Five minutes was all it took to exit the relationship with Vodafone.
I phoned up on Sunday and said I’d like to either renegotiate or get my PAC number. She immediately transferred me through to the right team, no messing around.
Within a few moments I’d adjusted my wife’s mobile number to £13.50 per month. They weren’t doing me any favours. The lady just looked at her usage and offered me the corresponding price plan. My wife’s usage is super simple — in fact she hardly uses any data since she’s more or less always in WiFi range, so I didn’t have a problem with that.
When it came to my number, we had a problem. I’m using about 1.5gig of data on average, the lady reckoned (mostly because I’m putting all of my data usage through a super-fast “4GEE” Osprey MiFi unit from EE. The jump from 1GB of data to 4GB of data was a bit expensive. Stupid, I thought.
“Is there anything you can do?” I asked the lady.
“Ok, PAC code then please,” I replied.
She conferred with her manager.
“We can give you a £54 credit but we’ll need to put you on the higher tariff. It’s the only way we can help, that’s equivalent to a fiver discount,” she explained.
I laughed to myself and politely declined. Deary me.
We’re in the age of bit pipe, we really are.
I got my PAC number and called up Three. Five minutes later I had transferred my number to one of my existing Three lines.
I now have unlimited everything. Not that I will necessarily use that. I really won’t. It’s just nice to have.
The interesting experience for me is that I didn’t feel I’d lost something. For so long, the power of the Vodafone brand — the reputation — has held me in check. There was a time, years ago, when it really mattered. It really did. I couldn’t reasonably make a business call on the One2One network, for example. I couldn’t risk clients thinking I was an idiot, not prepared to invest in my own technology.
So proper people used Vodafone or BT Cellnet (“O2”). Orange — with it’s incessantly brilliant branding — became a fair choice, especially with their pleasing “new handset next day” policies.
But no one ever got fired for buying Vodafone.
And I drew great satisfaction from knowing that my calls would always get through.
Until, that is, they didn’t.
Until my calls began dropping regularly. Until, dear reader, shoddy voice service became the norm — especially if you were moving at more than 10 miles per hour. This wasn’t just exclusive to Vodafone.
I towed the line. For the last two years I’ve run 12-month contracts with them. I thought I’d call and see what sort of deal they would offer me.
I was frankly surprised at the limpwristed response. I’m by no means a huge individual customer for them — about £125-£150 a month on average, including my wife’s line. I did expect a few bellytickles.
In fairness, I could probably have ummmed and ahhhed at the lady. I could have flashed my virtual eyebrows at her and come armed with research of a competing price plan (to try and get her to match it, etc.)
Alas I was just a little bit too tired.
Last year I felt a change in the force. I stopped thinking of my operator(s) as anything other than standard service providers. The operators have invested significant sums over the years to do their best to distance themselves from the ‘bit pipe’ reality.
I couldn’t see the value in hanging around with Vodafone. I called up to see if they still wanted me. The answer was ‘not really’ 😉
I was quite surprised at the speed of it all. Within about 12 minutes I’d got my PAC from Vodafone and transferred it to Three. It’s all transferring later tonight.
So, hello Three.
I’m not new to Three. I’ve had a Three account for donkey’s years. I just haven’t ever selected them as my primary operator of choice until now. I picked the 12 month unlimited everything deal.
Bring it on.