HTC Sensation: life on Telecom's XT network

, posted: 18-Jul-2011 13:37


If you read my first blog post, you'll know that I've been a Vodafone customer for a fair number of years on both pre-pay and monthly account at various times. I've been mainly happy and they are a fine company.

But a couple of things were getting in my way. During my walks to and from work, I have no reliable data coverage on Vodafone along Sunset Rd between Glenfield Rd and the Northern Motorway. It takes me about 20 minutes to walk that stretch and I do it twice each day. Yes, there are a few narrow slivers of coverage a few metres wide, but I'm moving quickly and for most of that distance, there is no usable data coverage.

I've been walking to work for over a week now with my HTC Sensation on the Telecom XT mobile network. I have had solid 3G data coverage every step of the way. I'm able to take my photos at 8 mega-pixels and share them at will on Facebook, Twitter and the new "Google+". I have "Instant Upload" enabled in the Google+ client app for Android and any photo I take is instantly uploaded to a private folder on Google+ for me to share if I want to.

The sunrises and sunsets to and from work can be stunning at this time of year. The HTC Sensation's camera does them justice (more in another post) and the solid network connection lets me share them almost instantly:

The subjective speed of the network has been consistently good. Any time I run a benchmark through Speedtest.net the reported speed is more than adequate. I've used just under 2GB of data so far and it has been more or less effortless.

I shot this video on a beautiful morning riding the Birkenhead Transport "973" into the city to attend the last day of the NetHui. I uploaded it to YouTube over the Telecom XT 3G network from the SkyCity Convention Centre.

(Interestingly, YouTube sometimes allow this video to be played at the full 1080p HD it was recorded at and sometimes not. I'm trying to work out what it isn't consistent at their end).

I don't make many phone calls, but have made a bit of an effort to try out the voice side of the phone. The call quality, incoming or outgoing, is consistently good so far.

The experience hasn't been flawless. No mobile service ever is. It's the nature of the beast whatever telco you're talking about. The cell towers are where they are allowed to be put and coverage is never 100% for a variety of reasons. I've had times when I can't send a txt for a minute or so. There have been txt messages to and from Vodafone that never arrived or arrived an hour or two later. I've dialed numbers and occasionally had the call drop before connecting, or the other party can hear me talking, but I can't hear them. To me, that's been part and parcel of mobile phone use since I first got a cell phone about 16 years ago. 

One thing I will say is that the Telecom XT network seems to switch me from one tower to another more reliably than Vodafone's network. On Vodafone, I often had to manually re-register on the network to restore my data connection if I had moved, for example, from Rosedale to Glenfield, then again to Birkenhead. 

My experience to date on the Telecom XT network has been a good one. As above, the stand out improvement for me, personally, is the full data coverage all the way to and from work. I know this is specific to my circumstances and someone else may find the reverse situation in some other place. But this is my story. :-) 

Another aspect of the reliable data connection combined with the HTC Sensation is how well the voice input works now. But I'll cover that in the next blog post.

About the author:

Steve Withers (LinuxLuver) has worked in IT in New Zealand (National Bank, Caltex, NZ Dairy Board, IBM, AT&T, Software of Excellence) for most of 30 years, moving from mainframes to mobile as technology has evolved and networks have become faster, cheaper and more accessible to everyone. An enthusiastic supporter of Open Source software and tools, in 2009 Steve embraced Linux-based Android as the way to go in personal tech for freedom loving peoples everywhere. Steve loves cool new stuff that makes him feel like he's living in the future.



Other related posts:
HTC Watch on HTC Sensation in New Zealand
HTC Sensation: The Story So Far
Testing mobile data speeds with HTC Sensation






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Telecom New Zealand
Auckland
New Zealand


Telecom Tech is a different type of blog. We're sponsored by Telecom New Zealand, but most of the posts here are from every day users like you.

We choose tech savvy Geekzone users to "test drive" the new handsets from Telecom New Zealand.

The team will post firsthand reports on using these smartphones on New Zealand's smartphonenetwork. Make sure to keep an eye on this blog. Who knows who might be our next "test drivers"?

   

Catch up on previous Telecom Tech reviews - read about the Nokia Lumia 1020Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Nokia Lumia 800, Nokia Lumia 710 and HTC Sensation.





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