Est. 2007

Posts Tagged ‘Vodafone’

Switching ISPs in Auckland from Orcon to Vodafone

In Tech on August 8, 2011 at 8:35 pm

First post in a long time.

I recently switched ISPs in auckland and I thought I’d share my thought on this and perhaps give a bit of insight.

The nature of the residential connections is that most companies bundle voice services with data services, so the home phone is bundled with the internet. The only ways around this is to go for naked DSL or to go for wireless providers, which are few and far between. So far as wireless goes, there are the 3G connections from mobile phone providers. There is Woosh, NZWireless, Compass and Callplus have a WiMax system for Whangarei and Auckland city. I’m sure there are a few more regional providers, but that covers all the bases. In terms of fixed wired broadband, Telecom is probably the largest in residential services. It is good to note though that for Auckland at least Vodafone and Orcon are the ones with the unbundled networks at the exchanges. Compass has a few too and Telstra focusses on Wellington and Christchurch on its cable service. Pretty much most of the others piggyback on these networks. This is a good summary, but I’m sure I’m missing some other potential networks.

In recent times, telcos have been increasing the data caps for most users trying to hold on to customers. The recent changes have been sparked by Telecoms change to its bundled packages to 40GB and above. Vodafone struck back with 50% more data increasing their plans to 15GB and 45GB and the options of doubling that. Late last year, Vodafone took out competitive Naked DSL plans, which are probably the best in the market currently. The way they have done it is to offer discounts based on having an on account mobile phone plan. Let’s be honest, we all use our mobile phones enough that we already have our phones on a plan or employers put us on one. Plus mobile phone plans give better value because Vodafone is trying to be competitive in the market┬árelative┬áto the competitors; compared to landlines, which are not competitive compared to VOIP lines. Overall, you could save a lot if you go for a Vodafone naked DSL plan, cell phone plan and a VOIP line from 2Talk. Moving your Sky over to them could help as well, saving you on the MY SKY every month. This would be a triple play style service from Vodafone in an untraditional way. This is precisely what I have done. Orcon, on the other hand, have tried to reinvent themselves a bit with their Genius product. Basically, they are trying to lower the prices of the services they provide perceivably by lowering their costs and not using telecoms landlines, instead providing the phone line over the internet they can provide and likely over their own unbundled network most of the time. In the mean time, their service has not been good. They are so bogged down with the implementation of Genius that they have no time to respond to the calls of existing customers, wait times on the lines are pretty long, at times beyond half an hour. They have neglected their existing customers, sometimes by not offering them the same deals they offer new customers. They even removed unmetered TVNZ Ondemand when they moved to akamai servers. These guys were my previous ISP and I liked them for a long time. There was nothing that was particularly wrong with my service, except they were ripping me off for it. Telstra continues to be a good provider for those in their cable network. Telecom has again hot back with another round of plan upgrades and are doubling data or giving 20GB more. This I’m sure will sent another round of increases by the others, I hope at least.

The only way for the future is to hope that the Ultra fast broadband bill will mean that pricing becomes more competitive. The other way around is if the WiMax spectrum holders actually deploy something that can rival the wired networks. The talk of all-you-can-eat plans if for another day.

Overall, my switch from Orcon to Vodafone ran smoothly and only had an outage for a small period. Just one thing to remember is to give notice in advance by 300 days to Orcon if you are leaving them or they will continue to charge you.

I also think the modem that Vodafone give (HG 556a) is quite nice. The real value in it is when you take a look at Geekzone and find out how to unlock the VOIP capabilities and configure it correctly. It means that I no longer have 3 devices, but just 1. A lot of the cable mess goes away.The device is truly an all in one. It is a modem, router, wireless AP, VOIP ata, print and storage server and 3G router. There are some quirks for VOIP and I’ll outline them below:

Firstly, the message waiting indicator address for 2talk is <phonenumber@2talk.co.nz>. To get the indicator to work right, you have to have no messages in your new or old folder. When a new message arrives, the indicator comes on. To get rid of the indicator, you have to delete messages NOT transfer them. If you transfer them the indicator doesn’t turn off.

Secondly, you can reduce the inter-digit interval to lower the post dial delay. I tried to use a dial plan, but it didn’t work as expected.

It seems to support g 722, i don’t know why, but it does. I use G711a, but G726 is also a great codec if you want a good in between from G729 and G711 and it is typically used in DECT cordless phones, so it may not make much difference if using one.

Overall, that is my account of what is happening in the market and a why I switched and how to make best use of the Vodafone modem for VOIP.

Cell Phones- Cheap like chips; Cheap on quality

In Life on April 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Having moved back over to New Zealand I had to buy my self a new phone. The one that I had from Fiji was obviously locked and wouldn’t work here. I got one of the starter packs for prepay from Vodafone like most folks do; it cost me $35! I then slowly looked for a handset.

There were many models, but my observation was that the market mostly liked phones from over $200 to about $1000. I just wanted something that texts and calls and none of the fancy stuff, but I suppose it was hard but I finally managed to buy the cheapest at the time. I got myself an LG flip phone that cost my $99 and also included a starter pack. The starter pack was basically put aside. I liked the phone, it wasn’t bad though it wasn’t like my old (more like my other) Nokia 1680c.

There is just one problem. After about a week or two, the sound quality deteriorated and finally I would not be able to hear the phone ring or hear the other person over the phone if I called someone. So naturally, I went over to have it sent away to be fixed. I had to use Vodafone so that I would have a loan phone in between, since the store I bought it from wouldn’t give me one. The phone came back after about two weeks.

Here’s the bad news, the same problem occurs again after it is fixed. This time I’m furious. If it happens once, it is ok just a faulty part. When it happens a second time, that just means that the phone is just no good and it is likely to occur over and over again. I took it back to vodafone and thought that I wold have to accept that they would send it over to the repairing folk again, but I was so furious at the time that I took it over to Dick Smith and had a great big fuss with the manager. He finally agreed that if he had one in stock, he would swap the handset only. He apparently had none. He checked if I had everything from the box and lucky for me I had not used up the starter pack. I inevitably, ended up choosing to go with a Samsung slide phone which was $109. It is dearer by more than $10 since I lose out on that additional starter pack, but at least I have a working phone now with two more years of warranty.

At the end of the day, the moral of the story is that everything is cheap these days but it is also cheap quality. Though, even the best of them are just as bad (or as good). You just have to be assertive about standards.

The Spray Can

Digicel Fiji

In Life, Tech on October 3, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Well, the opening of the new mobile phone giant in Fiji was done in one of the most extravagent ways with Sean Kingston performing live before a crowd of thousands for FREE. This is in line with many other launches in the Pacific where stars like Shaggy were brought in to promote the company. Local artists were also present at the event.

The day was filled with lots of hype and the media were having a feild day with it. The Fiji Times and The Fiji Sun being filled with advertisements from all communication companies, namely Vodafone, Inkk, Telecom and of course Digicel. Digicel went on further to subsidise the Fiji Sun which costed 40 cents on the day. Digicel offered phones at cheap prices and had some free credit up for grabs for all new customers in October.

The thing to analyse now is whether the company will make any headway in trying to gain significant market share as Vodafone has been deep rooted here on the account of its 14 year long reign. Though it seems that people are eager to switch if the price is right, they are not blind. The firm advertisers free credit but the credit comes with significant disadvantages. The bulk of the credit can only be used for calls and texts to other Digicel phones, which is not very useful as existing customers are on rival networks and for a new Digicel customer that means they can’t call anyone else for that credit unless their friends switch also. Secondly, the cheapest phone they have at $19 does not have a radio though were advertised to have such a feature. Thirdly, their rates aren’t all that cheap; 30 cents is only for off peak Digucel to Digicel and other charges work up from there. and climb to 45 cents, though it is good to note that the charges are all per second based which is unlike Vodafone and Inkk which charge per block on at least landline calls. You can check this all out at www.digicelFiji.com

On the other hand, they are giving more than you are paying for at the moment. $75 credit is something for nothing even though there are strings attached. The Cheapest phone they have will at least get you on their network if that is what you want. They also have phones that are better and it is good to note the F250 from Samsung which has a whole heap of features for just $125. They have even better phones like Blackberries and Nokia N series phones for cheap as well. The firm will further enhance your experience in the first month by offering free MMS messages. They basically allow pictures with text to be send together; they will later charge 50 cents for this service which is basically half the price to Vodafone which does it at 99 cents. Oh and yes, their texts cost 15 cents! Voice mail is customisable and free to access too.

Further on, the network of Digicel is 2.75G, i.e it is an EDGE network; the network is faster than the standard 2.5G GPRS networks. Digicel, according to their site will offer data plans and data even for prepay users at the rate of 1c/1kb, which is $10/1MB. Certainly not cheap. They also have no inbetween plans just a 2mb and 1gb plan. They really ought to have one at 50mb or something like that so that people can atleast check mail and access a few web pages per month.; it would be nice at around $12.

Overall, Digicel has got some competition coming up against it, though temporary; Inkk gives 30 cents all day rate and Vodafone has got the My Gang thing going for it as well. The next thing that Digicel needs is the ability to convert their Vodafone number to their network so that clients find it easy to switch, but that might never happen even thoughi tis done in countries like New Zealand. On the whole we’ll just have to wait and see what they come up with for us, but they certainly are looking promising.

The Spray Can