Tag Archives: iphone

Optus Fail on Customer Service

Always be coolWhen my mobile phone service came off contract I wanted to go month to month while I waited for the new iPhone’s to come out this year. Optus at the time were running some compelling prepaid deals. So I signed up.

I converted to a post paid accout and accepted a dealer’s offer for a shiny new iPhone 4S. That’s when the nightmare started.

The dealer ordered a white iPhone 4S when I asked for a black one. The dealer cancelled the order for the white and raised a new order for the black. Optus meanwhile cancelled my pre-paid service and with the cancellation of the white iPhone, my number suddenly became unlinked to any services and went into limbo.

Suddenly Optus claimed I could no longer keep my number. The number that I’d had since the mid 1990’s when GSM phones were introduced. This is a number everyone had. As I’m not famous enough to be overly harassed by people trying to do deals with me, I therefore want to be found. Changing phone numbers is a bad thing.

Aside: should I ever be successful or famous enough that I need a gatekeeper, I will keep that number, but give it to a PA to filter calls. People who I’ve worked with or known in the past will be able to reach me.

Optus prepaid and post-paid customer support escalated my problem but post-paid CS claimed I didn’t have an account (yet) and the prepaid CS had zero influence. After all prepaid mobile services weren’t worth keeping were they? Despite the fact that the call rates on pre-paid are highest and there is no bad debt or accounts receivable problems. Sounds like a great business to be in.

It finally took a call to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman to get the issue to someone powerful enough in Optus to fix my problem. In the meanwhile I’d lost a client worth $12,000 p.a. as they had an urgent problem and couldn’t get through to me. Lesson: Always have two phone numbers a client can reach you on especially if your primary number is a mobile.

Optus’s TIO contact asked me to quantify the client loss and raise a claim. I was angry enough to do it at first. But after I’d calmed down I realised I’d contributed to the loss at least a bit. Better to spend my energy building my business than raising claims against well protected telco’s. Chalk it up to experience and move on.

OpenMoko everything iPhone should have been

OpenMoko powered Neo1973 from FICI’m awaiting my iPhone courtesy of working for a multinational. One of my coworkers travelling in the USA will hopefully pick it up. However since lusting for one, Apple has rained on the parade by turning iPhones into iBricks with their latest firmware upgrade. The consensus seems to be Apple didn’t need to be so draconian on fans who have unlocked their phones.

Still I’m going to get an iPhone and I’ll unlock it eventually to use it in Australia with a local SIM.

I’ve come across the OpenMoko freed phone. It’s open source (except for a few drivers for legal reasons). The entire phone is open an if enough developers get behind it, it will become everything the iPhone should have been. Cool apps written on an open platform. WiFi, quad-band, GPS enabled out of the box.

It’s not production ready, but it looks like the mass-market version will ship in time for Christmas 2007.

I think the Wireless Voice and Data phone convergence will be one of the most exciting industries over the next 20 years, so this may be a project I invest some time into.