back to article O2 finds new way to bind iPhone users

O2 might yet refuse to unlock iPhones at the end of contract, but the operator has admitted that even customers who stay will have to do without Visual Voicemail. O2 has confirmed to El Reg that customers who choose a cheaper tariff once they've paid off their iPhone won't be able to get Visual Voicemail, which remains a premium …

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Anonymous Coward

Hands up all those

Who just **** themselves at the thought of losing Visual Voice Mail. In exactly who's dreams is this a premium feature?

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Headmaster

Surprised

I'm always taken by the extent to which people get sucked dry for things like iPhones. And it is a recession huh! Tells you a lot about the nature of people. So to come back to your article, I think some people may actually just do that just for the benefit of a Visual Voicemail service. Just so that they can brag about how they have a greater fone than you for crying out loud.

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Pah

I've probably used it twice, and that's only because it's there. It would be no inconvenience to be without it.

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Twunts

I'll preface this by saying that ALL mobile companies are bloodsuckers and pretty much as bad as each other, but this is a really weasly move, even by O2's standards.

Weasels.

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Coat

nah,

I reckon its more likely the first option, O2 want to force people to sign up for a new contract before other operators come online.

Hopefully they'll have a decent no phone deal to tide people over until the new phone comes out in the summer

I've been with o2's (previous incarnations) since 97 and felt their service was good and they weren't out to swindle every possible penny from the customer

Now i feel the opposite

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Not the cheapest tariff

The £30/mo tariff comes with visual voicemail as well. Although it would be nice if they offered visual voicemail as a bolt-on.

I bought my iPhone 3G at launch, and I could count the number of voicemails I've received since then on one hand, so I'm really not going to miss it.

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Useful bit not a show stopper

Yes it is useful to see who your voice mail messages are from (only if the person who left a message is already in your contacts list) but it is hardly a show stopper that would persuade me to stay spanking huge amounts of money past my contract.

I would never have described it as a premium service either.

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Pay as you go

PAYG customers have to do without too - no visual voicemail or tethering. Obviously those of us who are cheap enough to spend only £538 on our phone don't deserve such luxuries. That's one more potential customer you've lost, O2.

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@AC & O2 coverage in West London, not

"Just so that they can brag about how they have a greater fone than you for crying out loud."

Are you kidding. Who gives a toss what phones other people have. The reason most people have an iPhone is because it beats the whotsit out of any other phone. The whole debate of iPhones v Others is just about over. The iPhone has won, get over it.

I wouldn't miss Visual Voicemail as I've only ever used it a couple of times.

Now if you wanna have a go at O2's mobile coverage in West London.... I'll agree with that as I get squat coverage in East Twickenham/Richmond (for crying out loud). I recently twice emailed the CEO of O2 about having no coverage at home and the Chairman's Office responded and told me some engineers came to my post code to check coverage and reported back that I have good 2G &3G coverage.

I have to assume that they never did come round to check, just because they got such wildly different coverage to myself, but instead just referred to their coverage maps, which do say I have good coverage. I responded with iPhone screen dumps showing 'No Service' and they responded that 'there is absolutely nothing we can do to improve your reception, ever'. Apparently even adding a transmitter wouldn't make any difference, which does make you wonder what it is exactly that a transmitter does.

Think I have bumped into some hairy knuckled engineers who don't like criticism of their network from no-nothing customers. I have emailed BBC's Watchdog about it in case they fancy getting stuck in but confidence isn't high....

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FAIL

calm down dear!

eh, visual voicemail has always been disabled on PAYG. You don't get """unlimited"""* wi-fi either after a year.

Does that suck? Probably. It is, however, not "a new way to bind iPhone users".

No fan of O2 (or the others in the gang of four), but please read the small print before you sign up. Or jail break. Failing to do so does not entitle you to features not in your plan, hardware upgrades, free biscuits or ""unlimited""* sex.

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@Jessica Werkz

"The reason most people have an iPhone is because it beats the whotsit out of any other phone."

Except in the not -so-trivial areas of reception and battery life.

"I responded with iPhone screen dumps showing 'No Service'"

See ? Told you so !

Possibly not the best site to come on and bang on about "hairy knuckled engineers" either.

Surprised you didn't get a response from O2 or watchdog though. You being so important and all.

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FAIL

iFail

"Just so that they can brag about how they have a greater fone than you for crying out loud."

"Are you kidding. Who gives a toss what phones other people have. The reason most people have an iPhone is because it beats the whotsit out of any other phone. The whole debate of iPhones v Others is just about over. The iPhone has won, get over it."

Blimey. That's going a bit too far to prove his point.

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@calm down dear

Visual Voicemail .. who cares .. I'm on a 3GS Pay&Go and so have never had it .. I use mobile data all the time and only make the occasional call (had it nearly four months and spent around £5 on calls and texts so far 8-) ... so its been quite perfect for me.

The first 12 months includes the £10/month unlimited data option ... which I might stick with next summer as its very good value (even if coverage is spotty) but that will depend upon the ability to officially unlock the iphone and use with my 3 SIM instead.

If my company had Exchange rather than Notes then I'd rip the O2 SIM out of my CrapBerry and stick it in the iphone (actually my BB Bold has just died after a mere 3 weeks of ownership .. so I'm mobile work-email-less 8-)

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Visual voicemail..

It's a nice feature but it's hardly worth £20 a month.

I don't really use it much anyway since I hate getting voicemails.

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Paris Hilton

@jessica (and previous AC)

I can only re-iterate the previous AC comment.

"hairy knuckled engineers" discredits a title and qualification held by a large number of reader of this site (you know - the ones in the basement of the IT Crowd), and IT requires skills at all levels (design & implementation). Not only that, I would suspect that a large proportion of the readers came through Telecoms organisations to their current employment - so please stop and think before posting insults.

Secondly, it would appear from your post that you have a product that doesn't work in your area - why don't you change it? I'm guessing that you have fallen foul of 'form over function' . Don't get me wrong, I like the iPhone, but only insofar as the apps and services it provides. Again, a lot of readers on this site are of the 'function over form' persuasion (hence the large proportion of Firefox users over IE). They are not the sort of people who buy an iPhone just so that they can leave it out at meetings expecting some sort of applause, and 'Well done, you' comments.

If ther really is a problem in your area for O2 then check this with other customers and get it sorted - if the problem is your phone in that area (maybe because the power has been reduced to save battery!) then either move or get a phone that works - and not blame the 'hairy knuckled engineers' for your choice of form over function.

Also - you do your sex a dis-service by assuming all engineers are male (unless you are implying that all female engineers have hairy knuckles - perhaps we should run a poll on this site to check that hypothesis).

PS. I reserve the right to use 'hairy-arsed jointers" as this is a humorous term and does not imply 'neanderthal'.

Can I also suggest that you change your name, as in this instance it is definitely a case of Jessica (well her phone) doesn't work - only kidding, it;s a great name.

Paris - because she choose 'form over function' every time.

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People will just do without!

People will just do without, only a select few will really really want it so pay for it. All O2 will do is alientate yet more customers, yay!!!

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Pint

Visual voicemail is a great feature...

Visual voicemail is a great feature. It allows me to see whos left me a message when my phones battery has given up half way through the day.

I can see who and when, so the people i have spoken to since then, i can safely delete their voicemail in a couple of clicks without having to listen through all the irelevent voicemails.

Having said that, its a feature i use perhaps once a month. where as, an extra tenner a month would be usefull several times a month...

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Misleading

The article suggests a new contract is needed..... is it not the case that the user just has to be on an iPhone tariff?

iPhone feature requires iPhone tariff - its not that big a shock.

Anyone staying on their iPhone contract would be mad anyway - the £20 simplicity 30 day tariff has the same minutes and texts as the £35 iPhone tariff. So Visual voice-mail becomes a £15 extra :)

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3rd party

So when Vodaphone or Orange offer you visual voicemail on, say, a £18 tariff provided you bring your own iPhone; O2 will look a bit stupid.

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Anonymous Cowards

"Except in the not -so-trivial areas of reception and battery life."

The reception issue has nothing to do with iPhones and everything to do with O2 coverage, so I would get the same O2 coverage problem with any mobile that O2 provide (did I have to spell this out).

"See ? Told you so !"

Told me what?

"Surprised you didn't get a response from O2"

I did get a response as stated in my original email which was "that nothing can be done". Still waiting from Watchdog.

"Again, a lot of readers on this site are of the 'function over form' persuasion. They are not the sort of people who buy an iPhone just so that they can leave it out at meetings expecting some sort of applause"

How do you know that a lot of readers are like this? I have never known or seen an iPhone user leave iPhones out expecting applause. That would be truly pathetic.

" if the problem is your phone in that area then either move or get a phone that works"

No O2 phone works in a large area around where I live and which is experienced by all local O2 users in that area using various phones. OK.

Jeez, I wish some people could read just a little better.

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Anonymous Coward

Flog it and they will come....

What individual in their right mind spends £35+ on monthly mobile charges anyway, oh yeah, Apple devotees.

These sad people (and I know a few) would happily spend whatever on a wheelie bin if it had the Apple logo slapped on it.

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DR

iphone won?

"Are you kidding. Who gives a toss what phones other people have. The reason most people have an iPhone is because it beats the whotsit out of any other phone. The whole debate of iPhones v Others is just about over. The iPhone has won, get over it."

really, I'm still yet to see a useful feature that the iphone has that my 3 year old HTC wizard doesn't have.

Oh, it's got GPS, but had I plumped for GPS rather than a full qwerty slide out keyboard i'd have had what is basically an iphone years ago.

I can install my own software too. but I don't have to pay for that.

sometimes, I look at an app on the adverts and think that's really useful, (like the bump to exchange contact details). until I realise that I'd have to pay for that, and the "old friend" that I meet would also have had to pay for it, so it soon becomes something that is useless as not everyone has it.

the spirit level, I really really want that application on my phone. but anyone whose used it can see that it's not accurate.

Honestly, I've played with the Iphone and I just don't like it.

I am an O2 customer, I find their coverage really good, and their customer service when I've needed it is good,

I have used/played with Iphones, and I can honestly say that when I come to renew my contract, (later this year), I'll be going again on a £35 a month contract, (because of the minutes/texts and free bolt ons), but I won't be getting an iphone. I'll see what HTCs latest offerings are again and get one of those.

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Stop

techies and voicemail

Funny to see all the techies claiming visual voicemail is an unimportant feature 'coz they've only used it twice. Tell that to the estate agent who gets 10 voice messages left on their phone every day and has to sort through them.

Personally I have no need for visual voicemail as I hardly ever get left messages (aww, poor me, lol) but I'm not blind to the fact that it's an incredibly useful feature for those who use their phones more than I do.

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FAIL

Nothing new

Visual voicemail was only ever available from O2 on the dedicated iPhone tariffs - this isn't news! Moving to the Simplicity tariff (the cheapo one you can switch to once out of contract) has always meant loss of visual voicemail - but it's hardly a killer feature that would bother most people.

It's worth noting that in several countries you don't get visual voicemail at all - even from the official carriers!

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Killer feature for me....

I get a lot of voicemails (although I would prefer I didn't). I find Visual Voicemail a very definite benefit for me, and certainly it is worth paying for. The primary reason is that I can prioritise my responses, and so it can have a real financial benefit.

If I have been out of signal (or in a meeting), I might have 10 voicemails waiting. Rather than having to go through them sequentially, I can ignore the wife/friends etc and go straight to customers in case they have a server down.

Problem with going through sequentially, is that you come up with a message that needs a response, and so you call them back. You are then out of your voicemail, so you have to remember to go back in to deal with them. It could take you a while before you get to the message you REALLY needed to deal with.

Visual Voicemail is certainly the reason why I never considered PAYG.

For people who use phones as part of their business, it can be important. But then these are the sorts of users who had big contracts anyway. For me, the £35/month O2 contract represented a saving over the amounts I had been paying to Orange previously. The iPhone came as a bonus.

People use phones in different ways. To some people £35/month is a huge amount. As a business expense, it is trivial. If Visual Voicemail ensures one customer with a big problem is happy, it has definitely paid for itself.

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FAIL

@ Jessica

"NO O2 phone works in a large area around where I live and which is experienced by ALL local O2 users in that area using various phones."

Stop it honey you are making me die with laughter with your fantastic sweeping statements.

EVERY O2 phone gets zero reception you say? Prove that can you? For EVERY single one of them?

Yet... not a single member of this entire group (whose phone reception you seem to admit that you have personally inspected) has had the gall to front a group and present these incredibly well researched results to O2 as part of a larger case?

I'm not surprised O2 have done nothing. They are probably laughing at you.

Just as I am.

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Black Helicopters

Just a small point....

"By Jessica Werkz Posted Tuesday 6th October 2009 12:42 GMT

"Except in the not -so-trivial areas of reception and battery life."

The reception issue has nothing to do with iPhones and everything to do with O2 coverage, so I would get the same O2 coverage problem with any mobile that O2 provide (did I have to spell this out)."

Er....the ability of a phone to receive a signal is very much dependent on two things; the strength of the signal (yes, I know it's obvious, but given previous posts here it bears saying anyway) and the sensitivity of the phone.

I have a Nokia N96 and it gets a better signal in the same building than a colleague's Sony Ericson W995.

It appears from various blogs and forum posts around the net that the iPhone isn't very good at picking up marginal signals - and that impacts on the battery life, too.

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Law
FAIL

this isn't new, but..

.. being reminded over and over what complete twunts o2 are has me seriously thinking about just selling my 3G with a few months to go on the contract, clearing the remainder of the contract with the cash, and getting something else by somebody else.

Incidently, I've got Visual Voicemail right now - but at least 3 times in the last 2 weeks I've had errors lasting most of the day with the service - something about new messages on the server, but visual voicemail being down, click here to call your voicemail - so I've been forced to ring my voicemail and press buttons to listen to messages... those monsters!!!! :'( As others said, it's not a killer feature, but it's nice to have (I get maybe 6 voicemails a week)... but I won't be sticking with o2 once my contract is up.... or the iPhone either

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Grenade

@Everyone about "Jessica Werkz"

No offence Jessica, but I think you maybe steaming on to El Reg a little heavy for someone who obviously isn't a techie at heart. Having a go at engineers and moaning about network coverage isn't quite the best way to blend in...

(Hint: The reason other people on here don't rant about signal is because it's your phone that's at fault!!)

Everyone else - do a search for "Jessica Werkz" - appears she tests WordPress themes...

"Hairy knuckled engineers" indeed!

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WTF?

It was the reason I bought the iPhone

Hmm, of course VM won't be that important if you get a couple of calls a day. I get about 50 every day, of which about a dozen go through to voicemail. Absolutely essential feature if you ask me, I miss too many calls having to log in to normal voicemail and make lists of names and numbers, then log back in to listen again and delete ones I've dealt with! VM became my to-do list!

Well worth the iPhone tarrif, but I still wish I could get it on Simplicity!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DR

"I'm still yet to see a useful feature that the iphone has that my 3 year old HTC wizard doesn't have."

Comparing Apple products against others on the basis of features has always been missing the point - it's not about a list of check-boxes on the back of the box. Do you think that the user interface for your HTC is better than the iPhones?

Maybe for some people, using Apple products is an attempt to be cool or whatever, but I think that's a straw-man - as others have pointed out, that stereotype of a Apple product user is bashed to death in the El Reg comments, yet there's no proof that such people exist, other than posts by anti-fanbois saying that the "know people like that".

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Hahaha, the party's over O2

It makes me smile to think about that grinning CEO in heated meetings late into the night with his team of "not-as-cool-as-they'd-have-you-believe" staff.

Boo hoo, some of your customers are going to leave for better networks.

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@The Original Steve & @Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

"Having a go at engineers and moaning about network coverage isn't quite the best way to blend in..."

I'm not having a go at network engineers but just trying to understand why they won't admit there is a reception problem in this area. Everytime someone comes to our house, whether friend or business person I have asked them, over the last couple of years, whether they are on O2 and if so do they have a signal, both in and outside the house, and none of those with O2 mobile get a signal and these negatives are with various phones. Not just iPhones.

"EVERY O2 phone gets zero reception you say? Prove that can you? For EVERY single one of them?"

If there is no O2 coverage then they wouldn't get any reception.

No doubt this comment will result in yet more logic-chopping from Aristotle and his horse as he tries to convince me that my no O2 reception is just a figment of my imagination and that if I had a decent phone etcetera................

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Law
WTF?

@ Jessica

"Everytime someone comes to our house, whether friend or business person I have asked them, over the last couple of years, whether they are on O2 and if so do they have a signal, both in and outside the house, and none of those with O2 mobile get a signal and these negatives are with various phones. Not just iPhones."

You sound like a hoot - I have visions of engineers and salesmen refusing to knock on the crazy ladies house, lest they sit a 5 minute scientific questionair about their mobile, operator, level of usage, level of service, etc etc!! :)

If you've had coverage issues in your area why exactly have you kept up your contract for "the last couple of years" at least... any normal human being who had this level of dissatisfaction with an operator would just drop the contract, move on to another operator, and after maybe a month give up testing their visitors for o2 signal issues inside and outside their house, because basically they wouldn't care anymore... it's no longer their problem...

I'm just a commentard on a site criticising another commentard here - I don't know you, I don't pretend to - and I'm sure, like me, you just have a bit of an issue with an operator and can't contain the rage, but going off your comments alone, your issues seem to be mental, not signal related! ;)

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Troll

@Jessica

Feel free to poke fun at telecoms engineers. I have been in Telecoms for most of my career, still am... My arms are slightly long and my knuckles are getting hairier with the passing of time. I actually had a smile when I read your original comment, it certainly didn't cause offence.

To all those PC prats out there feeling hurt on my behalf, go get a life.

I have an iPhone on O2 and while coverage nationally is a joke, I have exactly the opposite situation to you. O2 is the only carrier that has coverage at my house. It is funny watching people standing on the bank in the field next to our house trying to make a call with other carriers. The laws of physics coupled with planning permissions and cost constraints will always conspire to leave holes in coverage. Just go with a carrier that works where you need it.

Lets face it none of the carriers are in business for you. They will spend the minimum they can to capture enough market to make money, nothing more nothing less. They aren't going to put in a new cell site just to make one or two people happy...

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@Law

"you just have a bit of an issue with an operator and can't contain the rage, but going off your comments alone, your issues seem to be mental, not signal related!"

What rage? I've obviously hit the nail on the head somewhere and probably by mentioning 'hairy knuckled engineers', a term I read in an Arthur C Clarke story, it has got a few a little upset, something which I didn't intend.

It was no big deal asking people whether they had O2 access just something I did to see if the O2 lack of coverage was consistent, which it was. The reason I stay with O2 is that I wanted an iPhone and hoped O2's coverage would improve. I'm now working more from home and therefore yet more keen on getting coverage from home. Soon the iPhone will be on Orange & Vodaphone so I will be able to jump ship hopefully to a network that does what is says on the tin.

And no I don't test Wordpress themes as many don't work and therefore fail from the get go but I do test software for a living and have done for quite a while.

More flames and logic-chopping this way please......

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Anonymous Coward

iphone brag

I don't understand this constant blathering about the iphone being a status symbol. My 3G cost 100 quid with the contract, and I believe you can get them for free with the £35 quid contract now. Pretty much anyone in the UK can afford this. The iphone is NOT a status symbol - if you're green with envy, bloody get one!! (But wait for Orange/Voda cos O2 are full of anti-consumer policies of late - like no unlocking)

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Vodafone here I come

I can't wait to change networks to Vodafone; decent coverage and a proper attitude to customer billing.

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