back to article Up to 80,000 AOLers face the boot from Carphone network

Carphone Warehouse's ongoing network integration prompted by its purchase of AOL's broadband business in 2006 could spell trouble for tens of thousands of customers, CEO Charles Dunstone warned today. In the firm's Q2 trading update, he said: "We have successfully migrated over 1.3m AOL customers: a further 80,000 customers, …

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Joke

Vista?

After all, it's incompatible with everything else....

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Paris Hilton

What am I missing?

CPW would prefer to shed 80,000 customers due to them having old OS or hardware, rather than providing them with inexpensive, new routers and keep their custom? If money's that tight, then ask the customers to contribute to the cost (then lock 'em in for another 12, sorry 18 months). Surely that's better than just saying au revoir?

Paris... because of the French connection

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Linux

Operating Systems?

The ISP has either very little, or no, business in determining the OS that the customer uses.

I recently helped someone deal with TalkTalk who were claiming that the reason for the dead internet connection was that the customer was running linux!

Once their dire software was installed on a laptop, they sorted the problem - at heir end. The PC was connected up and the laptop was taken away and wiped.

I suspect that some ISPs dislike linux for 2 reasons

1. As it is not Windows, it does not run their "special software".

2. As it is not Windows, it is harder for them to spy on.

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Thumb Down

CPW??? You Must Be Mad

I once bought a mobile from them, when it came to changing phones again, I decided to go elsewhere. They made leaving nearly impossible, getting a PAC code was a war I thought I was never going to win.

CPW tried more and more desperate offers to stop me leaving, the problem was they didn't deliver on the offers they made. Stupidly I let them persuade me, unfortunately they sent me the wrong phone upgrade, when I phoned them to ask for a replacement, they said it was my fault, that I'd asked for the wrong phone and that they would never have promised the deal I'd arranged on the phone that I'd asked for.

After getting very annoyed at a call centre team leader, it was arranged that they would take the phone back and cancel the new contract, but lo and behold, I had to go through a completely different process to get my PAC code again.

Eventually, a few weeks later, after more arguments and a posted letter they finally gave me my PAC code and cancelled my old contract.

I would NEVER buy anything from the them ever again.

Phone shops in general and CPW in particular are really horrible places to visit, you step in the door and before you even get to the phones, you've been jumped by some pushy, commision earning, smarmy little git who won't leave you alone until they've sold you something.

URGH!!!

Dont' even get me start on "free" broadband

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Flame

Well the Belkin

F5D7632 router I own is now little more than a paperweight ...

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Thumb Down

Huh???!

Is this some bizarrely evasive management speak for "We can't be arsed getting a Mac-version made, so Apple-heads can fuck off. Whats linux?"

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Flame

AOL

AOL has always been and always will be crap.

I always tell people to stay away from AOL.

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Guy
Pirate

Wow

There's 80,000 lucky people out there, who are going to have the good fortune to get away from AOhell without having to pay extra/buy out their contract. Three cheers for Carphone Warehouse!! Now if they made it possible to retrieve their mail and favourites when they switch...naah it'll never happen

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Gates Halo

Incompatible hardware

If a client of mine is anything to go by, incompatible hardware is probably a Win98/ME machine with no ethernet. Are A-OhWell going to send an engineer round to fit an ISA network card? Me thinks not.

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Happy

NTL\Virgin

Even NTL managed to work out how to get round the "Old Win98 PC with no Ethernet" problem. They just supplied a USB Network Card.

I guess CPW is using the old AOL call centres... cut so far down to the basics so that they can't answer anything other than XP\Vista issues which are in their database.

Why do these companies hate their customers so much? I find it funny....

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Dan

as said above

You can get USB ethernet adapters for £5 retail, so to buy 80,000 you'd get them for a couple of quid each at the very most. Stick them on a new 12 month contract and CPW would be quids in.

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@scott

They probably don't like Linux because there are several desktops and several ways to install:

"Ok sir, you just need to install our software..."

"How do I do that?"

"Yum, err, apt-get, err, rpm, err, just download it, compile it and install it yourself. Incidentally, what hardware are you using?"

Linux _really_ needs to have a single package installer.

I use win, mac and linux at home as well as all the big iron unixes at work. Linux is a brilliant server, where experts install the software, but it's a right old pain in the arse to install quite a lot of software/hardware from the point of view of an end user. Hence why cheap-ass ISPs won't support it.

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Coat

AOL Dialup

I wonder if this will affect AOL Dialup customers?

A friend of my other half still has AOL Dialup because 'she can't get broadband'. I reacon she can, she's just being stubborn.

Anyway occasionally her AOL software decided to update itself and when it does it screws up and can't find the modem. It expects a broadband connection. An hour of messing around and £20 later it's all sorted for another 3 months.

I've told her till I'm blue in the face that she should try and get broadband again (even if it's from Sky!) but she won't have any of it. I wouldn't be surprised before long if CPW just stop providing Dialup acccess.

I'm glad I got away from AOL when CPW took over.

Mine's the one with the 14.4k modem stuffed in the pocket.

Rob

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Silver badge

errm ... hasn't anybody noticed ...

... CPW sell 'suitable hardware' on contract? Sorry, your PC is too old, but if you just give us an extra 10 a month on top of your existing 20, we'll give you this shiny shiny laptop absolutely free!

They aren't planning to lose these customers, they are just aligning the PR machine to sell them new kit.

But when are they going to change the name to something more modern?

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Anonymous Coward

Very odd...

@ Simon McGarry - CPW Retail and the various ISP's it owns/runs are separate entities (They split after BestBuy bought out 50% of retail) and are managed completely separately. Im not saying either of them are good (I've had REALLY bad experiences with CPW Stores, and I deal with the morons at TalkTalk and AOL on a daily basis) but they are not one in the same.

@ AC - They do use the same call centres, in fact everything is the same, its just the owner which has changed.

Moral of the story is, don't buy from CPW retail, or go on a CPW owned ISP.

This does strike me as odd however, as this suggests there have been software/hardware changes at the network side for AOL. This is odd as the AOL SMPF network will eventually be retired and everyone moved to the CPWN (CPWNetworks (Part of Opal Telecom)) MPF network and the AOL equipment used to increase capacity (As the Sonus Servers and MSAN's used on both networks are compatible.)

If you get kicked off AOL consider yourself lucky and use it as an opportunity to sign up for a real ISP.

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sam

Pushy CPW

I hate pushy salesman at CPW and Phones4you . I like their websites and their pay as you go service but pay monthly is where most their salesman lie. Honestly no one should sign the dotted line believing they are getting a good deal with them , when they may be fobbing you to get the commission. It is much better to do it online or go to another shop and confirm the deal from a second unrelated salesman than signing the contract and discovering to your horror , something is not right and going through the nightmare of cancelling it .

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Linux

@Fraser

My point was that the problem was at their end in the first place.

I have had to wipe a couple of peoples PCs that were so ill advised that they ended up installing TT software. Like AOL before it, it can muck things up so badly that the best solution is to back up and reimage. £20 for me to

It is not needed either. Juat plug the ethernet in and you are connected.

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Silver badge
Linux

I may just be dumb but

Why do you need "software" to access the internet? Of course you need a TCP/IP stack and client software depending on which server on the internet you want to connect to but what else is required?

Just because these ISP's would like us all to connect to them using some craptastic proprietary client software rubbish doesn't mean it should be a deal breaking requirement. The internet was specifically designed to allow us to connect disparate devices using a commonly agreed upon protocol. These idiots are deliberately breaking this just so they can foist their own spyware peddling plans on their users.

Well, they can all go get phucked if you ask me.

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Unhappy

One configuration...

Did some work for a local customer yesterday who was running Windows 2000 Pro. They were getting a message saying their modem was incompatible and they needed to upgrade to a SpeedTouch router. They were using one of the BT Voyager 105 modems. They also have a Windows XP machine that they are not seeing this message on so it seems W2K is one of those O/S' that is being affected.

What's more annoying (for him anyway) is that the AOL instructions must have errors in them (really, there's a surprise...). He's spent a month trying to talk to A-Oh_Hell's call centre in India as he was unable to connect and they said it was a problem with his line or or computer (odd seeing as the USB modem still worked fine). They even told him to go out and buy a new wireless card as the one in his machine was faulty (they were connecting via the Ethernet port at the time so this had no bearing on the problem but AOL refused to progress the problem further until he had gone out to get a new wireless card - the internal wireless card is working fine btw).

Eventually, after more calls yesterday they told him he should have been using a different username to sign on with rather than the screen name which the instructions told him to use.

So if anyone else has this problem, get the call centre (huh, good luck!) to check what username should be being used. My customer is now using <their phonenumber>@dialbb.com with some password they have never been given before in their lives.

They're just idiots. My customer is sending them our bill plus the receipt for his wireless network card as if they had been sensible enough to offer the right advice first time then he wouldn't have needed either of them - not to mention the call charges on their 0870 number.

We never recommend customers use them and these sorts of problems are commonplace for us. AOL give all other ISP's a bad name.

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Joke

WTF

Unless somebody is using one of those USB thingies I can't think of any reason why OS matters. The router does all the communicating with the ISP and what devices are attached to that are irrelevant and so is any software on those boxes. It sounds like a scam to remove a few 'problem children' from their network.

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they dont seem to be on the ball

Also their new connection software only works on 32 bit OS's, though the fact that you dont actually need this bloatware to connect is a point they seem to be hiding under oodles of p.r waffle.

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Thumb Down

"increasing the average bill ... more services"

What kind of folk are CPW customers? People who want *CHEAP* (preferably free).

What kind of folk are unlikely to pay loadsamoney for "more services"? People who want *CHEAP* (preferably free).

Anyone see a minor problemette with next year's business plan? Good job CPW had the multi-service lock-in (and the long term contracts) sorted already, otherwise churn would be a bit of a problem wouldn't it...

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Thumb Down

AOL software

wasn't the whole purpose of the AOL software to keep you within the 'walled garden' so that they made more money by trying to convince you that you really did not want to go out onto the big bad Internet.

To support this mentality they used proprietory protocols (I remember it used to replace the standard virtual dial-up adapter to support this.

I'm surprised that there was a business for CPW to buy up, oh wait yes I'm forgotting that there are plenty of sheeple out there with no tech knowledge whatsoever that are happy to just insert a CD and keep clicking Next.

As for a more modern name, not sure about modern but apt would be mobile conman's lockup because they are a con.

Mine's the one with down with CPW on the back.

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Anonymous Coward

@Dan

Some of the pre XP versions of winblows have problems (read cannot) recognizing USB devices.

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