do 75% but need $2.4b to do it within 10 years, then one goes with Vector (in my opinion). And this scenario is not impossible. The lines companies already have infrastructure assets and resource consents which may allow them to do the job far cheaper than even a structurally separated Chorus.

So at the end of the day it is not a popularity contest between Telecom and Vector. The actual commercial details of their bids are vital.

Thirdly, Telecom have put together a one stop shop website about UFB and their bid. I’ve already read most of the site – lots of useful info there.

Finally, we have an announcement from Telecom and Vodafone about a joint bid for rural broadband:

Telecom and Vodafone have announced they have made a joint bid for the Government’s $300 million rural broadband initiative, bids for which are due in today.

Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds said the solution would New Zealand’s two largest telecommunications providers “combining their extensive resources and skills to bring the benefits of high speed broadband to rural communities as quickly as possible”.

One goal of the rural broadband initiative is to ensure 93 per cent of New Zealand’s 900 rural schools have access to 100 megabit per second broadband, with the rest getting a 10Mbps service.

The other goal is that 80 per cent of rural New Zealanders get a 5Mbps service to their homes, with the rest able to access broadband with a speed of at least 1Mbps.

Telecom said the joint solution would involve extending Telecom’s existing fibre infrastructure to key rural points of presence, including schools and hospitals, and expanding Vodafone’s wireless infrastructure “that harnesses the power of this fibre to deliver high speed broadband services wirelessly”.

Telecom said any service provider would be able toretail services over the new infrastructure. “This means that rural customers will have not only faster data services but also a much wider choice of technologies and suppliers for these services.”

Telecom would be responsible for building fibre to schools and hospitals, cellsites and rural exchanges and cabinets.

Vodafone would be responsible for the design and build of “open access tower infrastructure” that Vodafone and Telecom XT would share, “as indeed could any other wireless service provider who wishes to do so”.

I’m very supportive of this. I think open access cellphone towers are where the future is. It makes a lot of sense economically, and from a resource consent point of view, to share this infrastructure.

Once we do have announcements on who will be the local (or national) fibre companies, there could well be a role for them in providing future cellphone towers, which Telecom, Vodafone, 2 degrees etc could all put gear on. The fibre company of course would provide high capacity backhaul. There are some technical challenges around size of towers and having all the gear high enough to get a good signal, but these are workable.

So good to see Telecom and Vodafone moving in this direction.

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Vodafone quality

November 6th, 2010 at 1:32 pm by David Farrar

I’m not sure what the problem is, but Vodafone’s quality has not been great lately.

On around half a dozen occasions, people phoning me have not been able to get through – it goes straight to my voicemail, despite the fact my mobile phone is switched on, and not in use. I can only guess there was some sort of network congestion.

This is more than a minor inconvenience. Twice it has happened when radio stations are calling me to do live on air interviews at an arranged time.

I’ve also noticed lately many texts not being delivered to me for several hours, and sometimes not ever. Again this is more than a minor inconvenience when one of the texts is to say that someone is not meeting you at the airport, and you should grab a taxi instead.

Am I just very unlucky or have other Vodafone customers had these problems? Does this happen sometimes to Telecom customers? If calls and texts can not get through, then one has to seriously consider swapping networks.

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Vodafone v Telecom speeds in Dunedin

October 2nd, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

A reader has sent me details of speed testing on an iPhone4 in Dunedin, comparing networks.

The author also has a website, detailing the tests.

He notes these are not a general comparison of speeds between networks, but a comparison on the iPhone 4 only, in Dunedin. He did try six different locations there and his conclusion was that Telecom XT provides far greater speeds – but only in places where it works. In two places a good signal could not be located.

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Better, but not yet there

September 24th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Vodafone have dropped their mobile data roaming rate in Australia to $5/MB from $10/MB.

This is obviously a step in the right direction, but for me the price point is still too high.

Vodafone has had a temporary rate of $2/MB over the last two months for Australia. That was set at an affordable level so during my 8 days in Australia I kept data turned on and Vodafone made around $50 from me – did around 3 MB/day.

In July/August I spent a month in Europe. As data roaming cost so much I turned it on as little as possible, and used only 3 MB over four weeks. I just used local wireless networks instead.

So $5/MB, while cheaper than Telecom, still has a long way to go.

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Mail delays

August 16th, 2010 at 9:29 pm by David Farrar

Just had several e-mails turn up, many days after they were sent. As far as I can tell the problem is at Vodafone/Ihug. I have posted the headers below, so those more proficient can confirm where the problem is. Has anyone else experienced such problems?

Return-path: xxxxxx
Envelope-to: dpf@ihug.co.nz
Received: from pub.filter4.content.vf.net.nz (filter4.content.vf.net.nz) [10.80.49.4]
by mx24.content.ihug.net.nz with esmtp
(Exim 4.60 #1 (Debian); Ihug conf #216)
id 1OkrVg-0008UB-RX; Mon, 16 Aug 2010 16:41:20 +1200

X-IronPort-Anti-Spam-Result: AmwNAP5daEzKCA0k/2dsb2JhbAB0UJE6hRUViBhxuQ6FOwSMSw
X-IronPort-AV: E=Sophos;i=”4.55,374,1278244800″;
d=”scan’208,217,145″;a=”289760230″
Received: from gatekeeperwn.acc.co.nz ([202.8.13.36])
by pub.filter4.content.vf.net.nz with ESMTP; 06 Aug 2010 08:40:50 +1200
Received: from mxwn.acc.co.nz (Not Verified[172.17.8.185]) by gatekeeperwn.acc.co.nz with MailMarshal (v6,5,4,7535)
id <B4c5b21d80000>; Fri, 06 Aug 2010 08:40:56 +1200
Received: from kdcsxc0001.ds.acc.co.nz (Not Verified[10.243.11.2]) by mxwn.acc.co.nz with MailMarshal (v5.5.7.1596)
id <B000f470ec>; Fri, 06 Aug 2010 08:24:02 +1200
Received: from corsxc0001.ds.acc.co.nz ([10.99.11.6]) by kdcsxc0001.ds.acc.co.nz with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.4675);
Fri, 6 Aug 2010 08:40:50 +1200
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft Exchange V6.5
MIME-Version: 1.0
Subject: xxxxx
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2010 08:40:49 +1200
Message-ID: xxxxx
In-Reply-To: xxxxxx
X-MS-Has-Attach:
X-MS-TNEF-Correlator:
From: xxxxxx
To: “Dave Farrar” <dpf@ihug.co.nz>,
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 05 Aug 2010 20:40:50.0432 (UTC) FILETIME=[7D926000:01CB34DE]
Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
Content-Type: multipart/related;
type=”multipart/alternative”;
boundary=”—-_=_NextPart_001_01CB34DE.7D3E8EE4″
X-Brightmail-Tracker: AAAAAQAAAlk=

To me it looks like a Vodafone server got the e-mail on the 6th of August and didn’t pass it on to the Ihug server until the 16th of August – 10 days later.

I will be very unhappy if this occurs again.

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XT v Vodafone for the iPad

July 26th, 2010 at 6:57 pm by David Farrar

I like this aggressive little piece of comparative advertising, comparing the performance of two iPads – one on Telecom’s XT and one on Vodafone.

Basically XT kicks butt in the more rural locations, but also is faster even parked outside Vodafone’s HQ. It’s a smart wee video.

Now what I’d like to know is if other people can get the same results, as shown in the video. The speedtests should be easy to replicate.

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Great service

July 26th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

My mum’s phone is not working in London, and my guess was it was not set to roam. E-mailed Vodafone asking if they could do it, and had an e-mail response back in five minutes and a phone call within 30 minutes, and then all fixed.

Makes a wonderful change from some companies. The worst customer service I have had recently the other way was a travel website where you had to phone them in Singapore to change a booking, and you spend around 40 minutes on hold – paying international call rates the whole way. Grrrr.

What are you good and bad customer service experiences?

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Ta Vodafone

June 9th, 2010 at 7:17 pm by David Farrar

Some good customer service from Vodafone. Tweeted them that my data on my Blackberry was not working in Sydney. They tweeted back some options to try, and then had a tech call me, and worked out the problem, and data now working. So much better than dialling a call centre and being on hold.

As data is only $2/MB here temporarily one of the few places where I wanted it on when roaming.

I also learnt something new – what it means if your signal says 3G or GPRS as opposed to 3g or gprs. If in caps it means that data should work over it, and if in lower case it means data won’t work.

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Own goal confirmed

May 12th, 2010 at 10:54 am by David Farrar

My prediction that Vodafone’s new calling plan for on-network calls was a massive own goal, has been proven correct. Launching the plan just days before the Minister was due to decide on the recommendation not to regulate mobile termination rates will go down as arguably their biggest stuff up to date.

To be fair, their competitor Telecom, has many to choose from – CDMA, XT, AAPT etc etc.

The Herald reports:

Vodafone’s latest marketing deal has pushed the Commerce Commission to backtrack on an earlier decision and it is now recommending the Government regulate mobile phone ‘termination rates’. …

In a draft report out today, the commission says earlier undertakings offered by Vodafone and Telecom would not address competition concerns.

Considering the Minister asked the Commission to reconsider its 2-1 recommendation to accept commercial undertakings rather than regulate, what is the chance he will now turn down the new recommendation to regulate? I’d say close to zero.

If Vodafone had held off their new pricing plan for a couple of weeks, I reckon there was an 80%+ chance the Minister would have gone with the recommendation to accept the commercial undertakings.

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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 drops roaming rates

May 5th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Vodafone will slash data roaming rates to Australia by 93 per cent and other international rates by 66 per cent by the end of the month, the mobile giant said yesterday.

This is a very welcome move by Vodafone. Rates will drop from $30/MB to $2/MB in Australia and $10/MB elsewhere.

I try to minimise data use when overseas, but it is very difficult to have zero use.

Great to see Vodafone respond to the numerous complaints.

UPDATE: A reader alerts me that the Vodafone rate cuts are for three months only. This is better than no drop at all, but people should be very careful after August to ensure if the rates have gone back to the normal daylight robbery.

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2 Degrees responds to Vodafone

April 27th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I carried last week a guest post from Hayden Glass of Vodafone on the issue of mobile termination rates and Vodafone’s new calling plan.

As I predicted, Vodafone’s move was an own goal, and Steven Joyce has announced:

Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce has asked the Commerce Commission to reconsider its recommendation on mobile termination access services.

Last time the Commission split 2:1 in favour of commercial undertakings over regulation. Will this tilt the balance towards regulation.

In a fit of good timing, 2 Degrees Chief Operating Officer Bill McCabe has sent in this guest post responding to Vodafone.

Kia Ora Hayden,

Thanks for your kind words about 2degrees’ success so far. We put it down to the great value that 2degrees offers when compared to the Vodafone and Telecom charges.

People who move to 2degrees tend to either save a lot of money, or get far more for their money so it’s not surprising that over 200,000 people have joined us. It’s also good to hear Vodafone respond to 2degrees’ lead and start to acknowledge the value of talking.

What I find deeply concerning though is that your article tries to explain MTRs and in many places states as fact information that is plainly wrong and risks misleading consumers and Kiwiblog readers.

I tend to let Vodafone’s spin merchants get away with all sorts of exaggerations – most of which are picked up by the more inquisitive and informed Kiwiblog community, but the scale of the misleading information that you have provided here demands a challenge and that we set the record straight.

First, the UK average MTR is 4.3 pence per minute. That’s 9.2 New Zealand cents. As you well know, virtually all countries except New Zealand charge MTRs on a second plus second basis. The 14.4c that you mention equates to 17.7 NZ cents when adjusted for per second billing (according to the Commission) and should be the figure used for comparative purposes. So, perhaps you could explain how 17.7c is less than the UK rate of 9.2c?

Secondly, it won’t have escaped your attention that Ofcom, the UK regulator has conducted a review of MTRs and proposed that rates drop considerably to 2.5 pence next year and 0.5 pence in 2014 largely to avoid the competitive distortions that favour large mobile operators under the current UK rates. That’s also relevant to your comparison with the UK.

Third, the rates recommended by the Commission are not ‘just under 10c’ from October, but 12c. And not ‘just over 8c from 1 January’ but 10c. Now, exaggerating by around 20% is not hugely significant given the disparity between the undertakings and the UK regulator’s assessment that rates should be so much lower but it does seem that Vodafone are misleading Kiwiblog readers unnecessarily here.

Forth, Text message prices. Complex it is, zero rate MTRs it ain’t. You say that the undertakings ‘cut text prices to zero’ but fail to point out that the rate is only zero for the network that is a net receiver of text messages and is 4c for net senders unless traffic is less than 12% out of balance. So, the price is zero if an operator is a net receiver of text messages and that operator can send incremental text messages at no cost, but an operator that is a net sender of text messages can quite quickly be paying 4c for all incremental messages. I know it’s complex but that’s the Vodafone and Telecom proposal so you should be familiar with it. We advocated real zero rate termination rates but you came up with this very odd construct.

Fifth, you complain that you have to pay 2degrees several times your retail price for text messages but fail to point out that 2degrees has tried to bring wholesale text message rates to zero – that’s the real zero, not the 4c zero that you are trying to portray, for a long time. Are you now saying Vodafone supports Bill and Keep?

It’s very interesting that Vodafone takes one position when protecting a dominant position – as is the case in the majority of Vodafone’s territories, but where it tries to enter new markets it argues for low MTRs. I’ll jog your memory if you like. Here in New Zealand Vodafone argued for zero rate termination in the local calling market in 2006 and asked for (and received) regulation to prevent Telecom from charging its customers more to call a Vodafone number than a Telecom number arguing that without this competition would be ‘hobbled’ before it could commence. Overseas, Vodafone’s most recent ‘new entrant’ mobile investment has been in Qatar where again it argued for Bill & Keep. 2degrees’ success in New Zealand is eclipsed by Vodafone’s success in the Qatari market – well done, you did a good job of arguing for a pro-competitive regulatory environment there.

Bill McCabe
Chief Operating Officer
2degrees

Great to be getting both sides of the debate. A very robust response. Vodafone have responded to a similar post at Geekzone, so the debate continues.

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