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122 posts

Master Geek

#35529 11-Jun-2009 12:44
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So I went down to my Vodafone (First Mobile) store this morning to go sign up and trial VF LocalZone, with our flat taking up a Naked DSL we now have an absence of a home line, (apart from a 2talk SIP account - But we're using the free service with credit so it costs to call local numbers, a bit of a pain sometimes) so I thought that having a service where I can have a local number attached to my mobile when I am near home would be brilliant.

Anyhow, previous to going down to the store this morning I had talked to various Vodafone CSR's about the service, including a few CSR's in Cairo (since when does VF operate it's entire call centre operation from Cairo? -I haven't talked to a VF NZ rep over the phone for months), CSR's from the Vodafone Flagship store in Wellington, our very own Johnr here on GeekZone, as well as the CSR team from First Mobile Wellington, and I was quite surprised by how little the salespeople in particular knew about the service.

Of course the first people I talked to about my enquiry was VF's Flagship store here in Wellington. I think of myself as a bit of an early adopter so I bought a Nokia N95 8gb when I was overseas in Sweden.. It wasn't anywhere near cheaper there, in fact, I paid near $1600 NZD at the time for it at the beginning of last year, quite painful, but I love it nonetheless. I explained that I was interested in the service, whereby he asked if I had a local or imported phone, then went through to tell me that because it was an imported phone the service would not work, no matter how hard the guys at Vodafone had tried, the service would "just, not work" with imported phones. I said to him that I had already looked through the website and there was nothing about imported phones being unable to use the LZ service, just the fact that a 256k simcard was required, a user must be on a You Choose plan and have an approved VF 3G handset. I knew my phone worked seeing as they've used a picture of it working with the VF LZ service on the website iteself. He just reilliterated that imported phones just do not work with the service and that was it.

I had a billing enquiry the other week with VF so while I was talking with the call center I thought I would re-enquire about the service, they explained that my phone should work perfectly fine with LocalZone here in NZ. So now I was a bit confused, the Vodafone CSR rep on Lambton was saying it "wouldn't work, no matter what, with imported phones" and the CSR in Cairo was saying "No problems, it should work fine".

I thought I would get a second opinion so I went into First Mobile here in Wellington and had a chat to the team there. They weren't too sure about the service (a bit of searching on the website revealed nothing, as I already knew) and I also proceeded to ask them if there was any contract term with the service as well, whether I was able to trial the service or not. They did call up VF and ask them, to come back with an "in the middle" reply, - We're not too sure, it should work, but we're not going to guarantee that it will work with your phone - we're probably going to say no" (just in case). So now I had no idea, whether it would and would not work, the guys down at First Mobile seemed to know a bit more about what they were talking about at least - The CSR there explained that it probably worked just fine, but just in case, they wouldn't guarantee it just to save their themselves. They did manage to confirm that the service had no term however, which was good to know.
I told him I would think about it and get back to him, after all, I didn't want to shell out unnecessary money to pay for a service that didn't work.

I've been around on Geekzone a bit but never really used my account until recently - So hi guys. I knew Johnr works for the VF team so I thought that I would send him a message to clear up this business once and for all. He was finally able to confirm that the service would work fine with my imported phone, also that it was a zero-term conncetion, so if I was unhappy with the service/not work I could just close the connection. Thanks John, great to finally get an answer to my queries.

Which brings me back to this morning. I went down to the VF FirstMobile store (not the CF flagship store as I didn't want to be turned around again, also FirstMobile had pretty good service from the last time I was there) to sign up to the LZ service. Talked to the lady there who hadn't dealt with LocalZone before, (I could imagine it hasn't been taken up all that much) who looked up the website again, and had to call the VF CSR's to check how sign up worked. Filled out half the forms for my account, and she was a bit confused whether it was no-term, whether it was possible to sign up one month for example, and cancel the next - She checked with the CSR on the phone and she said it was 12 months. Say what? I urged her to re-check, to which she called again and this time was told that it was no term (after checking with somebody else, presumably her supervisor) finally. So papers half filled, phone (imported) OK, term OK, she then asked about my simcard.

I've been a Vodafone Customer since high school - Gee, probably about 5-8 years now, and I've progressed from Sim 1.0/1.2 Prepay, to Sim 2 Prepay, and I switched to account finally end of last year after coming back from Sweden. The simcard didn't need changing across from on account, so I still have a Sim2 Prepay sitting in my phone, and as far as I'm concerned, it works perfectly fine - No problems with it. So for the LocalZone service a 256k simcard is required, which I don't have. The CSR informed me it would be an extra $30 to upgrade the simcard. I would have assumed that for the service, Vodafone would provide the 256k simcard to the customer. After all, it is an upgrade to use added services on the network, which I am paying for, and as far as I am concerned, the old simcard works perfectly fine - I don't need an upgrade. There was nothing on the website about possible costs in requiring to upgrade the simcard before you could use the service, and $50 to get started on the service was not something I was prepared to pay. So I politely told her I would think about it and left the store.

I did call up the VF Call Center (Cairo once again, surprise surprise) but the lady was very nice and was able to confirm that there was indeed a $30 cost to upgrade to an applicable simcard before being able to use the service.

So I thought that I would post my whole experience here in Geekzone - Just in case any of you were thinking of giving LocalZone a try. I was surprised by the lengths I had to go through to find out more information about the service, and the lack of information about the service and knowledge of LZ by CSR's made it even more difficult - So hopefully people will be a bit better informed now. As for me, I don't think I will be trying the service anytime soon - After all, I am not going to upgrade my simcard just to use the service even though the concept I must agree is **very** cool. - Sorry Vodafone, you're going to have to make it a bit easier for people to change/upgrade/add on the service. Give people a bit more motivation to try the service if you want customer to adopt it in the future, and disclose the other potential costs on the website (after all, not everybody has a 256k simcard floating around).

Cheers guys.

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Uber Geek
Inactive user

  #223947 11-Jun-2009 13:13
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Interesting reading Jtan

I did some work on the localzone project its a fantastic service and I also work on localzone now when issues arise on the technical side.

If you already have a 256k SIM with the localzone option in the SIM2 menu I can %110 confirm you do not need to upgrade your SIM

If you change your mind about getting localzone PM me and I will help the store with the correct process.

It is a very simple process for the store to get localzone activated in SIEBEL


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