[LINK] mobile carriers are evil

Adam Todd link at todd.inoz.com
Mon Nov 5 09:57:16 AEDT 2007

At 07:09 AM 5/11/2007, Kim Holburn wrote:
>I was reading this article and some of the links:
>and I got to thinking.  I remember when Telstra, or perhaps it was
>Telecom at the time, got really upset with people using modems and
>leaving them connected for a long time and tried to bring in timed
>local call rates and people got very upset.  Telstra didn't succeed
>in getting timed local call rates or perhaps they did really ...  Now
>while I can't think that they were smart enough to anticipate how
>important mobiles were to become they made sure, like all phone
>companies, that no-one was ever able to argue that they shouldn't
>bring in timed local calls again, certainly not in any of their new

I was actually on a consumer committee for Telecom when Mobiles were 
being trailed in Australia.  The discussion was over the 90 cent per 
minute phone calls.  Most people on the committee agreed that it 
seemed silly to time charge a local call from a mobile when the 
facilities were in place and it cost nothing more to provide.

Of course Telecom didn't care what the committee put forward.  I 
suggested local calls at local call rates and STD calls at STD call 
rates, most agreed with me and said they'd take up mobiles in the 
blink of an eye.

Of the 45 people on the committee only 6 took up mobile phones after 
the free trial period.

When we got the "trial" phone bills most people freaked.

Remember local calls back them were around 15 cents a call.  Not 
$3.80 for a couple of minutes.  One person got a trial bill of 
$18,000 for the 2 weeks!  I don't think they have a mobile even today!

Also with the long held modem calls, you might also recall that 
Telecom was trying to charge the B PARTY Bulletin Board operator $90 
a month line fee, plus charging timed inbound calls to MODEM lines.

This was even "trailed" at one stage with real bills being sent to 
BBS operators who held a protest at Burwood - and won.  Given that 
there was no provision for Telecom to charge timed local calls to the 
receiver in any contract.

So Telecom next effort was to sell 1800 numbers to all the BBS 
operators - "Your users will get the calls for free"  some BBS 
operators were stupid enough to take on the service thinking it was 
going to be good for them - they lasted the next two billing periods.

>I thought it was ridiculous that the government allowed two separate
>cable roll-outs yet on thinking about it a very similar situation
>exists in mobile comms, only worse.  I always found it amazing that
>you got a lot better service when you were travelling in another
>country (except of course for the unbelievable cost) because when
>roaming you could use several networks and got a lot better coverage
>than the natives.  I always wondered why I couldn't get that in

When I was in France last year, I enjoyed FREE calls from my wife to 
me.  She called my local "3" number for ten minutes FREE and I pad 16 
cents per minut to receive the call in France.

Considering Mobile call costs in Australia are around 30 cents per 30 
seconds, this was damn cheap!  And it was across the world!

Mind you, if I made a call from my roaming phone I'd be paying $3.20 
a minute, so skip that, we got calling cards and thanks to a linker 
and his awesome brother, I got two local mobiles ready to use when I 
got there on the local networks.  (I got into trouble from the 
brother when I recharged the card with $40 euro!!)

>Why is it we accept incompatible networks, bad coverage, non- 
>interoperability, non-roaming, incredible charging systems, apparent
>cartels in the mobile market?

Cause people are stupid. People accept whatever is given to them and 
don't complain.

But I want to say something here too.  And this is really out of 
character for me.

Because we're houseless presently and basically living from our car 
and driving randomly around the country, I needed Internet access.

Now I have to admit - I AM IMPRESSED to a degree.

My 3 plan on the X-Series costs me $40 a month and gives me 3 GB of 
traffic.  Charges on ROAMING networks (aka Telstra) are $1.65 per 
megabyte.  So knowing I wasn't always going to be in three coverage I 
looked at Telstra (sigh)

Best Telstra could offer as a pre-paid with a Bundle Pack of 1 GB for $89.

(Aside from the fact that the Telstra shop signed up a contract plan 
rather than a prepaid which I'm pissed about cause I wasn't there in 
the shop at the time.)

Now coverage has been good.  We've been all over NSW and from the car 
I have high speed greater than 380 kbps 3G coverage nearly all the time.

Only on the Mitchell Highway a few days ago did I have frustrating" 
black spots for 5 or ten minutes two or three times.  Mind you in the 
least expected location miles from anywhere civilised at all I had 
full strength coverage.

Performance on the network is great.  I have "always on" (pretty 
much) internet wherever I go.

I have been using under 30 MB's of data (both ways) a day, so I'm, 
under my 1 GB limit so far.  Doesn't look like it will change - 
much.  Might have to download a few ISO's to get my bucks worth!

My only gripe is that Telstra is costing me more than TWICE the cost 
of the 3 service, and Telstra gives me HALF the product capacity:

Telstra $89     1 GB
3               $40     2 GB

I still have my FREE calls "3 to 3" and I still have my flat rate 30 
cent to any land line in Australia calls from 3.

We don't use the Telstra phone for phone calls, I'm told the charges 
will bankrupt you faster than a father who sues you for four years in 
every level of court in the State.

>(I haven't even mentioned technical
>problems like dropped calls, garbled connections etc.)

I haven't had this experience on either 3 or Telstra (although 
haven't had calls on the Telstra number to see if it drops out.)

>In other words if mobile telephony is the way we're all going to go 
>why can't
>we have some basic legislation to benefit us customers.  Something
>along the lines of: interoperability, anti-competitive, anti-cartel,
>ability to roam - use other companies services (and we do already
>when we ring someone on that network don't we?

That's not roaming.   Roaming is when you are on "3" and go out of 
coverage and use the Telstra network as a fall back.

What you want is END USER ROAMING CHOICE. When you are a Telco A 
customer but can manually switch the Telco B's network when you are 
in a different area or out of range.

What would be nicer is to be able to have one number on multiple 
carrier networks and the ability (which the phones have already) to 
switch from one network to the other to take advantage of better rate 
plans, rather than having to switch damn SIMS all the time!  (Or 
carry three phones:  3, Vodafone, Telstra and maybe toss in an Optus for luck!)

I only have one NextG phone so we have to switch the sim and I'm 
worried one will get lost in the endless mobility we are undergoing.

>) some kind of
>transparency in charging systems and charging systems that are open
>to being compared, some way of being warned when the company is going
>to charge some horrendous amount, some way of telling when we phone
>how much a call is going to going to cost.

Well if you know your call rates, you can work out the cost of a call.

On my 3 phones, one is at 33 cents per 30 seconds, the other is on 44 
cents per 30 seconds.  We rarely make calls to other mobiles.

We have 30 cent flat rate to any land line for ten minutes - so 
that's easy to work out and it's 20 cents cheaper than using a public phone.

Considering the "line rental" is $22 a month (or $33 on my phone) and 
a Landline rental is $39 a month) we're ahead already even if local 
call charges are only $15 or so cents normally.  We also get $22/$33 
in call credits each month.

So it's kinda costing us nothing to use our phones - especially when 
we add in FREE 10 min calls "3 to 3"

(Yes I know, I am paying $22, $33, $2, $40 a month for 3 access, but 
I'm getting $22 credit, $33 credit, $22 credit, and 2 GB of Data !!)

I have a couple of vodafones too with hundreds of free minutes to 
use.  If I have to call a mobile I might pref that especially if the 
person I'm calling is on Voda :)

>I could probably go on.
>Is legislation the way to go here?  Nothing else seems to have worked.

Legislation is only as good as the people who follow it.  If you have 
legislation, you don't have consumer protections, you have perceived 
consumer protections. Telos will spend millions on lawyers to find 
ways around the legislation to hook the consumer.

Contrats Plans were just that, and continue.

Anyway, Government Agencies and Large companies and the Courts don't 
have to follow the legislation, they can "dispense" with the laws any 
time they like.

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