Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lamenting Hutch is Vodafone

When I arrived in india several months ago, I was amazed by how many advertisements there were on the street for mobile phone companies, particularly Hutch. Everywhere you went, there was the bright pink Hutch logo. Then, last week, they changed all of those ads to Vodafone ads -- in about a day. I don't even want to think about how many millions of dollars were spent on this.

I became a Hutch customer because i needed a phone with a keyboard/internet. I tried to go CDMA, but nothing could provide a keyboard for less than $500. So I bought a second hand Nokia 9500 for $150 and went GSM. I named the phone 'brick', because it would double as a weapon in a street fight (the thing is HUGE! Like a Zack Morris phone, if you get the reference).

Anyhow, I am planning on going to China next week, and I needed to figure out how to call my friend Albert Lin who is traveling there now. When I went to the vodafone store, I found out that the cheapest rate i could get was rs40/min ($1/min). ug. So I instead bought a calling card from vodaphone, because that was more reasonable at rs8/min. Why is there such a price difference from the same company? I would would call a lot more often if i didn't have to dial a PIN number each time. If you know why this is, do let me know.

Anyhow, long story short, I just found that the card I bought doesn't work. As in, the number you dial to enter your PIN and phone number, uhhh, just disconnects me. I called customer care, and they said that the server is down, try back in the morning. So, after spending rs1000 to make an international call,
vodafone isn't able to connect me to their own number. I mean... that's pretty bad for any phone company, but Vodafone? I guess it has been a problem for the past 2 or three days, according to the service rep. And there was no supervisor for me to rant to, either, so I'm writing this online, in the hopes that vodafone is listening...

In another post I'll talk about the Nokia 1110i I also bought today for about $35, because it is a BRILLIANTLY designed phone, very understated. Massive commercial success, as well, unlike the ill-fated "MotoFone F3", which is meant to be a 'phone for everyone,' but actually everyone hates it. I've been trying to buy it, because it was specifically designed for developing countries, emphasizing ease of use. Something went seriously wrong with the design, however, because no shopkeeper will sell it, for the reason given to me as "not a easy friendly phone."

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