T mobile

Fingers crossed – “problem sorted”

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Regular readers of my ongoing ‘experiences with mobile providers’ will be aware of my recent run in with T-Mobile. You will be pleased to hear that the matter has now been brought to a satisfactory conclusion. This is great news, but it is rather tiring having to resort to an email to the CEO to get that resolution!

20121230-111638.jpgThe gentleman I dealt with in the CEO’s office at T-Mobile was very helpful, polite and most importantly was in a position to deal with my problem quickly and efficiently. So, I am grateful for his actions, but really rather aggrieved that it always takes this level of input from me to get things sorted.

Now I accept that these are very large organisations, but that is no excuse for the quality of service failing. I cannot help but point the finger at call centres – they are a great way of saving money, and can work for basic issues. But, if the matter in hand is even slightly ‘off piste’ they just can’t deal with it.

At the end of the day it all comes down to the relationship between the provider and the customer – all business is based on relationships and trust – the banks have learnt this again the hard way over the last few years, and we shouldn’t forget this.

The man from EE did suggest to me that they might be having a ‘few issues’ with T-Mobile since they took them over – I would say that is an understatement – but at least there was an acceptance of an issue – perhaps there is hope for our telecoms providers after all?

Call centres – time for another option?

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I have recently had cause to speak to a call centre in the Philippines – it services T-Mobile and has the usual very polite and friendly staff that one gets in all call centres. So what is my problem? If the service is friendly and helpful why complain?

20121228-120840.jpgWell friendly is all very well, and in my experience the staff are always very apologetic (I only appear to call if there is a problem) – my issue is that they all work from scripts that don’t usually answer problems – they just deflect them! I find that the only way you can get a resolution to a problem is to ask to speak to a manager, and in effect escalate the issue – which is always a major issue for the staff member you are talking to!

I realise that call centres can work for very basic issues – like “how do I do this on my phone” or “why won’t this work on my phone” – but as soon as you throw them a “curved ball” the system can’t cope and they just end up being even more apologetic and friendly!

So why can’t the call centres have an option when you ring up (and they have lots of options!) that is for people like me who only call when they are forced into a corner? The option could be something like this;

“Press 4 if you are at the end of your tether a want to kill someone”

It could work and actually save time at the call centres as well!

More ‘joy’ with a mobile provider!

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I appear to be developing a bit of a ‘thing’ with mobile providers – I don’t know if I expect too much from them, or whether they are just all useless – but they really don’t ‘cut the mustard’ as far as I am concerned!

20121227-182149.jpgMy latest problem is with T Mobile (Now called EE it appears). My stepdaughters iPhone was stolen and is not insured with T Mobile but via Endsleigh Insurance (who I would add have been brilliant – highly recommended!) To sort out her insurance claim we need two documents from T Mobile – the first to confirm the blacklisting of the iPhone, the second a proof of purchase. One would not expect this to be a problem – it has actually been a nightmare and I have had to resort to emailing the CEO of EE (Olaf Swantee). Rather than explain the story the email is set out below. I have no idea if I will get a reply – I hope I do – but I am not holding my breath!

Dear sir

I am sorry to have to contact you, but I am running out of alternatives. I am attempting to obtain a proof of ownership and blacklisting document for my stolen iPhone which is on contract with T-Mobile (but not insured through yourselves).

I first requested the documents on the 17th December, your call centre in the Philippines confirmed the documents would be mailed to me and I would get them within 5 days. I was also told that one of them would be emailed to the EE store on Clumber Street in Nottingham for me to collect the next day.

On arrival at the store no such email had been received, as I had made a special trip into town I was not amused (and out of pocket due to parking) however I shrugged it off as the documents would be in the post.

Roll forward to Christmas Eve – nothing in the post yet so I rang again. This time I was told that one of the documents was only done the day before (not on the 17th as I had been assured previously). I asked for them to be emailed to me which I was told was not possible – on hearing this I asked to speak to a manager. As it was lunchtime in the Philippines there were none available, so a ring back was arranged between 1pm and 2pm.

As you will probably be guessing now, this call did not arrive, so I called again at around 5pm(hopefully not tea time in the Philippines) again to be told to expect a call back.

You guessed it – no call back again!

As it was Christmas Day and then Boxing day next I did not call again – as no doubt there would be no managers available on such ‘holidays’. So I called again today (27th) and have been promised a call back again as soon as the previous call the manager was taking was complete. That was over 20 minutes ago! All I can assume is that you have many disgruntled customers who have lots to complain about!

Please can you sort this out for me? I am a reasonable man, but this is beginning to try my patience rather!

I look forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience.



I have received some contact from EE via twitter which may prove fruitful, I will update this as soon as I have more news!

Phone networks – friend or foe?

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EE-new-logo_orange-t-mobile-webThe mobile phone is a part of everyday life now – the smart phone is rapidly getting to the same position – how many people do you know who haven’t got one?

The mobile phone operators are all keen to land us as clients – they make great offers to lure you over to them, but how is the service then? At work we received some interesting ‘care’ from Orange before we had even signed up with them – because of this we didn’t move to them from Vodafone – perhaps this should have made me think before going with T-Mobile for my daughters iPhone!

The deal was (is) good, and the network is great. But, once things go wrong the care becomes rather less ‘impressive’.

Daughters iPhone was stolen this weekend (second time – not good, but not her fault). So a replacement SIM card was required – not a massive ask you would think as we have a contract – but there is a £10 charge! They give them away free to new customers! Also the opening times on the EE website (which has recently been updated) were wrong for the Nottingham stores – but that is another story!

And it gets better, we needed a ‘fill in’ phone while we sorted out the insurance, so a cheap pay as you go was required. But, and there is always ‘a but’ – we had to add £10 airtime to a sim we didn’t want. I asked the question – “can’t you wave that on the basis that we have just paid £10 for a sim anyway” – apparently not!

So we went to Carphone Warehouse who were very helpful and let us use a pay as you go number on another network to do an upgrade and therefore pay only for the phone.

So brilliant service (and advise) from Carphone Warehouse, but money grabbing and greed from T-Mobile, Orange, EE or what ever they call themselves today. If I need another mobile who will I be going to do you think?

When is a mobile network not a mobile network?

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Answer? When it constantly drops calls so that you have to use your landline!

Even Yoda can’t sort it out!

We are currently suffering constantly dropping calls on Vodafone at work – I have had calls lasting 10 minutes that have dropped at least 4 times during that time – and both parties had a good signals at the time! Frankly in this day and age this is just not acceptable, the mobile phone has been around for long enough to be reliable – it is about time the networks were as well.

This brings me back to one of my pet hates – the fact that our networks all run independent systems and don’t share ‘cells’. They are all intent on offering us a peek at 4G, but don’t appear capable of actually providing a consistent voice service.I am off to the wilds of Wiltshire this weekend – actually mid way between Bristol and London and near the M4 – but in network terms it could be the moon, the signal is rubbish on Vodafone!

As a firm we are currently looking at the renewal of our mobile contract and strangely the ability to actually make and receive calls comes quite high on our list of expectations! Vodafone are not exactly helping their cause here!

Network coverage – finally some truth?

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The sample map

I have blogged before about my ‘issues’ with regards to 3G coverage in the UK. The phone companies would all like our business so all claim to provide good coverage for smartphone users. My personal experience suggests that no one carrier is massively different to another – all of them are sadly lacking, particularly in the more rural parts of the UK.

The BBC have recently carried out an extremely interesting experiment to show what 3G coverage really is like across the country. They commissioned an app for Android phones that once installed provided information back to a central database of signal strength across the UK. The results are now in and available on an interactive map, and certainly to me look pretty accurate! If I check my home and my mother’s home postcodes the signal strength reported certainly reflects my experiences. It is reported that those testers able to receive a data connection only got a 3G signal 75% of the time.

More importantly it is generally less coverage than is shown on the networks own maps! Have a look for yourself, the link below takes you to the relevant webpage into which you can enter your postcodes – you may be surprised by what you find.


About the map;
1. 42 million locations have been recorded
2. White space represents areas where no tests were conducted
3. Each tile represents a maximum area of approximately 200m x 200m
4. A green tile means that handsets spent most of their time on 3G in that area
5. A purple tile means handsets spent most of their time on 2G

As usual the network operators are staying quiet, isn’t it about time that they came clean and admitted that their coverage is nowhere as good as it should be?

Told you so!

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I blogged earlier this week about our experiences with Vodafone at work after a good few years with O2 – my conclusion was that they could do better, much better!

To be fair following a direct email to the MD of Vodafone by my colleague Tim Garratt they have done! We now have an account manager (apparently we should have had one before, and the man we thought was our account manager actually wasn’t – confusing!). Anyway our new (or is it first?) account manager (Nathan from Newark) has so far sorted out our issues and has given me his direct mobile number for future contact – so all in all a good start. Just a shame its 12 months late!

My other ‘beef’ with Vodafone was their claim to have the best network – I don’t think they do (O2 was better) and it appears I was right! Ofcom have just released their results from testing the major networks and guess what?

On average, mobile download speeds were found to be quickest on the O2 network

Now this was no small-scale test, they carried out 4.2 million speed tests across the country and found the average download speed across all networks was 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps), rising to 2.1Mbps in better coverage areas.

Interestingly Orange fared worst in the research with its average download speeds slower than any other network. T-Mobile also came out slower than Vodafone, 3 and O2.

As well as achieving success in the download speed tests, O2 also recorded a lower average latency than 3, Orange and Vodafone. Latency is calculated by the time it takes for a data packet to travel from a user’s PC to a third-party server and back again.

The tests were done from ‘dongles’ rather than smart phones, but still give a clear indication of who gives the best service – and sorry Vodafone it’s not you!

Virgin mobile still appear to be ‘incapable’ of billing correctly!

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Some while ago I blogged about my wifes problem with Virgin mobile and their total inability to sort out what would appear to be a simple matter of billing her correctly.

2008 advert - did they know something?

At the time of my blog I said that Virgin had sorted it out for two months as they corrected that months billing and put a credit in place for the following month – but I would wait for the proof that it was correct at month 3 before letting out my breath!

Well, surprise surprise – the two months have now passed and we have a problem again! The bill is wrong and yet another call is needed to get it sorted – will they get it correct this time or are they trying to lose us as customers?

The call has been made and the situation is sorted for another two months – it’s still the fault of the IT department apparently – they are very slow it appears!

In all other respects I have found Virgin to be excellent – but there is only so much that one can take! The advert shown here was from 2008 and used in Canada – but seems rather apt in this case!

We currently have three mobiles, TV, telephone and internet package with Virgin – I have to say that Sky have some nice deals on at the moment and I am sure other mobile companies can’t be as bad at billing as Virgin – can they?

Come on Virgin – I am sure Richard Branson would have something to say about this if he was aware!