Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why is Optus so Awful?

Why is Optus so awful. I'm probably unfairly picking out Optus in this rant, when it really applies to all telecommunication providers generally. They are all horrible.
In particular, here are the things I have found horrible about Optus as a mobile comms provider:
  • The coverage and availability of 3G data is pretty horrible. This might be slightly better with Telstra. Yes, I'm aware it is a difficult problem to solve and needs to be balanced with having 3G towers everywhere, but I never realised the situation was this bad.
  • Pricing. Seriously? They charge at least ten times more than is reasonable for calls and data, and then give you ten times as much credit for any given plan. Really? Obviously this is so they can charge massive amounts when you go over your quota. It's just ridiculous.
  • Website. The Website is horrible. To check your current mobile usage is slow, convoluted, and when you get there plain confusing and inadequate. See previous point about making vast amounts of money off people blowing their limit.
  • I had bad experience actually getting a phone in the local Optus store. The expected guilt trip over not buying insurance was amusing. The selling of phone covers boring. The pushing of premium SMS and voice mail etc tedious. And after saying 'no' to everything, I was still charged for some premium SMS thing on my first bill. Oh, and then it took them three days to get my number switched from my old phone when it was supposed to take a maximum of four hours. FFS people.
You may be inclined to feel a little sorry for them though. They are pushing a seriously aging business model against the flow of technology. It won't be long before all we need from these people is a pure data connection, and the phone and software does the rest. Already we see Apple killing SMS with iMessage, and obviously there are a bunch of VOIP providers. All we need now is for them to fix mobile data access on their networks so all these things work all the time. Maybe that is why they aren't overly concerned about 3G not working half the time. It keeps them in the business of selling telephone calls and SMS. They've already lost the fixed line home phone business.

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