(I should point out that I work for Optus, and I was on a staff plan with very cheap call rates).
I chose a $29 cap with $150 in calls, and a $5 data pack with 20MB included (plus unlimited access to some useful sites like YourGigs and YourBars).
Signing up was easy, I didn’t need a new handset so I just ordered a SIM online, which was delivered on the day it was promised. To port the number across I had to fill in a form and fax it back (standard procedure), I chose 15/12/08 as the date to port my number.
On that day at around lunchtime, my phone said “Inactive SIM”, so I took the Optus SIM out and put the Three SIM in. Immediately it started working, as expected.
I logged onto the website and tried to setup an account (for tracking usage, changing your settings, paying bills etc), but it couldn’t locate my number. I figured it was just because my number had only just ported across and it would take a day or two, but I called them anyway just in case.
No voice recognition menu, they have a simple “Press 1 for X, Press 2 for Y” menu system. I put my mobile number in, 5 seconds later I’m speaking to an Indian customer service rep (Three’s customer service is entirely outsourced, I already knew this). She asked me for my name and PIN. Every Three customer has to choose a PIN, it’s much faster to ID people that way! I said I was having trouble setting up my account, she doublechecked everything for me, reconfirmed my account number and said “it’s because your mobile has only just been activated, try again in 24 hours and it should work”. So I tried the next day, and it worked immediately!
A few days later, I received an email from Optus saying my mobile account is ready to view. I have online billing, I have to login to the website and download a PDF to view my bills. So I tried to login as I always do, and there were no mobile account numbers listed. I tried to put my number in and re-link the account, no luck! I know a bill’s been generated, but I can’t see it!
So I called Optus and went through the voice recognition menu (IVR), which I’m an expert on using now. I got an email a few weeks ago at work saying that customers can now use the IVR to check their account balance, it will read it out automatically. I figured this would be nice and easy so I tried it.
IVR: “Using just a few words, please explain the reason for your call”
ME: “Account Balance”
IVR: “So that’s a question about your account balance, is that correct?”
IVR: “And is that about your mobile, home phone or internet service?”
IVR: “OK, to allow me to locate your account, please say your mobile number, or if you wish you can type it in using your keypad”
IVR: “So that’s 04XX-XXX-XXX, is that correct?”
IVR: “One moment while I transfer you to one of our general enquiries and billing staff”
(What the hell??? I thought this was meant to be automated! Anyway I get put through to some customer service rep, she was Australian)
REP: “Welcome to Optus, this is X, can I start with your mobile number?”
ME: “I put my number into the IVR, didn’t it come through?”
REP: “No it didn’t” (Optus has changed to a new caller ID system which doesn’t work most of the time, and most staff aren’t trained in how to fix it)
ME: “It’s 04XX-XXX-XXX”
REP: “And can I have your name, address and date of birth?”
ME: “Yes it’s …….” (What a pain compared to the PIN with Three)
Anyway she told me how much money was due, apparently I have some money overdue but seeing as I can’t view my bill I have no way of disputing the charges! Even though I’ve canceled my Optus service, I should be able to login and view my bills, at least for 6 months after disconnecting. What if I needed them for tax reasons? If I’m missing 12 months worth of bills, I’d have to get customer service to reprint them, a total cost of $60! I’m going to get my supervisor’s permission to view them at work on Monday before I pay anything. The customer service rep was insisting on getting details on when I’ll make a payment for the overdue money, I said:
ME: “I’ll pay when I receive a bill”
REP: “If you don’t pay soon, you may be subject to financial services action”
ME: “What does that mean?” (knowing the answer already)
REP: “You may have your service barred”
ME: “But I just said I’ve ported out my number to Three”
REP: “Yes, that’s right”
ME: “So Optus is going to call Three and tell them to bar my mobile service, just because I haven’t paid my Optus bill?”
I’d take a smart Indian rep over a dumb Australian one anyday…
I’ve only had one problem since porting, which is that Optus customers can’t send MMS (picture messages) to me anymore. I can send them to myself and they work, and I can send them to other people (including Optus), but when someone on Optus sends one to me it sits in my inbox unread, and I can’t download the attachment. I get a “Download Error. Communication Failed” message.
I tried different handsets with the same error message. Tried 2 different Optus people, same error. Even tried different images, same error.
I called Three tech support, the rep was friendly enough but it was a little difficult to get her to understand the problem. Eventually she knew what I meant and realised it wasn’t something she could fix, so she logged a support case for me with their technicians. I figured this was what they’d have to do, I assumed something hasn’t completed with the port process. I guessed if I was porting to Three from Vodafone, I wouldn’t be able to receive MMS from Vodafone customers. She promised me a callback within 48 hours.
Sure enough, 2 days later I received a callback from them, but she said “unfortunately we haven’t received a response back from Telstra yet (they control the numbers), but we’re working on it and someone should contact you within the next few days”. Fair enough, it’s outside their control, but I’m thrilled they kept their promise and kept me in the loop!
And then today, on a SUNDAY, I receive two MMS messages come through, from two numbers I don’t recognise. The second MMS said “test mms from vodafone handset, reply ‘ok’ if received”. So I replied “ok”. I then received a phone call from a technician at Three (He was Australian, working on a sunday!!) and he said he had sent me 4 MMS. One from a Three mobile (successful), one from Vodafone (successful), one from Telstra and one from Optus. After the call I received one more MMS but the attachment wouldn’t download, so I’d assume that one came from an Optus mobile. The Telstra one didn’t turn up at all for some reason. He said they’re going to keep working on it and he’ll call me back when he has an update, but he’s probably going to have to get in touch with Telstra and Optus to fix what appears to be a porting problem.
If I said I was impressed with the way Three treats their customers, it would be a complete understatement. I didn’t have to get transferred once, the staff were knowledgeable and friendly, and most importantly their computer systems work!