Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another demonstration why Convergence does not work

Last night the main BBC Consumer TV show, Watchdog, published the results of its viewers poll into Broadband. I know that it was not conducted in the most scientific manner, it was self selecting etc. etc. just glad that it was not a telephone poll and then we would know that it was fixed!

The Broadband provider that came bottom of the poll was Orange. The show had a number of Vox Pop interviews that demonstrated just how bad Orange's service had been. Once the viewers had been shown we then had Eric Abensur VP Orange Broadband given his opportunity to reply. The silver tonged Frenchman said that Orange was disappointed that it had not managed to achieve the Customer Service levels that its reputation in Mobile was built on and that he hoped that next time the survey was conducted he was no longer in the bottom place.

It was just a shame that his masters in France Telecom were not able to see the show. Perhaps then they might understand why such a large number of former Orange consumers are now moving networks after many years. What has to be remembered is that for most of Orange's customers it is still a Mobile Phone Company and the move into Broadband was as welcomed as a call from an STD clinic.

A number of those that I talk to tell me that they are no longer Orange customers because the company no longer empathises with them rather than the price is wrong. Remember that Orange is a Brand purchase rather than price choice for most. Thus trying to marry a trusted brand with something that was free a low rent (Freeserve) was never going to be easy. The result has been that the whole perception is now that of the low rent offering however it is at the high brand price. So now consumers have the perception that they are no longer valued and that they are overcharged for poor service.

Just yesterday I spoke to another unhappy customer who complained that Orange had failed him and when his contract was up he was off because he had had enough. The reason for his dissatisfaction was that he had been pressured into taking a Samsung handset and after just a day of use he had concluded that it was unsuitable, however as he had upgraded in the shop rather than over the air he did not have the right to return the handset and was thus stuck with it for the coming 12 months. Not a wise move because the individual travels a lot in his job and so is spending £500+ each month and so when he does go Orange will need to find more than one subscriber to replace the lost income.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More on M-Payments

Having just finished off my latest assignment I have at last had an opportunity to catch up on developments in M-Payments post 3GSM in Barcelona.

Last week in an article in Business Week, Nokia's R&D Lab were talking about how they are developing payment solutions following a field trip to Africa. Not too sure I like the fact that Nokia have decided to patent something that was happening naturally in Africa, but thats business.

Yesterday I missed a roundtable by CSFI on Mobile payments that could have been interesting. Would have been nice if one of the speakers had told me and then I could have joined in. Guess I will have to add Digital Money to my Blogroll so I can keep better informed.

Looks like Belgium could be the first Western European network to roll out a commercial M-Payment service with Banksys. Whilst in France on a Skiing holiday with the kids last month, the evening news carried an item on continued trials for M-Payments which showed the reporter using her phone to pay for coffee and bread in different shops. So it looks like the traditional cash based countries will be the first to adopt rather than us here in the UK who are leveraged when it comes to credit.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Is this a phone or a mini pc?

OK so Monday is Upgrade Day for my second handset which is on the T-Mobile network.

I have decided that rather than stick with my preference for Sony Ericsson handsets I will experiement with a Windows Mobile device, it has been sometime since I have Powered up my Clie and even longer since I stopped using my iPAQ.

I went into my local T-Mobile store with two of the girls in tow this week and whilst asking about another HTC device they played with the demo handsets. Today when I go online T-Mobile have added the above Ameo device. This has the benfit of me not having to carry around my Vaio laptop everytime I am out as it will allow me to run all my email accounts I can also sync the device with my Vista based laptop which is more than I can do at present with my SE P990i!

As is it my back up device it will not be used for that much voice traffic, just the three to four hours a day that Orange do not seem to be able to give me coverage when I am Home and not asleep and the trees that are between my home and the base station are in leaf and wet!

So do I swallow my pride and and go for this connected data device, having said that it is all about voice? Perhaps I should just stick with what I have for a few more weeks and wait for a Windows Mobile 6 device. Alternatively I could wait for the SE K810i but as this is T-Mobile it may be some time!

Photo from Trusted Reviews website

VoIP killing mobile market

Oracle has a reveiled the results of a servey of Industry Executives that says VoIP will kill the mobile industry in the next six years.

"The results from the global communications community clearly demonstrate how important it is for both fixed-line and wireless operators to act immediately," said Bhaskar Gorti, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Communications Global Business Unit. "With the rapid decline in voice revenues and the reality of an ever changing competitive set, customer service providers must accelerate their development of new revenue opportunities."

No whilst I love the odd survey for PR coverage, I would like to ask just how many of the respondents that Oracle spoke to worked for Mobile Networks. I have to say that its my view that the VoIP market will still be less than 5% of the total mobile voice market. The use of bundles which menas that most consumers now have a bucket of minutes too big to use.

The other problem is that another Survey says that most of us churn networks says that half of us move networks to get a better handset. So I guess the idea that we move on the basis of price whilst it has some currency but is not totally true.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

To hell in a handset

Today's technology section of the Guardian, has a feature on how the Mobile phone has seen too many other devices converged into it. Stuart Jeffries writes that very soon he will be made to look a fool in front of his daughter thanks to all the functionality in his phone.

I enjoyed the rant about how convergence is not what we want it is what we get. I am sure it will be a line I use in the not to distant future!

I also enjoyed the end that outlines just what the benefits and disadvantages of convergence is. I have to say that I am becoming every frustrated by the fact that people now feel that timekeeping is optional on the basis that as they have a mobile when they are late you can find out just how long you are going to be left waiting and if you don't like it then you can cancel.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Someone else that thinks Orange has lost its MoJo

Heading home on the tube today and I manage to read the G2 supplement to the Guardian. Charlie Brooker has decided that his new handset from Orange is just too much for him. His Samsung E900 is just too much. He finds the change in menus confusing, the features irritating and the making of phone call annoying. He tells us that he has the phone because he was sold the free handset from the now famous Orange Upgrade Centre that said that he got not just a free handset but also free texts at weekends for life!

My gripe is that as my daughters did well in the schools admission lottery I have two let them both have a mobile phone. In an effort to get some control over the whole process I opted for two pay as you go handsets from Orange. The girls are to get £10 per month credit billed to my contract with Orange. I went for purchase via my phone and so have had to deal with Orange Direct. The level of service that you get as a prepaid customer is somewhat different from that of someone who is an Orange Premier customer. I was told that the handset would be shipped Friday and would be with me on Monday. If it was a handset upgrade then we would have had the phones Saturday. So this lunchtime I called to see where are my handsets to be asked what made me expect that I would get them today it usually takes two to five working days. I asked if I had know that the service would be this slow then I would have gone into an Orange store and picked them up. Could I still do so I asked, yes but they could not refund the cost of the handsets until they were returned to the distribution centre. It was thus easier for me to just tell the girls that they have waited a year for me to get them a phone and another day was not going to kill them.

What makes me think that when I get the two phones the process of registering them and setting up Magic Numbers is going to be easy. The frustration level is rising to the point that I can feel the need to vent via email to a member of the Executive team so that he gets one of his employees to expedite.