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  Reply # 549744 25-Nov-2011 08:06 Send private message

One more post Muppet and you are an Uber Geek :)



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  Reply # 549809 25-Nov-2011 09:54 Send private message

This is all very technical, and sort of misses the point, which is as much one of proper customer care and communication as it is one of technical reasons why or why not.

The point is that customers pay money to use their phones.

I do not think many customers would expect not to be able to make a call or send a text at an event such as Toast or a concert etc. Indeed, it is entirely predictable that most customers will want to do exactly that as they try to locate friends and family, continue to conduct business etc etc.

If a company (VF or any other company) cannot deliver that at an event that happens every year, it surely owes it to customers to warn them that it might not be able to do so: that surely is better business practice than simply allowing your customers to experience frustration all day? Billboards around the event, texts to phones in the cell area, ads in the Wellington and Wairarapa press, notices on VF websites and so on are just a few of the ways that they could easily do this and at modest cost.

Since it seems at least technically possible to allow national roaming, it surely is possible for a phone to display a message such as "Your call cannot be placed via the Vodafone network at this time. It could be placed via a partner network but additional costs would apply. Do you wish to proceed?"

Further, from VF's pov, were I the manager responsible, I would darned well want to know why the problem arose, why it did not ever arise before and what we were going to do about it next year.

Interestingly, I think Vodafone may have stopped sponsoring the event after 2010 (their name is not on the posters for this year at least - it has been for most previous ones) and the cynic in me wonders if there is a connection between that and the sudden inadequacy of coverage .....!








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  Reply # 549822 25-Nov-2011 10:03 Send private message

Geektastic: .....[edit].....
Further, from VF's pov, were I the manager responsible, I would darned well want to know why the problem arose, why it did not ever arise before and what we were going to do about it next year.

Interestingly, I think Vodafone may have stopped sponsoring the event after 2010 (their name is not on the posters for this year at least - it has been for most previous ones) and the cynic in me wonders if there is a connection between that and the sudden inadequacy of coverage .....!

Have you asked them directly???

 



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  Reply # 549828 25-Nov-2011 10:07 Send private message

oxnsox:
Geektastic: .....[edit].....
Further, from VF's pov, were I the manager responsible, I would darned well want to know why the problem arose, why it did not ever arise before and what we were going to do about it next year.

Interestingly, I think Vodafone may have stopped sponsoring the event after 2010 (their name is not on the posters for this year at least - it has been for most previous ones) and the cynic in me wonders if there is a connection between that and the sudden inadequacy of coverage .....!

Have you asked them directly???

 


Not about the sponsorship.

I did speak with them at length via my landline during the outage and eventually they simply reported back that well before lunch the cell site was at capacity and nothing would change until everyone went home.

It did take quite a long while and some considerable persistence to get to that point in the information chain, I might add! 










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  Reply # 549830 25-Nov-2011 10:08 Send private message

I might also add that it just goes to show NZ is not really ready for us to get rid of landlines just yet..!








ajw

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  Reply # 549833 25-Nov-2011 10:15 Send private message

Geektastic: I might also add that it just goes to show NZ is not really ready for us to get rid of landlines just yet..!


Perhaps when we get realistic pricing for using a mobile phone.



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  Reply # 549834 25-Nov-2011 10:16 Send private message

ajw:
Geektastic: I might also add that it just goes to show NZ is not really ready for us to get rid of landlines just yet..!


Perhaps when we get realistic pricing for using a mobile phone.


And, of course, when nearby events would not leave us without communications all day....! ;-) 








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  Reply # 549848 25-Nov-2011 11:07 Send private message

Geektastic: This is all very technical, and sort of misses the point, which is as much one of proper customer care and communication as it is one of technical reasons why or why not.


But the actual problem is a technical one, thus the discussion.  Really though, a mobile carrier has no promise in place to provide you service everywhere.  This whole discussion could just as easily apply to "my rural area has no coverage."

Geektastic: The point is that customers pay money to use their phones.

I do not think many customers would expect not to be able to make a call or send a text at an event such as Toast or a concert etc. Indeed, it is entirely predictable that most customers will want to do exactly that as they try to locate friends and family, continue to conduct business etc etc.


And I know mobile carriers put work into such events in an attempt to cater for these people.  The problem is, it's hard to know how many people are going to turn up and exactly what sort of load they'll put on the network.  If you have a foolproof way of figuring this out, I'm sure they'd love to hear from you.  Maybe they figured being a wine festival mostly older people with 2G phones would arrive, they didn't count on the class of 2005 hipster wine-lovers association with their 100+ 4Gs to turn up. Hell maybe the 2005 hipster wine-lovers association wasn't going to turn up but it was slightly overcast so they weren't afraid their pale skin would get burnt!
You seem to be assuming they should just way overspend to cater for all occasions.

Plus in the same way there's only limited roads around Eden Park, there's only limited airspace/resources in a small space.  After a rugby game you could put a bus on every single road around Eden Park, but the traffic then is damn hard to manage.  If you jam too many radio signals in a small space you're just going to make things worse, not better. [This is way oversimplified - apologies radio/mobile geeks]
Plus what if no one turns up cause it's raining? You've then paid 500 bus drivers when only 100 were needed.  It's a hard balancing act to get right.

Geektastic: If a company (VF or any other company) cannot deliver that at an event that happens every year, it surely owes it to customers to warn them that it might not be able to do so: that surely is better business practice than simply allowing your customers to experience frustration all day? Billboards around the event, texts to phones in the cell area, ads in the Wellington and Wairarapa press, notices on VF websites and so on are just a few of the ways that they could easily do this and at modest cost.


No one is going to do this and damage their brand.  By this reasoning, some ISPs should present users who try to browse the web during peaks hours with a message that says "This experience may suck!"  Or back to my lame bus example, for RWC games they should have put up signs saying "You might not get there on the bus in time." - People would probably flock to taxi's in droves (and would that be any better then?)
Aside from that, as I've already stated they do try and plan as best as possible for these events.

Geektastic: Since it seems at least technically possible to allow national roaming, it surely is possible for a phone to display a message such as "Your call cannot be placed via the Vodafone network at this time. It could be placed via a partner network but additional costs would apply. Do you wish to proceed?"


You say this isn't a technical discussion, then start presenting made up technical solutions based on what you feel must be possible? 
They do tell you your call can not be placed by the way, that's what "Boop doo beep!" and "Call Failed!" means.

Geektastic: Further, from VF's pov, were I the manager responsible, I would darned well want to know why the problem arose, why it did not ever arise before and what we were going to do about it next year.


And they could well be doing this.  They probably are doing this.  But at the end of the day, 50-100 people slightly pissed they had to try a few times isn't really that big compared to the overall number of subs they have on their network and the amount of calls/traffic they're switching.

Events where large numbers of people all congregate in a small area do present problems for mobile carriers.  They do try and cater for these events but there's only so much planning work and capacity that can be deployed before it starts to be more effort than it's worth.

It is damn annoying when you can't make a call at these sorts of things - but that's just the nature of the service sadly.

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  Reply # 549871 25-Nov-2011 11:35 Send private message

Geektastic: This is all very technical, and sort of misses the point, which is as much one of proper customer care and communication as it is one of technical reasons why or why not.

...

If a company (VF or any other company) cannot deliver that at an event that happens every year, it surely owes it to customers to warn them that it might not be able to do so: that surely is better business practice than simply allowing your customers to experience frustration all day? Billboards around the event, texts to phones in the cell area, ads in the Wellington and Wairarapa press, notices on VF websites and so on are just a few of the ways that they could easily do this and at modest cost.

I agree with everything muppet said in response to this. It is principally a technical problem, followed by a business problem, and somewhere between "very hard" and "impossible" to solve to total satisfaction.

I'd also add this:
Vodafone Terms and Conditions:
3. Coverage and Services
(a) While we will do our best to provide quality Services, because of the nature of mobile telecommunications, it is impossible to provide a fault-free service and the quality and coverage of the Services depends partly on your Mobile Device, partly on our network and partly on other providers and telecommunications networks to which our network is connected or connects.
(b) Coverage and Services can be adversely affected by radio interference, atmospheric conditions, geographic factors, network congestion, maintenance, outages on other networks and provider sites, the configuration or limitations of your, or your intended recipient’s, Mobile Device or other operational or technical difficulties which means that you may not receive some or all of the Services in certain areas or at certain times.

It seems to me that Vodafone cover these sorts of issues in their terms and conditions, which customers agree to. It does not say they will deliver 100% service 100% of the time.



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  Reply # 549887 25-Nov-2011 11:53 Send private message

"And I know mobile carriers put work into such events in an attempt to cater for these people.  The problem is, it's hard to know how many people are going to turn up and exactly what sort of load they'll put on the network."

Certainly not the case here.

Toast tickets go on sale 6 months in advance and always sell out within 24 hours.

We know exactly how many will come well in advance. 










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  Reply # 549897 25-Nov-2011 12:06 Send private message

PenultimateHop:
Geektastic: This is all very technical, and sort of misses the point, which is as much one of proper customer care and communication as it is one of technical reasons why or why not.

...

If a company (VF or any other company) cannot deliver that at an event that happens every year, it surely owes it to customers to warn them that it might not be able to do so: that surely is better business practice than simply allowing your customers to experience frustration all day? Billboards around the event, texts to phones in the cell area, ads in the Wellington and Wairarapa press, notices on VF websites and so on are just a few of the ways that they could easily do this and at modest cost.

I agree with everything muppet said in response to this. It is principally a technical problem, followed by a business problem, and somewhere between "very hard" and "impossible" to solve to total satisfaction.

I'd also add this:
Vodafone Terms and Conditions:
3. Coverage and Services
(a) While we will do our best to provide quality Services, because of the nature of mobile telecommunications, it is impossible to provide a fault-free service and the quality and coverage of the Services depends partly on your Mobile Device, partly on our network and partly on other providers and telecommunications networks to which our network is connected or connects.
(b) Coverage and Services can be adversely affected by radio interference, atmospheric conditions, geographic factors, network congestion, maintenance, outages on other networks and provider sites, the configuration or limitations of your, or your intended recipient’s, Mobile Device or other operational or technical difficulties which means that you may not receive some or all of the Services in certain areas or at certain times.

It seems to me that Vodafone cover these sorts of issues in their terms and conditions, which customers agree to. It does not say they will deliver 100% service 100% of the time.


Terms and conditions - the last refuge of lawyers and scoundrels.

The bottom line is that may indeed be the case (although like software EULA's, I doubt even 0.01% of users actually read them).

It does not alter the fact that any marketer will tell you that informing your customers of potential issues in advance is far better brand management than leaving them to find out when it happens to them.

VF - and all mobile companies - spend vast sums selling the idea that their phones will make lives brilliant at all times. In effect, they create an expectation.

Mostly that is more or less satisfied. Sometimes, technical mess ups will get in the way. We know that.

An event notified 12 months ahead, with known attendance numbers, that happens every year, is NOT an unplanned technical mess up. 

There may be technical reasons why you can't avoid the forseeable service failure - that's fine. I do not think, however, that the appropriate response is not to stick your head in the sand, keep quiet and hope everyone drinks too much wine to really notice....

Think of people organising and working at the event who are assuming that their mobiles will work for communication purposes with each other, the Police, the Ambulance staff, the Fire service etc. and suddenly finding they have to run off to find a land line or another mobile on a different network. (I have no information this happens - merely extrapolating it as a possible scenario) Would it not be better that they were all aware the mobile system might not cope so that they could make alternative arrangements ahead of the day?

It may reach your standards of acceptable planning that that is allowed to happen, but it certainly does not meet mine. 








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  Reply # 549908 25-Nov-2011 12:15 Send private message

Geektastic: We know exactly how many will come well in advance. 


You're focusing on one variable and ignoring 20 others.
How many people will bring a phone? How many will have 3G phones? How many will have 2G phones? How many will try to keep a data session stood up the whole time?  How many cell towers will another carrier bring in that will affect your cell towers?  How much metal's going to be up, degrading signals?  What's the terrain like and how does it react to the different frequencies that you're going to use?

Now it would be possible to spend 500 man hours calling people, getting site plans, doing a survey of last years traffic profiles and profiles of similar events, getting someone to map out the terrain to understand the optimal place to setup your 20 mobile cell towers you're going to bring in.  But the cost of doing that outweighs the benefit of inconveniencing a few people.

So they find a middle ground - provide additional capacity that covers a lot more usage, that doesn't require them to spend lots of time, money and effort.

Why isn't there a taxi rank mandated every 500m? Why isn't there a bus service that leaves every minute.  Why isn't there 32 lanes over the harbour bridge?  Why aren't the shops all open 24/7 because I work funny hours?

Because the cost outweighs the benefit for those businesses.

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  Reply # 549913 25-Nov-2011 12:29 Send private message

Geektastic: We know exactly how many will come well in advance. 

And do we know how many will be on VF?
How many on XT?
How many on other VMNO's???

 

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  Reply # 549935 25-Nov-2011 12:57 Send private message

Geektastic: Terms and conditions - the last refuge of lawyers and scoundrels.

The bottom line is that may indeed be the case (although like software EULA's, I doubt even 0.01% of users actually read them).

Actually I was pleasantly surprised at how clear and easily understandable they were, and that they didn't appear to have changed much from the last time I signed a VFNZ contract in 2004.

It is hardly the operator's fault that the customer chooses to be ignorant of the service dimensions - but in the "off me, on you" world we live in these days I suppose it is to be expected.

Geektastic:It does not alter the fact that any marketer will tell you that informing your customers of potential issues in advance is far better brand management than leaving them to find out when it happens to them.

I think any marketer would tell you that announcing "our service will not meet your expectations" by the way of advertising and billboards is actually a bad idea, since it damages your brand to potential customers as well as customers that are not impacted.

Geektastic:VF - and all mobile companies - spend vast sums selling the idea that their phones will make lives brilliant at all times. In effect, they create an expectation.

Mostly that is more or less satisfied. Sometimes, technical mess ups will get in the way. We know that.

If we know that then why are we complaining?

Geektastic: An event notified 12 months ahead, with known attendance numbers, that happens every year, is NOT an unplanned technical mess up.

For all the reasons muppet illustrated, those numbers cannot be known in advance that easily. And there are, as illustrated by sbiddle and others significant technical reasons that can't be overcome when you have significantly dense WCDMA users in a very small area.

Think of people organising and working at the event who are assuming that their mobiles will work for communication purposes with each other, the Police, the Ambulance staff, the Fire service etc. and suddenly finding they have to run off to find a land line or another mobile on a different network. (I have no information this happens - merely extrapolating it as a possible scenario) Would it not be better that they were all aware the mobile system might not cope so that they could make alternative arrangements ahead of the day?

I'd be shocked if the Police or Ambulance staff were unaware of these kinds of problems. That's undoubtedly one of the reasons they run their own TTRS systems.

Geektastic: It may reach your standards of acceptable planning that that is allowed to happen, but it certainly does not meet mine. 

You're quite welcome to build a cellular operator and solve these problems. Perhaps you could become a tactical infrastructure provider for these sorts of events, and charge a premium to VFNZ/TNZ/2Degrees to allow their customers to use your infrastructure so that their service isn't impacted. There's probably a market for this, and it seems you have the technical and business acumen to make it work.

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  Reply # 549940 25-Nov-2011 13:00 Send private message

As a side note, I was in Wellington during the 7s this year. It was quite interesting how the mobile infrastructure crumbled (and the way in which it did it), especially given the 7s are known to happen each year.

I've been to the Big Day Out in Auckland, and the same thing.

Surprised? You bet.

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