Here, then, is yet another depressing illustration of how screwed the mobile industry is. It doesn’t matter how enterprising you’d like to be, or how innovative you’re mobile developers are, or how many 80 hour weeks you’re working away… if I can’t access your services on my device, then you don’t exist.
But, at least, most folk have internet enabled on their handset, right? Billing for data, now that’s another issue. But most folk have it activated. At least, ok… let me qualify that: If you’ve been given a *new* handset by your mobile operator recently — in the last two years or so — it should work. It should have MMS settings, data settings, it should have all that gubbins’ that the meta mobile industry depends on.
(By ‘meta mobile industry’, I mean the folk around it. The folk who give value to it. Beyond just calling and texting.)
It’s all good, yeah?
I write this as another reminder so that in years to come, we can look back and see why it took 25 years to properly ‘mobilise’ the United Kingdom (as an example country) when it really should have taken 5.
I just took delivery of a new top-of-the-range (at the moment) Nokia N95 8GB, on my T-Mobile UK account. It’s a T-Mobile branded device, configured with all their settings.
Or so I thought.
I fired up the phone and tried connecting to the web. (I was looking for the 3.5G sign). Nothing.
‘Ok, perhaps there’s a signal issue in this area,’ I thought, since I was out in the sticks. I tried again when I got into London. No. No data.
‘Maybe the settings aren’t correct?’ I had a poke about. Looked ok.
I connected to my local WiFi fine. Just, my N95 8GB data settings appeared screwed.
Five days after switching on the device, I got this text message.
Reply to this text for free? What does that mean? Do you send a blank text? Or…? Screw it. I sent a text message with the word ‘hi’ in it. Just in case.
I got these two messages back:
Weird. I’ve already got ‘T-Mobile Internet’ on my device as an access point (that one isn’t working). So why would I need Web’N’Walk?
Whatever. I installed them both.
I won’t bore you with the stupid blank-screen screenshots.
So what am I supposed to do now, T-Mobile?
Obviously I will arse about with the device and try and get it working. I’ll phone them to check that they’ve, er, enabled data on my account. And, I’ll generally mess about until it works.
But, let’s just assume that, this morning, 100 people took delivery of their new N95 8GBs from T-Mobile on an 18 month contract. How many of them aren’t able to access data on their device? And how many of them will actually phone up and complain? Most will, I’m sure, simply assume that ‘it don’t work’ and leave it there.
How shit does a mobile network operator need to be, to deliver me a NEW top of the range device that is incorrectly setup?
I thought we’d sorted all this, I really did.