Skinny takes FUD to new heights with Vodafone GSM network shutdown billboards.

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 29-Jul-2016 14:20

It’s not uncommon for companies to attempt to stretch the truth when it comes to advertising. Skinny have taken this to a whole new level with a bus stop advertising billboard saying that Vodafone’s 2G network is shutting down – with the minor problem being Vodafone’s 2G GSM network is not being shut down until 2025. I stand to be corrected, but right now I’m pretty sure it’s only 2016. Warning people of something that’s happening in 9 years seems a little bit over the top to me.

 

DSC_2371

In March this year Vodafone New Zealand publically announced the 2025 shutdown of it’s 2G GSM network. Along with phone calls and text messages this network carries traffic for over 1 million machine to machine (M2M) devices such as smart electricity meters that use the GPRS data network. Upgrading large numbers of devices to newer hardware that supports newer 3G and 4G networks takes time, hence the long timeframe.

Vodafone announced at the same time that at some point in the future (prior to 2025) that voice and SMS services on the 2G GSM network would be disabled, however they would still be maintaining the GPRS data functionality on the 2G GSM network for M2M devices. When this occurs any users of 2G/GSM only phones would find their phone would stop functioning.

The vast majority of Vodafone customers have 3G or 4G capable handsets, and it would be pretty rare to have purchased a new handset within the last 3 or 4 years that only supported GSM technology. Vodafone have not sold any GSM only phones for some time now, and even cheap $20 prepay phones support 3G technology.

Vodafone have not officially announced any date for this to occur, but speculation I’ve heard is that this *may* occur in 2018 or 2019. It is certainly not happening this month, or even this year.

Skinny are clearly misleading the public with this campaign and need to be called out for spreading what can only be deemed as misleading FUD. One can only wonder why somebody thought this campaign was a smart idea..



Are Air New Zealand about to dump their Premium Economy Spaceseat?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 29-May-2016 10:19

EDIT: Air New Zealand have confirmed today (22nd August) that the Spaceseat will be dumped. A refit of the 777-300 fleet commences in February 2017 and will see this seat replaced with the Zodiac Premium Economy Seat.

--------------------

When Air New Zealand launched the 777-300ER into it’s fleet in 2011 one of the most talked about features was the introduction of the new Premium Economy Spaceseat. This seat, developed in-house by Air New Zealand and design company Ideo, had originally been designed for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Due to the delays in the Dreamliner project (the first aircraft was due to delivery in 2010 but ended up entering service in 2014) Air New Zealand ended up deploying these seats in the 777-300ER first.

The Spaceseat was a revolutionary product for Premium Economy for both Air New Zealand, and the airline industry as a whole. While the existing Air New Zealand 747-400 and 777-200ER Premium Economy seats were simply an “economy plus” offering with better leg room and seat pitch, the Spaceseat was a true “business lite” offering in a 2-2-2 layout, and a unique hard shell back design meaning your seat moves forward when reclined rather than moving back which means it doesn’t cramp the space of person behind.

The outer seats were angled outwards to deliver privacy for people travelling individually, while the inner seats were designed for couples travelling together.

spaceseat 1

 

 

spaceseat 4

 

In pre launch testing the seat was loved by everybody who got the opportunity to test it in Air New Zealand’s not so secret Hanger 9 cabin interior development facility in Auckland. Everybody thought they had a winner on their hands - until the first 777-300ER started flying.

Within the first few months a row of Spaceseat’s was removed due to overwhelming complaints about a lack of space. This in turn reduced the number of Premium Economy seats from 50 to 44, and with a 10% reduction in seating it instantly changed the economics of the whole Premium Economy cabin. Over time it became clear the Spaceseat was a polarising product – there are those who absolutely love the Spaceseat (myself included) and those who dislike it. Many people find the recline difficult to use as you need to use your body weight to move the seat forward and back, the seat angle feels funny for others, and people who are either very tall or very short can find the seat uncomfortable and find the bean bag foot rest something that just doesn’t work. If you’re sitting in the middle seats facing outwards you also need to be careful not to hang your feet out in the aisle if you don’t want them run over by a drinks cart!

By 2013 the decision had been made not to deploy the Spaceseat in the 787-9 Dreamliner, and that this would feature a slightly customised Zodiac seat for Premium Economy in a 2-3-2 configuration. Not long after this it was also decided the 777-200ER refit would also feature this Zodiac seat rather than the Spaceseat in a 2-4-2 configuration.

At the time Air New Zealand said it was committed to the Spaceseat for the 777-300ER.

“Air New Zealand remains committed to the Spaceseat on our 777-300 fleet” a spokeswoman for the airline told Australian Business Traveller.

777-200ER-premium-economy

The new Zodiac Premium Economy seat is a regional Business class seat that has been customised by Air New Zealand. It’s being used by a number of airlines including Cathay Pacific for their Premium Economy offering. It too has a mix of people who both love and hate the seat.

Over the years Air New Zealand have won a lot of praise and industry awards for the Spaceseat. It has featured heavily in promotions and has won Skytrax awards for best Premium Economy seat on a number of occasions.

Despite all of this, if rumours are correct the Spaceseat won’t be around for much longer. Over the past few years cost-cutting within Air New Zealand been occurring with a profit at all costs mentality. It doesn’t seem to matter whether customers may like something, because if way of making extra profit can be found, it’s safe to say it will happen. It seems that the accountants have had their way and the Spaceseat will very likely be removed from the 777-300ER within the next year, to be replaced by the same Zodiac seat as the 787-9 and 777-200ER. Replacing the Spaceseat will allow additional Premium Economy seats to be fitted into the same cabin space in a 2-4-2 configuration which will in turn deliver a better return to the airline.

If this rumour is true it’ll be a very sad day indeed. I love the Spaceseat as a product, and it will be a shame to see it go.



Will the iPhone 6 work in New Zealand?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 10-Sep-2014 07:36

It’s safe to say Apple have some kick ass RF engineers working for them. Building phones with support for multiple bands and technologies isn’t simple, and it’s safe to say Apple have set a new benchmark with the iPhone6. No other phone on the market comes close to supporting the same number of 4G/LTE bands in a single device.

image

The iPhone6 and iPhone6 Plus include support for all GSM, 3G/WCMDA and LTE bands used in New Zealand. This includes the new 700Mhz 4G/LTE network (band 28) which is currently being deployed by both Vodafone and Telecom in New Zealand.

For reference the following bands are used in New Zealand by the various companies -

Vodafone

GSM 900Mhz & 1800Mhz, 3G/UMTS/HSPA+ 900Mhz and 2100Mhz, 4G/LTE 700Mhz (band 28), 1800Mhz (band 3), 2600Mhz (band 7)

Spark

3G/UMTS/HSPA+ 850Mhz and 2100Mhz, 4G/LTE 700Mhz (band 28), 1800Mhz (band 3), 2600Mhz (band 7)

2degrees

GSM 900Mhz & 1800Mhz, 3G/UMTS/HSPA+ 900Mhz and 2100Mhz., 4G/LTE 1800Mhz (band 3). 2degrees also own management rights for 700Mhz (band 28) but have not yet deployed a network using this band.



Are you paying money for Vodafone phone insurance that doesn’t actually cover you?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 27-Nov-2013 14:06

I’ve been a Vodafone customer for a very, very, very long time. I’ve also been a customer of their phone insurance product for a very long time (around 1999 from memory, not long after the product was launched). In that time I’ve made two claims, and the whole process in both cases was extremely simple and something I was very happy with.

In December 2011 Vodafone* made some significant changes to their phone insurance policy, cleverly hidden in a letter that made no mention of the key changes. The most significant change was that handsets that were not supplied by Vodafone were not covered, something you would have only picked up on if you’d read the fine print and ignored the big bold “nothing else has changed” that was mentioned in the letter.

I blogged about this issue at the time and spent a number of hours dealing with people from Vodafone and Marsh to gain clarification on these changes and whether existing customers who did not have Vodafone supplied handsets would suddenly find their insurance was worthless should they ever attempt to lodge a claim. It became very clear to me dealing with them that the relationship between both companies could really only be described as dysfunctional, with neither really wanting to take ownership of the product or answer the tough questions. In the end Vodafone ended up adding a comment to my blog clarifying the changes

The changes indicated in the policy document do not apply to existing customers who purchased their policy before 5 December 2011

and that

For new policies purchased on or after 5 December we are no longer intending to provide cover for phones that are purchased from an unknown source.

And that was that. Everybody lived happily ever after.

Fast forward to November 2013 and I decided to change phone plan. I haven’t been on a contract with Vodafone for many years, and simply moved to a new on account plan with no contract term. Yesterday in the mail I received a letter from Vodafone welcoming me to Phone Insurance, something that struck me as strange as it was something I was already part of, and in my 14 or so years of having this insurance (and multiple plan changes) I’d never received such a letter before.

Being fully aware of the changes and conditions in December 2011 I wanted clarification as to whether I would be covered under my existing policy conditions, to which both Vodafone and Marsh have advised that I would not, and that I will be covered under the new post December 2011 terms and conditions.

As I do not have a Vodafone supplied handset this insurance is now worthless, which is something I’m extremely unhappy about through no fault of my own. I was happy to pay this monthly fee to be covered, but it seems I’m now stuck without insurance.

Vodafone did not advise me when changing plans that my insurance would be affected, and the only mention in the insurance terms and conditions that comes remotely close is the following condition:

Your insurance cover will also terminate on the date:
• The On Account contract for your mobile is
terminated for any reason;

I have never had a contract period for my existing plan, nor a handset that was purchased at a subsidised price as part of an On Account term contract so see no reason under which this would apply to my scenario.

Clearly this whole situation is something that has the potential to be affecting many others with Vodafone insurance. If you’re a long term Vodafone insurance customer who has changed plans and do not have a Vodafone supplied handset your insurance could quite likely be invalid. It’ll pay to check that you’re actually covered!

 

*While Vodafone brand and sell the insurance it’s actually a product backed by ACE Insurance and provided to Vodafone by Marsh insurance brokers.



Mobile data roaming – Why it’s not as unaffordable as you may think.

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 28-Apr-2013 17:56

The last year has seen some big changes occur in the mobile market, with roaming in particular seeing very significant price decreases. Voice calls while roaming are still a massive rip off  (see my blog post here on pricing in 2012 being more expensive than 1998) but data has now dropped to a level where it’s affordable enough to use while roaming. Sure it isn’t as as cheap as data while in NZ, but it is a significant change to a year ago where the first thing anybody did when they travelled overseas was to ensure data was disabled to ensure the cost of casually using data on your phone didn’t exceed that of your airfares! Historically mobile data cost in the vicinity of $10 – $30 per MB depending on your destination, in many cases prices have now dropped to a mere fraction of that.

This post intentionally doesn’t make any mention of purchasing a SIM in the country you are travelling to. This is something that people may also wish to investigate as it may offer significant pricing reductions over roaming.

Lets look what each of the major players in the NZ market has on offer -

Telecom:

Telecom announced a game changer in December with the announcement of flat rate daily data roaming to Australia, the UK, USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Saudi Arabia. Roaming in Australia costs $6 per day for “unlimited” data, and $10 per day for the other countries listed above. A fair use policy applies to the “unlimited” offering and the $6 pricing for Australia is a promotion that expires on the 30th June 2013. For all other destinations you’ll pay $2.50 per MB for data in Asia, Europe and South Africa, and $5 per MB for data in every other country where data roaming is supported.

All of the pricing above only applies to On Account users, if you’re a Prepay user you’ll pay between $1 per MB for data in Australia, $2.50 per MB in the UK, USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia, $5 per MB in Europe and South Africa and $8 per MB for data in every other country where data roaming is supported.

2 degrees:

2degrees offer pricing that is fairly standardised between both On Account and Prepay users. Pricing in all countries that support data varies between 50c per MB and $30 per MB of data. If you’re vising Australia pricing is 50c per MB for high value customers (those on plans greater than $59 per month) and 95c per MB for all other On Account and Prepay users. Pricing to other common destinations such as the UK and USA is $2.50 per MB.

2degrees also offer monthly international data packs that can be used in Australia, the UK and USA that offer 10MB for $20, 50MB for $75 and 100MB for $100. These are available to both On Account and Prepay users and can be used across multiple countries over the course of the month. If you use your pack within a month, another pack can be purchased.

Vodafone:

Vodafone have made major changes to their data roaming in recent months with Data Angel. Rather than offering any casual data rates, data roaming is only available with the purchase of a monthly data pack. This can be done by logging into your account before you travel, or on arrival in a foreign country you can use your web browser and will be redirected to a captive portal account page that allows you to purchase a pack. Countries of the world are split into 3 zones, with the pack being able to be used within any country in that zone within the month.

Zone 1 covers Australia and offers 100MB for $15, 250MB for $30 and 500MB for $50.

Zone 2 covers North America, most of South America, most of Western Europe, most of Asia and South Africa offering 40MB for $15, 100MB for $30 and 200MB for $50

Zone 3 covers every other country not in Zone 1 and Zone 2 and offers 5MB for $30, 10MB for $50 and 25MB for $100

As no casual data rates are available Vodafone customers roaming are no longer faced with the risk of bill shock while roaming – you can only use the data after you have purchased a pack. If you use your pack within a month, another pack can be purchased.

 

Summary:

So who’s the best network to roam on? That’s a tough question to answer and there isn’t a simple answer.

If you’re heading away for a short trip to Australia, the UK or US and want to make heavy use of data you can’t beat Telecom’s $6 / $10 per day offering. This really is amazing value and beats the prices you’ll typically pay at hotels in these countries for WiFi. If you’re heading away for a few weeks you may find the value proposition isn’t so great, and may find the Vodafone and 2degrees options are better value than Telecom – sure $10 per day is great if you’re a heavy user, but if you’re only using a small amount of data on your phone you could find that paying $210 for 21 days is excessive and a 200MB pack from Vodafone for $50 is all that is needed. It’s a shame Telecom don’t offer anything in the way of monthly pricing as both Vodafone and 2degrees have a significant advantage over them in this respect.

Vodafone have a very compelling roaming product these days, and the ability to buy a data pack that covers all of Europe is fantastic for anybody travelling around multiple countries within Europe, something many people do. If you were planning a trip for a month to the UK and Europe with a stopover in the US on the way over and Asia on the way back you could spend $50 to get 200MB of mobile data, easily enough for casual use of email, social media, browsing and mapping use for the entire month. While they don’t offer any daily capped plans the ability to use a single data pack across a large number of countries is something neither Telecom or 2degrees offer, and it’s something that many people travelling away from NZ may find is great.

2degrees sit pretty much in the middle. Their monthly plans don’t offer the same value as Vodafone, and they don’t have a daily flat rate offering like Telecom, but considering the UK, USA and Australia are the most common destinations that people travel to they have these covered with a reasonably priced offering. Outside these countries however 2degrees pricing is expensive, with a number of countries costing $30 per MB of data – you will pay significantly less than this on both Telecom and Vodafone.

At the end of the day the offerings from each network differs slightly, if you’re travelling overseas and want to make use of your mobile it would certainly pay to look at the offerings from each network before you go. With people so attached to their phones these days the benefits of being able to use data while roaming are significant, and you could see some significant savings by moving network or simply signing up for a no term contract solely for the purpose of roaming.



Vodafone's Auckland mobile network upgrade

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 25-Jan-2013 21:29

Vodafone announced at the start of December they were upgrading 400 cellsites in the Auckland region, and have been updating this on a weekly basis on their website.

These upgrades are now complete and the upgraded sites go live this weekend. You're probably now wondering - what is the upgrade?

Vodafone have upgraded roughly 400 sites to deliver a 900Mhz Dual Carrier 43.2Mbps 3G network across the entire Auckland region. Vodafone have used the 900Mhz band to deliver 3G coverage in rural areas of New Zealand for the last 3 years, but in the big cities, up until now, only the 2100Mhz band had been used for 3G. Why you ask? Because when Vodafone deployed their 3G network in 2005 the 2100Mhz band was the only frequency band ratified for 3G services globally. It wasn't until the 900MHz band was ratified that Vodafone were able to use the 900MHz band for 3G services, and they were one of the first networks in the world to start using the 900Mhz 3G band in 2008.

As many of you will know, signal propagation of the 2100MHz band isn't great, which has meant that inbuilding coverage on this band has always been sub optimal. 900Mhz 3G will mean that their 3G coverage will be significantly better. As the new 900MHz 3G network will all be Dual Carrier 43.2Mbps, it will add significant capacity to their their network of existing 2100MHz 3G sites, many of which are already Dual, Triple, or in some cases, Quad carrier.

This upgrade also means Vodafone instantly have a huge network advantage over Telecom. While Telecom already use the 850Mhz band for their mobile network nationwide, Vodafone have had the downside that they needed considerably more cellsites than Telecom to deploy their 2100MHz 3G network. This downside has now turned into a massive bonus for Vodafone - because the vast majority of these sites now have 900MHz 3G, Vodafone have around double the number of cellsites Auckland region using the 900Mhz band than what Telecom do using 850Mhz. This should offer Vodafone a significant inbuilding coverage advantage over Telecom.

To take advantage of the 900MHz 3G network you will need a handset that supports this band. Virtually every 3G handset sold by Vodafone or 2degrees over the last 3 or so years supports this band. Don't confuse 900Mhz with 900MHz GSM though - the 900MHz GSM network still continues to operate as usual, and a phone that doesn't mention 900Mhz 3G support in the specs, and only 900Mhz GSM isn't going to be able to benefit from this upgrade.

If you're a Vodafone user it would be interesting to hear your feedback after the upgrade goes live this weekend.

(And just for the record before somebody accuses me of being a Vodafone fanboi, I don't work, and have never worked for Vodafone)





More photos of the day

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 22-Nov-2012 08:24

Permalink to More photos of the day | Add a comment (3 comments) | Main Index


Photo of the day

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 21-Nov-2012 21:48

20121121_192413

I couldn't help but notice some new equipment staring to appear on a handful of Telecom sites around the Hutt Valley. I wonder if they're redeploying their AMPS network again? Smile

Hint: It's not the 2100MHz panel on the left or the 850MHz panel on the right.


EDIT: As of the 6th December Telecom have officially announced their LTE trial. More details are here http://www.geekzone.co.nz/content.asp?contentid=9889

Permalink to Photo of the day | Add a comment (4 comments) | Main Index


Minimising the global roaming rort

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 23-Aug-2012 20:53

Mobile roaming is great. The concept of being able to take your phone to over 200 countries around the world and seamlessly stay in touch with the same phone number is a wonderful concept, but it does come at a cost – a cost many believe is excessive. Regulators around the world have struggled to contain what can only be described as a global rort, with carriers around the world charging customers roaming on their networks much, much more than they do their own customers. Why? The only seemingly plausible explanation for this excessive charging? Because they can.

I’ve spent many, many thousands of dollars on mobile roaming in my travels around the world over the years and probably contributed to the bonuses paid to many BellSouth and Vodafone employees (so you’re more than welcome to shout me a coffee if you want). I’ve always known what the pricing has been, but have chosen to use roaming due to the convenience it offers. In recent years I’ve also used foreign SIM cards while roaming, in countries I visit often such as Australia I carry two phones with me.

We all know roaming is expensive, but there are plenty of tips to save money while roaming. Firstly ensure that you’re on the right plan. Telecom and 2degrees only offer a single roaming plan, this plan charges the same for calls back to New Zealand as it does for calls within the country you’re in. You pay a base rate for the country you're in and then pay the standard per minute rate that applies to calls in NZ on top of this. SMS messages cost a standard 80c to send no matter where you are, and roaming forward inbound calls cost $1 per minute to answer (the exception to these price points are Inmarsat backhauled satellite services such as on planes and cruise ships). Vodafone on the other hand offer two different roaming options, their Traveller plan works in the same way as the plan from Telecom and 2degrees, but their Standard roaming plan differentiates between calls within a country and calls back to New Zealand. Vodafone charge the same 80c per SMS and $1 per minute for inbound roam forward calls regardless of the plan.

If you’re a Vodafone customer and sign up to roaming you’ll automatically be placed on the Traveller plan, however this may not necessarily be your best option. If most of your calls are within the country you’re visiting rather than back to New Zealand you’ll be paying significantly more than you need to for calling, as an example while roaming in Hong Kong a call within Hong Kong on Traveller will cost you $3.00 per minute + your NZ airtime rate, so you're looking at around $3.40 - $3.70 per minute for that call. On the Standard roaming plan this will cost $1.00 per minute. In every destination except Australia the cost of receiving a call ($1 per minute) is cheaper than making an outbound call back to New Zealand, so for many the best option is to select the Standard plan and get people in New Zealand to call you rather than making a call from your mobile back to New Zealand.

Because Telecom and 2degrees only offer the single zone based roaming plans, significant savings can be made by switching to Vodafone if you roam regularly.

One thing that has caught my attention over the years has been a gradual increase of pricing, I thought it would be interesting to compare BellSouth’s February 1998 roaming pricelist to the prices charged by Vodafone today.When looking at this pricing it’s worth noting that inbound roam forward calls were billed in minute+second intervals rather than the minute+minute billing applied by Vodafone, Telecom and 2degrees today. Minute+minute accounts for an approximate 20% - 25% price increase over minute+second billing. Not long after this pricelist came out BellSouth also introduced offpeak and peak rates for the roaming inbound rate, meaning it cost 49c per minute to answer a call in major countries such as Australia and the UK during the New Zealand offpeak rating period (7pm to 7am and on weekends).

This pricelist also doesn’t feature SMS charges and I’m unable to locate my later pricelist that lists this, however SMS pricing was a surcharge on top of the rate you paid in New Zealand, ie 20c + surcharge. In most countries this surcharge was between 20c and 60c, so the cost of sending an SMS in 1998 vs 2012 was cheaper in many cases than it is now where a blanket 80c charge applies.

For the following table Traveller rates are the Traveller zone rate + your standard calling plan price for calls in NZ (ie somewhere in the vicinity of 40c - 70c per minute). Since prices don't differ now between networks as they did in 1998 I have only listed the price once per country.

Country 1998 Cost to answer1998 National Call1998 call to NZ2012 National
Call
2012 Call to NZ2012 Traveller + your rate
   
    
   
Australia:       
Optus$1.04$1.05$2.20$0.50$2.00$NZ rate
Telstra$1.04$1.30$2.00   
Vodafone $1.04$1.00$2.35 ($5.60 for data)    
    
   
Austria:       
Max Mobil$2.56$1.05$2.85$2.00$6.00$2.00 +
Mobilkom $2.56$0.85$2.75   
    
   
Belgium:       
Mobistar $2.56$0.90$4.60$2.00$6.00$2.00 +
Proximus$2.56$0.95$4.85   
    
   
Bulgeria:      
MobilTEL$2.85$1.00$6.20$2.00$6.00$2.00 +
    
   
Cyprus:      
CYTA$2.56$0.25$4.25$1.00$4.00$2.00 +
    
   
Czech Republic:       
EuroTel Praha$2.85$0.80$6.20$1.00$6.00$2.00 +
RadioMobil (Paegus)$2.85$0.75$6.95   
    
   
Denmark:       
Sonofon$2.56$0.85$5.45$1.50$5.00$2.00 +
Tele Denmark$2.56$0.80$5.00   
    
   
Estonia:       
EMT$2.56$0.80$4.95$1.50$6.00$2.00 +
Radiolinja Eesti$2.56$0.75$5.50   
    
   
Fiji:       
Vodafone $1.65$0.85$3.95$2.00$4.00$3.00 +
    
   
Finland:      
Oy Radiolinga AB$2.56$0.65$3.30$1.00$4.00$2.00 +
Telecom Finland $2.56$0.55$3.80   
    
   
France:       
France Telecom$2.56$1.00$3.20$1.50$5.00$2.00 +
SFR$2.56$1.20$3.85   
     
    
   
Germany:       
De TeMobil D1$2.56$1.75$3.25$1.50$5.00$2.00 +
Mannesman Mobilfunk GMBH $2.56$2.05$3.95   
    
   
Gibraltar:       
Gibtel $2.85$1.00$4.60$1.00$3.00$2.00 +
    
   
Greece:       
Panafon$2.85$1.20$4.60$1.00$3.00$2.00 +
Stet Hellas $2.85$1.15$4.50   
    
   
Guernsey:      
Guernsey Telecoms$1.80$1.16$3.30$1.00$4.00$2.00 +
    
   
Hong Kong:       
HK Telecom CSL $2.50$0.55$2.50$1.00$4.00$3.00 +
Hutchison$2.50$0.55$2.30   
SmarTone$2.50$1.05$2.95   
    
   
Hungary:       
Pannon$2.56$0.75$3.25$1.00$4.00$2.00 +
Westel 900$2.56$0.70$2.60   
    
   
Indonesia:      
Pt Excelcomindo$2.56$2.35$4.75$1.00$6.00$3.00 +
Satelindo$2.56$1.25$4.50   
Telkomsel $2.56$1.30$4.20   
    
   
Ireland:       
Eircell $2.56$0.80$3.60$1.00$5.00$2.00 +
Esat Digifone$2.56$0.80$4.60   
    
   
Isle of Man:       
MANX Telecom$2.05$0.60$3.60$1.00$4.00$2.00 +
    
   
Italy:       
OmniTel$2.56$0.80$5.15$1.50$5.00$2.00 +
Telecom Mobile $2.56$0.95$5.20   
    
   
Jersey:      
Jersey Telecoms$1.80$0.75$2.75$1.00$4.00$2.00 +
    
   
Kuwait:      
MTC$2.85$0.25$3.75$3.00$6.00$3.00 +
    
   
Latvia:       
LMT$2.56$1.00$8.00$1.00$6.00$2.00 +
    
   
Lebanon:      
FTML$2.85$0.90$9.90$1.50$4.00$3.00 +
LibanCel $2.85$0.85$9.00   
    
   
Liechtenstein:      
SwissCom$2.56$1.25$3.50$2.00$6.00$2.00 +
    
   
Luxembourg:      
P&T $2.85$1.20$6.65$2.00$5.00$2.00 +
    
   
Macau:       
CTM $3.01$0.50* $2.45$1.00$4.00$3.00 +
    
    
   
Malaysia:       
Biniarang (MAXIS) $2.43$1.25$3.20$1.00$4.00$3.00 +
Celcom $2.43$1.35$2.30   
    
   
Moldavia:      
MobilTEL (Bulgaria)$2.43$1.35$6.20$2.50$6.00$2.00 +
    
   
Monaco:      
France Telecom$2.56$1.00$3.20$1.50$5.00$2.00 + 
    
    
   
Netherlands:       
Libertel $2.56$0.60$5.80$2.00$4.00$2.00 +
PTT Telecom$2.56$0.90$4.35   
    
   
Norway:      
Netcom$2.56$0.75$1.70$1.50$3.00$2.00 +
Telenor Molil$2.56$0.65$1.35   
    
   
Philippines:       
Globe $2.56$0.95$4.20$1.00$5.00$3.00 +
    
   
Poland:      
Polkomtel$2.56$0.85$5.25$1.00$6.00$2.00 +
    
   
Portugal:       
Telecel $2.85$1.00$5.80$1.50$6.00$2.00 +
TMN$2.85$1.00$6.10   
    
   
Qatar      
QTel$2.56$0.37$4.55$2.50$6.00$3.00 +
    
   
Russia (Moscow)*      
MTS$2.56$1.50$10.50$3.00$6.00$5.00 +
     
    
   
Singapore:       
MobileOne$2.25$0.35$2.75$1.00$4.00$3.00 +
SingTel$2.25$0.45$2.75   
    
   
Slovak Rep:      
EuroTel$2.82$1.10$6.00$2.00$6.00$2.00 +
    
   
Slovenia:      
Mobitel$2.56$1.10$3.60$2.00$6.00$2.00 +
    
   
South Africa:       
MTN $2.56$0.65$2.55$1.00$3.00$2.00 +
Vodacom $2.56$0.60$2.40   
    
   
Spain:       
Airtel$2.82$1.20$5.75$1.00$6.50$2.00 +
Telefonica Moviles$2.82$1.20$5.66   
    
   
Sri Lanka:       
MTN (Dialog)$3.31$0.75$6.40$1.00$6.00$3.00 +
    
   
Sweden:       
COMVIQ$2.56$0.90$4.30$1.00$5.00$2.00 +
Europolitan$2.56$0.95$4.05   
Telia Mobitel$2.56$0.95$4.25   
    
   
Switzerland:       
Swisscom $2.56$1.25$3.50$2.50$6.00$2.00 +
    
   
Taiwan:       
Chungwha $2.40$0.60$2.75$1.00$4.00$3.00 +
    
   
Thailand:       
AIS $2.56$1.05$3.40$1.50$4.00$3.00 +
    
   
Turkey:      
Telsim$2.85$0.90$3.70$2.00$6.00$2.00 +
Turkcell$2.85$0.65$3.95   
    
   
UK:      
Cellnet$1.80$0.80$4.55$1.00$4.00$2.00 +
Vodafone $1.80$0.90$2.95   



Help! My mobile phone has been stolen!

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 19-Aug-2012 20:44

In recent months there have been a number articles in the media regarding the blocking of lost or stolen mobile phones on mobile networks in New Zealand. Due to the inability of some media organisations these days to string together a tech story that makes any sense, it’s probably left some people a little confused as to what is and isn’t actually happening in the marketplace right now. Contrary to some of these articles, a register of lost or stolen handsets is maintained in New Zealand, and this data is shared between Vodafone and Telecom. The bigger story however is that the black market for stolen phones in NZ continues to exist, in part because 2degrees doesn’t currently block lost or stolen handsets.

Every mobile device has a unique serial number known as an the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. Vodafone have maintained a list of lost or stolen IMEI numbers for many years, and it only took a phone call to them and your phone would be blocked from their network by loading the IMEI in an Equipment Identify Register (EIR) within the mobile network, meaning the phone was useless to anybody who may have acquired your handset since it could no longer be used on their network. Because Telecom’s CDMA network used handsets that weren’t compatible with Vodafone’s GSM and WCDMA networks, there was no need to share data as phones couldn’t be moved between networks. With the launch of Telecom’s XT network which uses the same WCDMA 3G technology as Vodafone, the ability to move handsets between the two networks became a reality. When 2degrees launched their network, initially only the GSM component, followed later by their WCDMA 3G network, it finally became possible to use a single handset across NZ’s three mobile networks - assuming of course that the handset was compatible with the different frequency bands used.

Both Vodafone and Telecom presently share IMEI data and maintain a list of handsets that have been reported lost or stolen. Telecom may also block phones where the purchaser has defaulted on a term contract with a subsidised handset. Sharing this data means this means if your phone is reported lost or stolen to either network it will be blocked on both networks. 2degrees aren’t part of this, and handsets that are blocked from the Vodafone and Telecom networks can continue to be used on the 2degrees network. One of the consequences of this is a growing black market for phones being sold on sites such as Trade Me that are marked as working only on 2degrees, which one assumes is because the seller of the device is fully aware that the handset they are selling has been blocked on both the Vodafone and Telecom networks. A number of threads have popped up on Geekzone in recent months where buyers have purchased phones from Trade Me, and upon trying a Vodafone or Telecom SIM card finding that their new phone is barred from the network. Clearly Trade Me can’t be held liable for property sold on their site, but in my opinion Trade Me should have clearly taken some responsibility for blocking auctions for goods that very clearly indicate something fishy was going on.

In the past week talks have taken place between Telecom, Vodafone and 2degrees with the goal of 2degrees implementing an EIR on it’s network, and sharing IMEI data with Telecom and Vodafone. This will be a giant leap forward, and will go a long way to reducing the black market for mobile phones here in New Zealand. The big issue 2degrees will face joining such a program now however is that they’re going to end up blocking active handsets on their network, and dealing with angry customers wanting to know why their handset suddenly doesn’t work isn’t going to be easy. The only recourse most people will presumably have will be to file a complaint with the Police, as I doubt 2degrees will want to replace those handsets with new ones for free! The move by 2degrees is a positive one, and it’s a shame it’s taken them so long to implement an EIR, something that’s been pretty much commonplace on mobile networks throughout the world for the last ten or so years.



sbiddle's profile

Steve Biddle
Wellington
New Zealand


I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.


I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)
  -Polycom
  -Cisco
  -Linksys
  -Patton
  -Zyxel
  -Snom
  -Sangoma
  -Audiocodes

*Telecommunications/Broadband
  -xDSL deployments
  -WiMAX
  -GSM/WCDMA
  -WiFi

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
   
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.


+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.


You can contact me here or by email at stevenbiddle@gmail.com

twitter.com/stevebiddle