stuff.... random stuff....

My midlife crisis of carrier - Part 3 - Spark Retail, eSim and Travel

, posted: 21-Dec-2019 10:27

As promised last week here is an update after a week of travel with the Apple Watch. Let me apologise in advance this post is going a bit of mess, long and all over the show.

Travel – Ok so the Apple Watch has just slotted itself into my daily life without much fuss. If your already an Apple Watch zealot you will know what I mean. If you’ve never had an Apple Watch but you’ve used every other smart watch on the planet, no you don’t know what I mean.. you might think you do, but you don’t.

On the phone front the iPhone isn’t all that special. It’s a good solid device that does stuff well. Android devices are just as good and arguably better (I’m to fresh back into iPhone land to call it yet).

But the watch… It is so far ahead of any other smart watch on the market. Holding off until the series 5 with LTE has meant that I have got to experience the watch without any compromises it just works as you would expect and does so in an exceptionally refined way. I could go on for hours listing all the tiny little things that ‘just work’ from the seamless bluetooth roaming of the Air Pods between Apple devices, to only showing you notifications on the device your using…

Back to Travel – Power management is important especially on the watch. I have found with the watch picking up notification duty the iPhone battery is much better, along with the new toy shine wearing off the iPhone pro is now going the distance. The watch on the other hand does struggle to get a full day especially if you forget to flight mode it. Searching for the mobile network will nail the battery (So I’ve been told). I would be down to 10% at the end of each day which I could Improve if I disabled the always on display… But then why have a Series 5? Real first world problem there.

Using the watch as your AirNZ boarding pass confuses staff. A LOT. Best to stick with your phone if you can to avoid being that guy/girl.

Apple Pay is not new tech, my Fitbit has had NFC payment for ages, I hardly ever used it. Again Apple being Apple has made the Apple Pay user experience so quick, easy and seamless that I use it everywhere and hate it when a place doesn’t have payWave enabled. I’ll leave the ranting about how broken things are with credit card vs debit cards to Steve Biddle. He’s better with the inane detail on that stuff. I understand the retailers position, but still if your going to take credit card…. I’m not going to be Apple paying off a debit card… no Airpoints doing that!

Travel eSims and how I ended up in a Spark Retail store – Sticking with the travel theme I decided this week that I would get my physical sim converted to eSim so that when I go to Australia next week I can slot my Aussie sim in to my phone. Now I knew I could probably get my exceptional Spark Business account manager to sort this for me, but I thought I’d give him a break and venture into the Spark store in Kerikeri.

In the interest of full disclosure I had read all the rants on Geekzone about pretty bad retail experience. Armed with this I braced myself and headed in. My first thoughts were that the store resembled a hospital emergency department far more than a telco shop. There were people everywhere some coughing some sitting and at times the queue was out the door. The 3 staff in the small store worked tirelessly to tend to the queue occasionally providing updates and making the best of the situation.

After 20 or 30 minutes it was finally my turn. I advised what I wanted to do and while this was treated with a bit of uncertainty given the store has maybe done 3 or 4 eSims this year I was pleased with the can-do spirit. Unfortunately as I already had an eSim on my watch this proved to be more challenging. My contact details were taken and I was assured that I would get a call back later in the day. I walked out of the store confident that I would not be getting a call back. 5pm (the store closing time) rolled around and passed still no call. Sure that I would need to get my account manger to sort it the next day I went about my evening.

At 6pm I got a call from an unfamiliar number and it was Spark Kerikeri, they had managed to sort it! I was invited back to the store to finish the setup. 10 minutes later I was back in the store and running on an eSim. They were then able to instantly do me a second eSim for Dani021. Done and dusted. What was incredible is that I was not alone, there were other customers who had also been invited back to get complex issues sorted, iPhone data transfers failing backups, you name it the store was going well above and beyond, outside of business hours to support Spark customers. It was incredible to see such dedication. If anyone from the right part of Spark management is reading this, or you know the right person I’d love to pass on some detailed positive feedback, please get in touch.

So in Summary, the Apple Watch, iPhone eSim combo is a great travel combo but be mindful of when the watch will get its next charge,

Next week I am in Australia running dual sim so I hope to share how that works in practice.

Chris still 021.

Other related posts:
My midlife crisis of carrier - Part 2 - APPLE WATCH
My midlife crisis of carrier - Part 1

chris021's profile

Chris Hoffmann
New Zealand

Areas of Interest:
Network Security
Computer Forensics


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