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Fresh == rubbish

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I'm getting rather fed up with the Fresh prepaid mobile service I use. I got it when I arrived in the UK, as it was the cheapest way to get a +44 mobile number (essential for getting calls about accommodation/jobs returned), and to someone living off saved Australian pesos, cheap is good. (It's something like half or less of the cost of using other services.) What I've since learned is that you pay for the cheapness by being subjected to inconvenience. Consider, for example:

  • There is no convenient way of knowing how much credit you have, short of calling an automated voice number and going through the menus. They occasionally send you texts when you're "running low" (i.e., below £4 credit, which is enough to last a month or two)
  • If you're not careful, the first you find out that you've run out of credit is when your phone is barred.
  • Unless you pay a lot of money in, your phone will not be unbarred when you top it up. You hav e to go in/call up separately after topping up to get the bar removed.

This happened to me a few times. The most recent time, yesterday I went to top up my account, and asked the clerk to remove the bar immediately. He said he could do that. He lied.

As such, I just spent 9 minutes on hold, being subjected to what sounded like some kind of jazz-fusion/whalesong melange, punctuated at 15-second intervals by a plastically cheerful female voice insincerely apologising for the delay.

There is no technical reason for why Fresh needs to suck so badly. I suspect it may be part of an experiment in how people monetise convenience, and how much inconvenience they are willing to put up with to save a few quid.

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[User Picture]
On July 12th, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC), substitute commented:
Milgram rides again
There is no technical reason for why Fresh needs to suck so badly. I suspect it may be part of an experiment in how people monetise convenience, and how much inconvenience they are willing to put up with to save a few quid.

Wow. That would be almost pure evil. Actually, with the music on hold you describe, it probably is pure evil.
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[User Picture]
On July 12th, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC), hazyjayne commented:
You know you REALLY don't have to put up with this... you could get an Orange pre-pay sim card, which are only £10 each...

... but you will have to put up with Dido when you call up Orange...
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On July 12th, 2005 10:19 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
You know, you had me tempted until you mentioned Dido.

Anyway, one of the reasons I don't bother with a monthly-paid UK phone is because I have an Australian SIM card which does roaming and can call/text at the standard rate of whichever carrier I choose (Vodafone seems to be the cheapest for texts). I'm not sure I want a +44 7 number that doesn't suck enough to pay for it.

As for prepaid, does Orange prepaid do GPRS and/or MMS?
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On July 12th, 2005 10:35 pm (UTC), hazyjayne replied:
GPRS?
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On July 13th, 2005 09:46 am (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Mobile data service. Used to access the internet and download web pages and other content.
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On July 12th, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC), dreamstooloud commented:
developing any feature costs money. hiring people who avoid making obvious mistakes and creating awful crap costs more money than hiring people who don't avoid making obvious mistakes and creating awful crap.

there's no technical reason, but there are mathematical ones. Fresh sucks for business reasons.

if it's any consolation, tho, 4 pounds (roughly $8 US) wouldn't last you a month or two in SF. more like a week!
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On July 12th, 2005 10:16 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
I also have Skype for calls, and an Australian mobile with roaming I use for overseas texts. I don't text as much as many other people do, and generally only call from my mobile if I'm on the go and need to contact someone in a timely fashion.

Then again, £4 is about 80 texts on Fresh.
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On July 12th, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC), bluestate commented:
yeah how can £4 last you a month or 2? I go through £15-£20 a month and it's not like I enjoy using phones: I call when I have to, not on a whim. Mainly SMS I guess. I'm with Vodafone. It's 30p for the first 3 minutes each day, and then 5p per minute after that. Texts are 12p for the first 3, then 9p. That's on the Smartstep plan.

Having never been on pre-paid in Australia I find the whole thing a novelty. I also hear that to be a chav a pre-paid phone is a must, so I am in esteemed company.
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On July 12th, 2005 10:09 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
I don't make many calls, and texts are about 5p each.

And don't chavs need a huge-arse Nokia (pronounced "nokyer") with custom Burberry-pattern faceplate and obnoxious gangsta-rap ringtone?
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