So the first day I tried to get an iPhone was Tuesday the 16th September 2008. I woke up, go ready, and was totoally pumped to be getting an iPhone today.
I caught the 8am bus out of my place of residence, and right after I had been to see Wall-E with a friend at 9:30, I popped into Next Byte in Hobart with the plans of picking up an iPhone there and then. By that time it was around 11:30ish.
Unfortunately, this didn’t happen as the guy that was most familiar with the sign-ups wasn’t there. I did, however, get a look at the new iPod Nanos, Touch’s, and Classics! Win – but no iPhone 3G for me. Strike one.
The next morning, I woke up bright and early to go have another crack at attaining this mythical device they call the “Second Coming” – also known as the iPhone 3G.
Once again, I caught the 8am bus. This time, a friend who also lived nearby caught the bus with me – he had a 9am driving lesson. While this made my bus trip considerably more enjoyable, it wasn’t until yet another friend caught the bus that things started to become really scary. Coincidence? Or something more…
Speaking of bus trips, there have been bus trips that could have been something life changing – but that’s for another time.
Anyway, I dropped into Next Byte again, at 9am sharp – my thinking behind this was that I would catch the guy that was most familiar with the iPhone sign-ups. Of course, there was no way I could miss him at 9am, so I managed to catch him. We filled out all the forms, and were on the phone to Telstra about to activate my phone, when they dropped the bombshell that I had to be 18 to start a post-paid (plan) contract. I knew this was going to be a problem beforehand, but I thought we could give it a crack anyway. Didn’t work.
A quick call to my mum later, and Dad is now standing in the store with me. By this time, it is about 9:30ish. The plan from this point was to sign me up in my Dads name – but alas, no! It was not to be.
Since I was on a plan before I changed to pre-paid, the current account was in my Mum’s name, with my password (which I didn’t know at the time). So naturally when I tried to transfer the name of the account to my Dads name, it didn’t work. Obviously, the next logical step was to get the account transferred into Dads name – which I needed the password for. D’oh!
My Mum rang up Telstra, confirmed her details, and the person from Telstra gave her the password to my account. All good, right?
Wrong. We tried to put the post-paid sign-up through again, and once again, it didn’t work for some unknown reason. By this time, it was around 10:00 and so it was time for breakfast. My Dad and I headed off to Banjo’s where I enjoyed a toasted Bacon and Egg pita with BBQ sauce – yum! 10:30 came, and it was time to go back to the store.
By this time my Mum had rang Telstra and confirmed exactly what needed to happen for the account to be transferred into my Dads name – my dad had to apply for the transfer (by ringing Telstra), and then my Mum would confirm the transfer by ringing Telstra. So it was only painfully obvious that when we rang Telstra to apply for the transfer, that Telstra had got it wrong and my Mum needed to authorise/confirm the transfer before it actually happened – WTF, Telstra.
By now I’m getting sick of explaining to the guys in India about my situation, not to mention dialling 1258880. On the off-chance that I managed to reach someone in either Sydney or Melbourne, they were very helpful (and I could actually understand them).
So the end result was that my Mum confirmed the transfer via conference call between her, the Telstra guy, and my Dad. Finally! The account was in my Dads name and we could continue on… This was at 11:15.
Now I had some pre-paid credit on my phone before I made the switch to post-paid – this disappeared into the ether as soon as I made the switch to 3G post-paid. I rang Telstra once again, and they said they didn’t have any record of any credit against my pre-paid account. Of course I had tried to transfer as much credit as possible using the *125# thingo – but alas, a $10 limit per 24 hours applied. Again – WTF, Telstra. I tried to manually transfer the credit when I was on the phone with the Telstra guy, but since the person I was transferring the credit to didn’t know her password to her account, I couldn’t. By the time I had come home and she had found out the password, it was too late – the credit had disappeared.
We finally got out of Next Byte at around 12 – a little over 3 hours had been spent there. I’ve never been one to complain about Telstra’s service – for which you get what you pay for, in this case mobile coverage all across Australia, and second to none 3G data speeds – but seriously, they need to get their act together.
So, why Telstra? Their coverage is indeed, second to none. I went with Telstra as I knew I was always going to have coverage (unless I ventured into the 2% of Australia that isn’t covered by their excellent NextG network), and unlike some Optus users, I wasn’t going to have massive headaches with 3G/GSM coverage in capital cities, for instance.
Sure, I’m in total agreement of the fact that I do pay a little more than I would if I went with Optus or any other carrier – but seriously, in Tasmania it’s probably worth it. How much more I do pay isn’t as much as people think it is. No, I don’t have to sell my firstborn son/kidneys/any body parts to pay for my iPhone.
However, if you take a look at Google, you’ll find that there are multitudes of forum-ites (forum-goers?) who are complaining that the government shouldn’t have sold Telstra off as a whole company as it did – as now that non-government owned Telstra has complete monopoly of the telecommunications network in Australia, leading to the fact that shiping data from Melbourne to Hobart costs SIX TIMES more than it does than from Melbourne to the US.
I blame Telstra.