I was fedup with chasing Wifi points in Europe; and although I have a Blackberry on O2 with roaming inclusive, I wanted a data card for 3G access bundled.
The only provider with bundled European data rates was Vodafone, business tariff. £70 a month, unlimited UK use with 200mb inclusive European roaming.
Heres my incredibly frustrating experience in bullet point form:
- Order device/contract
- Arrives 10 days later
- Install into Vista
- Doesnt work; try reinstall, try everything
- Eventually download latest Mobile Connect software; it then works
- Go to Germany. Doesnt work or connect. Another 6 HOURS wasted trying to get it to work.
- Call VF support – this is where the fun begins:
- Get cut off
- Get transferred
- Speak to a girl
- She says its because the roaming is barred (Ive just opened the account!!!!)
- She unbars the account
- I cant then connect to E-plus, but not to Vodafone
- She cant tell me where to configure the software, because she doesnt have the version I have, on her system. We go around in circles for 45 minutes. She wont put me through to the technical team, so instead I get put on hold every two minutes and we have a circular, protracted conversation
- Eventually, I give up.
- E-plus is allowing me to connect, Vodafone will not. How can my OWN network refuse connection but E-plus accept, if its because of a bar.
- She says its because of the signal. This is rubbish- IM IN THE MIDDLE OF BERLIN! I check my phone, sure enough I have strong VF signal. Not only that, but the mobile connect software shows VF listed, but wont allow connection.
So in summary, I was being told I could not connect to Vodafone because of the bar taking time to filter off (even though I can connect to a roaming partner – whom I will get charged for) yet ALSO that the signal is not strong enough (in the centre of Berlin…) So clearly, on both counts, rubbish.
The only choice I have is to wait and see if it is because of the bar not being listed. I’ll let you know.
Meanwhile, I have had my worst fears confirmed about mobile network operators:
- They are still ill prepared to deal with problems and customer support issues; particularly software problems or internet
- They still dont allow any direct contact with people who can actually have a sensible conversation – helping both parties; i.e. escalating the problem so I can talk technical with a technical person
- I still have to pay for THEIR failures – I will be charged £25 for my HOURS LONG support call to Vodafone and I still dont have a solution to my problem.
- Being a business customer does not improve your chances of getting good service – I still get to talk to people who are under trained, dont have the tools to help diagnose the problem and deal with grumpy customers while the technical people (who are likely paid more) sit behind a human fire wall and diagnose problems without even speaking to the person who is reporting the fault
- Mobile Software with MNO devices is still unreliable, poorly conceived and poorly supported
- The MNOs website are often confusing, out of date and have really useless support areas covering only basic “Im an idiot” FAQs and solutions. I twice, via Google, found woefully outdated software on Vodafones site, claiming to be the latest version.
- Microsoft Vista is still a nightmare and causes more problems than it solves. I’ll be switching to Linux, ASAP.
All in all, I really shit experience with Vodafone, after a 8 year period with O2, I certainly feel no reason to take my main mobile phone account back to the most expensive network after my experience with their data card … They are supposed to have the best coverage, right? Apparently, not in central Berlin.