N73 or Canon Ixus?

Been thinking of getting the latest Nokia N73 ‘cos it comes with a 3.2MP camera. I’ve read several comparisons of the N73 and Sonyericsson’s K800i and the conclusion i got is that the N73 takes better shots in bright light, whereas the K800i gives u better night shots. The N73, howver, definitely is the winner for taking videos.

This conclusion is similar to the performance of my current Nokia 6280 & Cirrus’ SE K750i. My 6280 takes nice shots during the day… but in poor light, Cirrus’ K750i definitely takes clearer shots. We also both took videos of the fireworks but… hehe… of ‘cos mine nicer lah! 😛

While talking to a friend who managed to get his hands on a N73 to play around with, i was kind of convinced by him that instead of banking on the N73 to take decent shots of my rabbits, i should buy a digicam instead. My current digicam’s a Nikon3700 that’s half konked out. I’m thinking of the Canon Ixus… but not sure if it’ll make a worthwhile purchase.

The thing about a hp is that i’ll definitely carry it with me everywhere i go… so i can snap any shots i want, as and when i want to. Of ‘cos, these shots would never be comparable to ones taken by a digicam… but it’s the convenience lah. However, given that bunnies don’t have very long lifespans, i would certainly want to capture every moment of their lives with me. Sigh. I’m torn now.

How Pinky? Which u prefer me to use when i take photos of u?

Number Portability

Ok… this is the geek in me speaking. A friend just told me about how Singapore is going to launch “true no. portability” from Q4 of 2007 onwards.

Basically, if you want to keep your hp no. when u switch telcos, the new telco will give u a new no., of which your existing hp no. will divert all calls & SMSes to. One of the limitations of this is that MMSes don’t get diverted and so u may miss out on MMS. Also, people may get confused ‘cos when u call them, as they see your new no., instead of your old no.

The article states that IDA will enhance this current number portability thing such that users are able to carry only 1 hp no., no matter which telco they’re with. Ain’t that great? Muahahaha.

Read the article (attached below) for more details ya!!

The original article can be found at here.

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Singapore, 02 August 2006 | For Immediate Release

Mobile and Fixed Line Markets Set for Greater Competition

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) will enhance the Number Portability1 regime here so that consumers can benefit from greater choice and flexibility in mobile and fixed line services. From the fourth quarter of 2007, consumers can switch between telecoms service providers easily and yet have full use of their existing number, rather than having to update family members, friends and business contacts about a new one. Beyond that, the new solution will spell greater competition among the telecoms service providers and business opportunities in Singapore’s telecoms market.

Currently, mobile subscribers can switch telecoms service providers and keep their numbers. But he gets in essence a call-forwarding service as a call to his old number is routed to his new one. His contacts will see only this new number when he makes out-going calls and sends messages (SMS). The drawback with this is that their recipients see an unrecognisable new number and may even ignore the calls or SMSes. He is also not able to receive MMSes on his original number with such a solution.

Under a true Number Portability regime, these inconveniences and limitations will be eliminated. Consumers will only use one number, no matter how many times he changes telecoms service providers. This reduces or cuts out barriers that presently deter consumers from switching telecoms service providers. Such a move will also keep the Singapore telecoms market keenly competitive and relevant to future market developments.

IDA Deputy Chief Executive and Director-General (Telecoms) Leong Keng Thai said: “A telephone number has become a highly personal item, as consumers treasure the numbers they have shared with long-time business associates, friends and family. Being able to keep the number means convenience, while allowing a consumer to enjoy the choices the liberalised Singapore telecoms market offers. Telecoms service providers in turn could offer more compelling reasons to attract new customers or keep their existing customers.”

The move is timely as Singapore’s iN2015 infocomm masterplan2 is being implemented. With iN2015’s plans for a Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure, new capabilities and services, such as services and networks inter-operability and location-based services, are expected. A true Number Portability regime will be well-placed to support the evolution of such next-generation needs. It may also encourage new business possibilities in the converged voice and data space, for new players, including non-telecom ones.

The three key changes to the present regime, in place since April 19973, are:

a. IDA will introduce a common centralised database approach4 for operators to provide number portability for fixed line services, post- and pre-paid mobile services. This is a more robust, effective and efficient approach in the long run5. The centralised database will be independently-run and open access;

b. One number is all consumers will have when they switch between mobile service providers. Switching between mobile operators should also take about one day, compared with five days currently for a switch;

c. Fixed line operators must stop recurring monthly porting service charges. Consumers who want to port their fixed line telephone number to a new fixed line service provider will need pay only a one-time administrative charge to them. Mobile service providers stopped such recurrent charges in June 2003.

Operators will have to enhance their number portability solution by the fourth quarter of 2007. This enhancement will include appointing a neutral centralised database administrator by IDA, developing this database, and upgrades in operators’ networks and provisioning systems.

True Number Portability from 4th Quarter 2007

02 Aug 2006 – IDA issues decision to enhance Number Portability Regime
By September/October 2006 ? IDA issues Request for Proposal
By December 2006/January 2007 ? IDA appoints a Centralised Database administrator
From fourth-quarter 2007 – Singapore enjoys true Number Portability

IDA’s decision follows a public review last September of the number portability solutions for mobile and fixed line services. Thirty-six members of the public and 10 industry players made submissions. Consumers expressed unequivocal support of the proposed enhancements. They consider it a timely move and look forward to the freedom to switch.

Their sentiments were echoed in the findings of a Consumer Awareness and Satisfaction Survey6, commissioned by the IDA last year. Most of the respondents said being able to keep their number is a critical consideration when switching telecoms service providers. Of those who switched or considered switching but did not, many said that the high one-time administrative charge, having two-numbers and the inability to receive MMS on their original number after porting were key deterrents.

IDA also commissioned a cost-benefit analysis earlier this year, which showed the benefits of the new number portability solution will outweigh the implementation costs over the long term7.

Following today’s decision, the IDA will establish a Number Portability Working Committee. That group will comprise IDA, the service providers and other relevant parties such as the Centralised Database Administrator after its appointment. Together, they will oversee the implementation of true Number Portability.

Mr Leong said: “IDA’s decision will ensure that it continues to effectively serve the infocomm market, facilitate market entry, and promote further competition and developments.”

More details on IDA’s decision on the review of the number portability solutions for both fixed line and mobile services can be found at IDA’s website, in the sections “Policy & Regulation”, “Consultation Papers”.

——————————————————————————–
ISSUED BY CORPORATE & MARKETING COMMUNICATION DIVISION
INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE

——————————————————————————–

Notes to Editor:

1 Number Portability is the ability for telephone users to retain their current telephone numbers, when they switch from one telecom service provider to another telecoms service provider.

2 Intelligent Nation 2015, or iN2015, is Singapore’s sixth and latest infocomm masterplan. Its vision is to transform the country into an Intelligent Nation, A Global City, powered by infocomm by the year 2015. It was launched on 20 June 2006, by Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts Lee Boon Yang, at the annual Infocomm Media Business Exchange, or imbX.

3 A Brief History of Number Portability in Singapore:
April 1997: Singapore introduced Mobile Number Portability via a Call Forwarding solution
April 2000: Fixed-Number Portability introduced, along with the start of the liberalisation of Singapore’s telecoms market
June 2003: IDA tells Mobile Operators to stop recurring monthly porting fees and to provide SMS portability
August 2006: IDA issues decision to enhance Number Portability solution
4Q 2007: Singapore to have true Number Portability solution

4 Singapore was one of the first in the world when it offered consumers number portability in 1997. That solution has served the mobile market well. However, better number porting technology has since become more readily available and cost-effective to deploy, such that other countries have leveraged it to enhance their own telecoms market. The United States of America, most European countries and South Africa have adopted the Central Database approach. In the Asia-Pacific, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia have also, or are planning for such a database in their markets.

5 Call Forwarding is the current method used to connect a caller to a ported mobile subscriber. Calls are first routed to the ported mobile subscriber’s previous operator. The previous operator, upon checking its own database, will forward this call to the ported mobile subscriber’s new operator, which would then complete the call. With a Central Database system, the Originating Operator will directly check that repository of numbers, which has information on ported numbers, and connect a call to the ported mobile subscriber’s new operator. This is deemed more efficient and importantly, beneficial for the telecom sector in the long run as it can better support more complex routings expected from the next-generation services and applications.

6 The Consumer Awareness & Satisfaction Survey 2005 measured usage and awareness of, and satisfaction with selected telecoms services in Singapore. In total, 1,500 individuals were interviewed between 22 October and 5 December 2005. They were selected through a two-stage stratified design: (a) A sample of 1,500 households were selected from the Household Sampling Frame maintained by the Department of Statistics; and (b) An individual was then selected from this sample for the survey.

7 Using the current situation as the baseline case, the new true number portability Centralised Database solution could result in an estimated direct net economic gain of S$34m to S$240m to the economy over 10 years. This is based on conservative estimates of about 5% and 10% annual MNP porting rate. The estimated cost of the Centralised Database stands at S$10m or less. Estimates of the full implementation costs, including database integration will be determined once the RFP is finalised.

About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is committed to growing Singapore into a dynamic global infocomm hub. IDA uses an integrated approach to developing infocommunications in Singapore. This involves nurturing a competitive telecoms market as well as a conducive business environment with programmes and schemes for both local and international companies. For more news and information, visit www.ida.gov.sg

Hope for ICQ!

Yesterday, i read in the Straits Times’ digital life section that MSN & Yahoo has just launched a latest version of the 2 IMs that will allow users to send messages across both platforms. Immediately, the thought that came to my mind was… that’s it lah. ICQ is doomed to eternal obscurity. After all, the last version of ICQ that was released was in 2003!! For today’s split-second attention span Internet users, no improvements / innovations for 3 years spells DEATH in caps!

Bitching about the unstability of MSN with a friend today (something screwed up & i had to uninstall & re-install MSN before i could log on), i mourned the loss of ICQ. I was telling him about how ICQ has been dead since 2003, and that the lack of improvements might be linked to the fact that AOL bought over ICQ (er, i’m only linking the 2 events ‘cos the timelime coincided)… when i suddenly had this urge to check the ICQ website.

Lo and behold! There is a NEW ICQ VERSION released! Fresh out of the oven on 11 Jul 2006! ICQ ver 5.1 has incorporated new features like short animation flash, new skins, and being able to choose to log onto ICQ via mobile phone. I haven’t tried it yet but the specs look promising.

After all, the latest MSN copies a lot of the features that the ICQ2003b has… so perhaps if ICQ can innovate & leapfrog in this latest version, a resurrection may be in order.

So tell all your friends! Check out the latest ICQ… resurrect it!

Out with the old, in with the new…

A long time ago, i wrote about ICQ vs MSN. Now, i think it’s finally a foregone conclusion that ICQ is heading the way of the dinosaurs.A friend of mine recently introduced me to Live Messenger. This is the latest beta version of MSN messenger. It looks pretty much similar to the regular MSN except that you can:
1) Send offline msgs (finally!) to your friends.
2) Go into invisible mode and still msg the friends you want to talk to (just like ICQ’s invisible mode).
3) Share certain files with your friends.

Live Msgr is part of this whole new MSN web concept… you can check out the homepage here. Live.com allows you to totally customise the homepage to include content that you’re interested in. Excellent concept.

So now with all the cute animated emoticons and offline msg feature, what more can i complain about? Yes, i still prefer ICQ’s msg by msg format… but i guess i could make that small sacrifice & use MSN as my main IM. After all, most of my friends are using it already. (Though i still feel deeply for ICQ… sentimental value u know… it has served me faithfully for many years!)

Once again, an iconic program of my youth is becoming obsolete… sigh. Makes me feel old…

—————————————————-

Fantastic! The same person who intro’d me to Live Msgr just pointed out the last redeeming factor of ICQ – it’s a lot easier to send a msg to several users at one go. Cool! Heh. 😛

Hell hath no fury…

… like UptownGal misrepresented to. On 18/3/2006 (Sat), the Nokia 6280 hp was officially launched in Singapore. Having waited in anticipation for the phone, I checked the papers and realised that Singtel was selling the phone the cheapest – for $248 whereas M1 & Starhub were selling it for $448, all terms & conditions the same.

Excited, I called Singtel 1626 to check which hello!shop had stock for the silver model. I was told that all the stores only carried the black model and that the current promotion was going to end at 24/3/2006 (Fri), after which the price of the phone would revert to the original retail price. As usual, the kiasu Singaporean in me didn’t believe the guy at the 1626 helpline and i called another 2x before i was satisfied that only the black model was available.

All 3 Singtel 1626 staff i spoke to sang the same tune – this was a “limited promotion” and “only valid while stocks last”. In fact, i nearly wrote in a complimentary letter for one of the staff i spoke to ‘cos she initially told me that this offer was going to last till the end of Mar, but she called me back about 5min later to say that she made a mistake, and that the promo was ending on 24/3/2006. I thought that was very responsible of her to clarify her error! (Though she did the most damage ‘cos she was the one who kept reiterating that they had “limited stock” and i should purchase the phone asap.)

Convinced that this was an offer not to be missed, i rushed down after work on 19/3/2006 (Sun) and purchased the black 6280, as well as to sign a recontract plan with Singtel. Alas, when i saw the Straits Times 6 days later, on 25/3/2006 (Sat), there was a huge ad by Singtel stating that they were now selling the phone for $0, ceribus paribus!

Wah lau eh! Does Singtel mean to say that the “original price” of the phone was $0 and i got suckered into paying $248 for it? Or did Singtel purposely trick long-time subscribers like me into paying $248 for the phone, only to sell it for $0 one week later so as to attract new subscribers, and basically (as my friend put it) “make me subsidize someone else’s free phone?”

I called the 1626 helpline immediately and spoke to this chap called Nash Mohammad. At first the guy gave all sorts of excuses for it but after i lambasted him, he backed down and said that he would check with management on Monday and let me know what they could offer me to “justify my losses”. I also sent an email to feedback@singtel.com stating my case & how Singtel’s 3 staff’s misrepresentation led me into making this erroreous purchase (TMD, not only did the phone become free, the silver model is also available now!).

On 27/3/2006 (Mon), Nash returned my call and said that they were willing to extend to me free caller ID for 12 months “out of goodwill”. My reply was that free caller ID for 12 months only costs $60, whereas i was conned into paying $248 extra for the phone. How would that make up for my loss?

On the same day, a Halimah Bte Shaik from Singtel’s Customer Relations called to say that they were investigating the case, and she would get back to me latest Thu. Thoroughly pissed off by Singtel by now (it’s their tone of voice and their attitude that really irked me), i wrote a complaint email to Bernard Ho (Singtel’s Corp. Comm.), as well as Allen Lew (Singtel Singapore CEO). Bernard’s reply came polite and fast, though i didn’t hear from him again after that. (Talk about great tai-ji skills…)

Anyway, after many emails & my final action of taking the case up to CASE, Singtel offered me 24 months free caller ID. I asked Halimah to put it down in black & white this offer of theirs but i’ve yet to receive her email. I’m thinking now… should i accept this $120 compensation in kind (that is spread out over 2 years) for a $248 immediate cash loss i had to bear? I mean, considering the time value of money… i still don’t seem to be getting a fair deal right?

A friend of mine who’s working for Singtel said that even at $248, the phone has been heavily subsidized by Singtel and since handphone promotions are subjected to frequent changes, she doesn’t see “how Singtel has mistreated me”.

Frankly, i think i was just a victim of Singtel’s bad marketing campaign for the phone and/or bad marketing strategy to capture a greater share of the 3G market. If Singtel had reverted to the original retail price for even 3 days before launching this $0 promotion, i would have had nothing to say. And the poor bottom-of-the-foodchain 1626 staff would not have unintentionally misrepresented to me. After all, no telco has ever dropped the price of a brand new Nokia phone this way before. But since this stupid marketing strategy is already set in stone, why should i let myself be victimized by it? If i misrepresented anything about a condo i’m marketing, i think the buyer would sue me through my pants to demand for compensation. Sure, a handphone is barely a fraction of the cost of a condo, but the principle’s the same right? We all owe a duty of care to our customers and misrepresentation is a VERY serious mistake.

Here’s the whole chain of emails that flew between Singtel, CASE, and me. I’m still waiting to hear from CASE whether i should pursue the matter. Since Ms. Halimah has not given me a black & white on the final compensation in kind offered (oh btw, instead of saying i was misrepresented to, she apologized profusely just now about the information that was “miscommunicated” to me. What an easy way to sweep things under the carpet!), and i have not officially accepted it, i think i’m going to write her another email to say that i want a little more

———————
To: feedback@singtel.com
Date: Mar 25, 2006 8:23 PM
Subject: Unfair & Unacceptable Level of Service by Singtel

I purchased the latest Nokia 6280 last Sunday, 19/3/2006. Before I made the purchase, I called 1626 three times and was advised that the $248 offer (with $200 trade-in) was a promotional price, valid till 24/3/2006 and “while stocks last” only. Initially, I was hesitant to take up this offer as I wanted the silver colour for the phone, which was not available. All three staff I spoke to said that they did not know when the silver colour would be available but I should be quick in taking up the offer as once the offer ends, the price of the phone will “revert to the original retail price.”

Psyched into thinking that this was a fantastic offer by Singtel, I decided to give up waiting for the silver colour model, and rushed down after work on Sunday night to purchase the phone, as well as sign a recontract on my existing line. Although I had to pay an extra $100 for the phone as my existing contract still had 12 months to go before expiry, I willingly paid the extra $100 as I was satisfactorily convinced by your staff that this was an offer not to be missed.

Alas, when I flipped open the newspapers this morning, I saw a huge full colour advertisement in the Straits Times stating that the Nokia 6280 now cost $0 (with $200 trade-in) only! And not only was the price slashed so drastically, the silver model was also available! (As stated on the singtelshop.com website). Whatever happened to the “price will revert to original price” once the offer ends? Does Singtel mean to say that the original price of this phone is $0 and the promotional price of the phone was a scam?

Or, did Singtel intentionally price the phone at $248 to lure unsuspecting loyal subscribers like myself to recontract, only to drop the price to $0 seven days later so as to attract more new subscribers to sign up? Were loyal subscribers like me made to be sacrificial lambs, unwittingly conned into subsidizing the $0 offer for new sign-ups?

If the reason for dropping the price to $0 was the result of a badly executed marketing campaign by Singtel, then why should I be penalized for it? I bought the phone with much urgency after repeated prompting by Singtel staff and now I cannot help but feel that I have been cheated by the telco company that I have been loyally recontracting year after year with, since 1998.

This morning, I made a call to Singtel’s 1626 helpline. I first spoke to a CSO called Mike Maurice, whose tone was certainly less than friendly, before being passed on to his supervisor, Nash Mohammad. (I am not sure of the spelling of his surname.) At first, Nash said that there was nothing he could do as all the pricing for the phones were determined by Singtel’s marketing department. He also likened buying a phone to going to a supermarket. His gave the analogy of how sometimes supermarkets would slash prices on their products and if you bought the products a day before the offer, you would not entitled to the new promotion. My goodness! It is beyond my comprehension how purchasing a mobile phone can be the same as purchasing a bunch of bananas. And I certainly have not seen any supermarkets sell anything for $0.

Nash also said that all pricing for phones were determined by the marketing department of Singtel and the pricing would depend on the demand and supply of the phone. He said that “sometimes in order to clear stock, the marketing department would cut prices”. My question to Singtel now is that if this is a brand new phone launched only last week, why the urgency to clear stock now? And, if this were true, why was I told by 3 different CSOs last Sunday that there was limited stock for the phone?

Not satisfied and even more disgruntled by my experience with 1626, I took time off from work to visit the hello! shop at Parkway Parade to see if there was any recourse for this scam that I have fallen for. Unfortunately, the staff I spoke to, Sharon, said that there was nothing they could do on their end and I was given this email address to write to instead. Despite the indignation I feel, I was told that I have to give Singtel 3 days to respond. 3 days is an extremely long time in this age of Internet correspondence.

The way Singtel can change its tune to suit its own self-serving agenda is truly mind-blowing. I am appalled at the way subscribers like me have been conned into signing a recontract plan that is obviously to our great disadvantage. I am even more disgusted by how there is NO service recovery whatsoever for subscribers like myself who have been victimised by Singtel’s unfair marketing practices. I am not asking for a refund for the higher price I was tricked into buying the phone for, but I do expect some form of compensation in kind for the alarming price difference I was forced to bear for renewing my contract 5 days early.

After meeting with much resistence by Singtel at the hello!shop and over the 1626 hotline, I really do not know how effective this email to feedback@singtel is going to be. As I told Sharon, this is NOT feedback. This is a serious complaint and I expect action to be taken. If Singtel decides to treat this email as mere “feedback”, then I hope Singtel can also let me know how many channels do they expect me to take this complaint up to before serious consideration is given – do I have to make a trip down to CASE? Or write in to ST Forum, and have a hard copy of the complaint sent to Singtel’s CEO, Mr. Allen Lew, before I am given a more fair treatment?

I look forward to your reply, hopefully in less than 3 days.
Regards
———————————————-
To: alew@singtel.com
Cc: stforum@sph.com.sg, bernardho@singtel.com
Date: Mar 27, 2006 4:59 PM
Subject: Misrepresentation by Singtel on Promotional Offer

Dear Mr. Allen Lew,
I purchased the latest Nokia 6280 last Sunday, 19/3/2006. Before I made the purchase, I called Singtel 1626 three times and was advised that the $248 offer (with $200 trade-in) was a promotional price, valid till 24/3/2006 and “while stocks last” only.

Initially, I was hesitant to take up this offer as I wanted the silver colour for the phone, which was not available. I called Singtel 1626 three times and all three Customer Service Officers (CSO) I spoke to said that they did not know when the silver colour would be available but I should be quick in taking up the offer as once the offer ends, the price of the phone will “revert to the original retail price.”

Psyched into thinking that this was a fantastic offer by Singtel, I decided to give up waiting for the silver model, and rushed down after work on Sunday night to purchase the phone, as well as sign a recontract on my existing line. Although I had to pay an extra $100 for the phone as my existing contract still had 12 months to go before expiry, I willingly paid the extra $100 as I was satisfactorily convinced by the three CSOs that speedy action was needed on my part before this special $248 offer runs out and the phone price goes back to its original retail price.

Alas, when I flipped open the newspapers on Saturday morning 25/3/2006, I saw a huge full colour advertisement in the Straits Times stating that the Nokia 6280 now cost $0 (with $200 trade-in) only! Whatever happened to the “price will revert to original price” once the offer ends? Does Singtel mean to say that the original price of this phone is $0 and the promotional price of the phone was a marked-up price?
Or, did Singtel intentionally price the phone at $248 to lure unsuspecting loyal subscribers like myself to recontract, only to drop the price to $0 seven days later so as to attract more new subscribers to sign up? Were loyal subscribers like me made to be sacrificial lambs, unwittingly lured into subsidizing the $0 offer for new sign-ups?

If the reason for dropping the price to $0 was the result of a badly executed marketing campaign by Singtel, then why should I be penalized for it? I bought the phone with much urgency after repeated prompting by Singtel staff and now I cannot help but feel that I have been cheated by the telco company that I have been loyally recontracting year after year with, since 1998.

I have written in to feedback@singtel.com, as well as called the Singtel 1626 hotline again regarding this issue. However, the only recourse I have been offered from Singtel 1626’s CSO, Mr. Nash Mohammad, is that Singtel is willing to offer me the caller-id service (which costs $5 per month) free for 12 months “out of goodwill”.

A compensation in kind of $60 for a price difference of $248 is simply incomprehensible to me. I would never have bought the phone in such a hurry, if not for the misrepresentation by Singtel’s three CSOs. I am hereby writing this to you in hope that a fairer recourse can be given.
Thank you.
Regards
———————————————-
From: Bernard Ho Tjin Charn
Date: Mar 27, 2006 6:56 PM
Subject: RE: Misrepresentation by Singtel on Promotional Offer

I read with concern your unhappiness over the experience of purchasing a new Nokia handset and re-contracting with us. I’ve shared with the Product Marketing Director for the service and our Customer Service should be calling you shortly to resolve your issue.

I will call you personally by Wednesday, 29 March to see if your problem has been resolved. Please call me on my mobile, if you need urgent follow up.

Thank you and best regards,

Bernard Ho
Snr Corporate Communications Mgr
Singapore Telecommunications Limited
DID: +65 6838 3065
Mobile: +65 9782 3393
———————————————-
From: Halimah bte Shaik Z A
Date: Mar 29, 2006 3:27 PM
Subject: Greetings from SingTel
O/Ref : STM/06/03/CRD78195

Thank you for sharing with us your concerns via our website feedback form. It was nice talking to you yesterday.

We regret for your discontentment as we place great emphasis on customer satisfaction. Please allow us to clarify that we may carry different promotions and offers at different times to match the competitive mobile market. We seek your understanding on this matter.

Notwithstanding the above, it is noted that Nash has offered to extend you with free 12 months of Caller ID service for your mobile number, as a gesture of goodwill. The necessary adjustment will be reflected in your next or subsequent bill.

We appreciate it that you have taken the time to share with us your concerns, as it helps us to keep abreast of customers’ views and expectations. Your feedback has been noted for our reviews.

Yours sincerely
Halimah Z A (Ms)
Executive
Customer Relations
For and on behalf of
Singapore Telecom Mobile Pte Ltd
Company registration number: 199406031E
———————————————-
To: Halimah bte Shaik Z A
Cc: bernardho@singtel.com, alew@singtel.com
Date: Mar 29, 2006 11:37 PM
Subject: Back to Square One

Dear Halimah,
I spoke to Nash on 24/3/2006 (Sat) regarding my unhappiness over the way I was pressured into purchasing the Nokia 6280 set, only to realise later that your staff at the 1626 helpdesk had misrepresented certain facts to me.

On 27/2/2006 (Mon), Nash called me to say that after checking with management, Singtel was willing to extend the caller ID free for 12 months “out of goodwill”, of which I already told Nash that this is not acceptable to me.

I reiterated the points above in my email to Mr. Bernard Ho on 27/3/2006 (Mon), as well as to your goodself when you phoned me on Mon. Your reply was that you were “investigating the matter” and would get back to me latest Thursday.

I am thus appalled that it appears that you have done NOTHING other than to repeat what Nash has already told me, and what I had already rejected on Monday. What were you investigating then? If you intended to sit on the matter on the pretext of “investigating”, and then repeat something that I have already rejected thinking that I would accept it 1 day later, I think you are greatly mistakened.

Now I am thoroughly fuming at the lack of action, initiative, and obvious complacency on your part. Just because I have stupidly recontracted with Singtel does not mean that Singtel can force what it deems as “a gesture of goodwill” down my throat.

Has Singtel taken its status as the leading mobile service provider for granted? Is this how Singtel managed to be the market leader? By getting its CSOs to trick subscribers into recontracting and then offer some dastardly VAS free “out of goodwill”? I am not even asking Singtel to refund me anything in cash. Surely Singtel can offer me compensation in kind of similar value to the $248 loss I was conned into paying.

I am sure all the calls made to 1626 are logged and if Singtel dares to pretend that the misrepresentation did not happen, I reckon that Singtel better start retrieving the logs of the 3 calls I made on 19/3/2006 (Sun) and have them ready because I will definitely bring this matter up to CASE, the newspapers, and all the online technical forums there are.
Regards
———————————————-
To: complaints@case.org.sg
Cc: bernardho@singtel.com, alew@singtel.com, halimahsz@singtel.com
Date: Mar 30, 2006 1:12 PM
Subject: Advice Needed on Misrepresentation by Singtel Staff
Dear Sirs,
I am writing to seek your advice on whether there is any recourse for me on the purchase of my mobile phone.
On 19/3/2006 (Sun), I called Singtel’s 1626 helpline three times to enquire whether Singtel had the silver model of the latest Nokia 6280 handphone that was launched that weekend. I was told by 3 different staff that all the Singtel shops only carried the black model. I was also advised that I should be quick in making my purchase because their promotion of $248 for the phone lasted only till 24/3/2006 (Fri) and was on a “while stocks last” basis, after which the price was going to revert to the original retail price. Convinced that this was a great offer not to be missed, I rushed down after work on Sunday night to purchase the phone, as well as to sign a recontract with Singtel.

6 days later, on 25/3/2006 (Sat), I was reading the Straits Times when I saw that Singtel had suddenly dropped the price of the Nokia 6280 from $248 to $0! I felt so cheated! The promotion I supposedly was enjoying was to have ended on 24/3/2006 and instead of reverting to the original price, the phone dropped to $0?

I wrote in to Singtel, as well as called the 1626 helpline to make known my unhappiness over how I was misled into recontracting at a higher price than what I would have enjoyed, had I waited for the silver model that I originally wanted. Singtel said that they acknowledged my complaint and “out of goodwill”, they were willing to offer me 12 months caller ID (worth a mere $5/month) free.

In my subsequent calls & emails to Singtel, I made it very clear that this was not a fair deal to me because I had acted solely based on the advice by Singtel’s 1626 staff. I am in the property business and if I had misrepresented a fact as pertinent as the price of a product, my clients would have had me up in court rightaway.

Sadly, the final email I received from Singtel stated that they were going ahead to effect the 12 months free caller ID offered to me in my next bill. I am disappointed and I feel thoroughly helpless that a big organization like Singtel can bulldoze its “goodwill” over my protests.

Although $248 is not a big sum of money, it is a matter of principle that I am not conned of the amount because of a misrepresentation made by Singtel. Is there any way that CASE could help me obtain a fairer compensation regarding this issue? I have asked Singtel to retrieve the call logs of the conversation I had with their 1626 helpline staff on 19/3/2006 to verify that I was indeed misled by them but I have not heard anything from them on this issue yet. If CASE is able to help me, I would be more than happy to join as a member so that we can proceed from here.

Looking forward to your reply. Thank you.

Best regards

cc. Ms. Halimah (Singtel Customer Relations)
cc. Mr. Bernard Ho (Singtel Corp Comms.)
cc. Mr. Allen Lew (Singtel Singapore CEO)
———————————————-
To: Halimah bte Shaik Z A
Date: Mar 31, 2006 2:31 AM
Subject: Re: Back to Square One
Dear Halimah,

Thank you for your call earlier tonight, and for the suggestion that I take up Singtel’s offer of 24 months caller ID free. Indeed, this is an improvement over the 12 months caller ID free that was offered initially. However, after serious consideration, it occurred to me that the value of the 24 months free caller ID offered is only $120, of which the enjoyment of this is spread over a period of 2 years. Comparing the time value of money at stake, this does not commensurate with the $248 immediate cash loss I was misrepresented into paying. (I must admit that the way you put it – information was “miscommunicated” to me was a good way of deflecting any blame from Singtelt. Your employer should reward you for that!)

Notwithstanding all that has transpired, I hope Singtel can extend its “goodwill” to not only cover caller ID free for 24 months, but to also waive the monthly subscription fee for the Data3 Lite VAS for 12 months.
Please put forth my request to your management for consideration. I will not be able to give a definite answer on whether I should accept the goodwill extended thus far till I speak to the representative from CASE for further advice.

I appreciate your assistance on the matter. Thank you.

Regards,
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Stay tuned for the next episode of… Days of UptownGal’s Life where Hell hath no fury like in Orange County…

The Smartest Stupidest Thing

Since i’m on the topic of phones… i thought i might as well share the most brillantly stupid thing about the Nokia 6280. I am very happy about the phone – it’s relatively light, has a fantastic big screen that’s sharp in resolution, has a good camera, speedy menus, etc, etc… and guess what? It comes with voice-dial prefixed!

Voice dial prefixed? Yeap… all you need to do is to key in a contact’s name, e.g. “Pinky”, and the phone automatically generates a voice dial for it…

The catch is… if you want to use the voice dial, u’re going to need to speak like a man, and have a strong American accent.

And no…. this voice dial cannot be changed… *Rolls eyes*. (The more i think about this the more annoyed i am ‘cos i use the voice dial function of hps regularly when driving… and now the bloody phone can’t recognize my voice at all! Freak!) Grr….

The bigger scope of things

I bought the new Nokia 6280 last night! I’ve been eyeing this phone for a couple of months now and when it was launched over the past weekend, i grabbed it ‘cos Singtel had a special promotion – $220 cheaper than the other telcos! Managed to trade in my 6230i for $270 (Wywy shop) so i only had to pay $278 for the new hp!

The phone was great. I love the fact that it’s running on the series40 OS ‘cos symbian OS sucks. The phone’s pretty nifty & there’s no lag when you browse through the various menu functions. The 2.0megapix camera is also great… but the flash so-so only.

Now here’s the warning that everyone better heed!! After i got home last night, i excitedly downloaded the latest Nokia PC Suite (v6.7) from the nokia-asia.com website and tried to sync the contacts from my old hp, that was backed up on my computer, into this new hp. The contacts got transferred perfectly. Confidence bolstered, i attempted to transfer my calender items from my pc to my hp… and the program hanged!! It hanged while sync-ing the 14th calender item!! This also resulted in my hp getting hanged & no matter what i tried, my hp refused to boot up after that!

Resigned to the state of my new hp, i went to bed & decided to pop down to Nokia Care Centre the next day (i.e. today). I had to go back to Parkway tonight anyway ‘cos the young chap who served me at the Wywy shop forgot to take the IMEI sticker from the hp box to attach to my recontract application form.

Nokia took close to 2 hours to “fix” my hp. But after the “fixing” i realised that the calculator function in the hp was missing!! Good grief! Do u know how important it is to have a calculator functionin your hp when you’re doing property sales!?! I tried to sync hp with my pc too and that didn’t work either. The error message said something about the PC Suite not supporting the model of my hp (what the *@%!#^??), and to switch off and on the phone again ‘cos the PC Suite setting files were missing.

Wah lau… i think the stupid people at Nokia installed the wrong OS for my phone lor. They probably just dumped another series40 OS inside the hp. How crappy can u get right? Oh i forget… it’s Nokia…. last year, they made me go back to the service centre 6x with multiple problems before i got fedup & demanded that they did a one to one exchange.

Anyway, i rushed back to Parkway again…. but the queue at the Nokia Care Centre was ridiculously long. (Speaks volumes about their QC right?). So i went to the Wywy shop again and asked the nice young chap if there was any chance for them to do a 1 for 1 exchange for me. I asked him, “What if i’m a nasty customer who’s making a lot of noise, and scaring away all your other customers? Will your manager swop phones for me?”

The boy said that his manager might… so he called his manager and said that i was a “very frustrated customer” who was making a lot of noise about how my hp konked out w/in 24hrs & that i was demanding a 1 to 1 exchange ‘cos my hp just got worse after Nokia laid their hands on it. After some persuasion on his side, his manager agreed. Heh… i could hardly control the beam on my face.

Part of the reason why this 1 to 1 exchange was allowed was ‘cos in that young boy’s haste last night, he not only forgot to attach the IMEI sticker to my recontract form – he also forgot to stamp his company’s stamp & date of purchase on my warranty card. As a matter of fact, my warranty card was completely blank! Haha.

Anyway, the kind young chap helped me do a swop and the 2nd phone works perfectly. *Fingers crossed*. Actually when my hp konked out last night, i was pretty calm and not pissed off as i usually would be? It’s like somehow i felt that there was a reason why the young chap forgot to attach my IMEI sticker to the recontract form.

I’m not saying that God allows such things to happen so that we can get free swopping of hp. Just that i feel that sometimes we want things to run so perfectly that we stress ourselves out when in actual fact, you just need to take a step back & take things as they come. U never know… sometimes a “bad” thing may turn out “good” in the end.

Handphone addict!

Argh… this is terrible. I’m a bad bad handphone addict. When i was a poor student, i restricted myself to changing handphones once a year so that i could recontract and enjoy the offer prices for signing my life away. After i started work, this once a year trend soon accelerated to once every 6 months… and now, changing handphones has become a quarterly trend. (Maybe i got subconsciously influenced by how most tenancy contracts require tenants to service the aircon on a quarterly basis? Hmm…) Last year was when i changed phones the most number of times. From the Nokia 6230 to 6260 to 6230i to Sony Ericsson’s Z520i, i bought them all! (Ok, the last one was bought by Clown). Even the guy at the handphone shop in Eastpoint recognizes me. He probably can see the word “sucker” etched across my forehead whenever i step into the shop.

Once again, i’m at a major crossroads in my life. Ever since i found out that 3G video calls cost the same as a normal voice call, i’ve been itching for a 3G phone. Thankfully, most of the 3G phones on the market the past year were bulky & just not very appealing… well, except for maybe Sony’s k600i but that didn’t come with expandable memory.

But the itch was still there and u know the thing about itches… ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. U just gotta scratch! And since my Singtel line is eligible for a recontract now, i’ve been doing research on which handphone to get next.

According to the 3GSM World Congress held recently, the best 3G phone is Motorola’s Razr V3x was voted the best 3G phone. But the thing about Motorola is that the user menu is just not as user friendly as Nokia or SE. Certainly, the Razr V3 range of phones look cool, and are slim & stylish to boot. But no point getting a phone that i can’t get used to right?

So i explored my once favourite brand, Nokia. Nokia has 2 new 3G phones hitting the stores here soon (i suspect this weekend) – the 6280 & N80. The N80 is really really cool ‘cos it has a 3 megapixels camera (that’s almost the same as my digicam!!). But have u seen the size of that thing? It’s so bulky & heavy that if i got into an accident with a road bully, i could take a real clear picture of the accident scene, plus clobber the road bully with it in self-defence.

Then there’s the 6280. It looks slim enough. But i’m not quite sold on slide phones… i mean i did have one before – the 8810 (the “fingerprint” phone) which looked really great ‘cos of the shiny finishing. But the 6280 looked a little “toy-like”… and a little manly too. Should i pay good money for something i may not like that much?

My search for the 3G phone soon took me to the Sony Ericsson website. Wow. I was bowled over by their upcoming k610i. This k610i is an improved version of the current k600i (which i.m.o looks really good too). The main difference is that the k610i has expandable memory, and a 2megalpixel camera. This is gonna be one slim, sleek, stylish & ultracool phone. But there’s 2 things i don’t like about SE phones in general – first, the name search process can be rather tedious. Second, i still prefer the way Nokia’s messaging system works.

Sigh… decisions decisions decisions. Initially, i thought of getting the Nokia 6280 for myself, and the SE k610i for Clown when it comes out. Hey, no point getting a 3G phone if there’s no one to share the 3G video call fun right? (As far as i know, only Azure uses a 3G phone, of which she has never used the video call function….)

So should i get the 6280 now now?? If u notice the latest “scam” started by Motorola – they released the V3 in silver & black, then in gold & pink, and now blue… which means u’re stuck with the same colour unless u buy a new phone. It appears that Nokia is going that direction too? ‘Cos the 6111 first came out in black & silver… and now there’s frosted pink… whatever happened to Nokia’s innovative Xpress-on covers?? That was 1 thing i loved Nokia for! 🙁 The 6280 is going to be launched in silver & black… but those are such boring colours! (Sheesh, they’re not even considered “colours” in art). I want something unique… something feminine…. baby blue, pastel pink, lilac…

How now brown bunny? To 3G or not to 3G?

My apologies

I was scanning through my old blog entries looking for this person’s blog’s url… couldn’t find it but saw a couple of comments that were posted quite some time back! Aiyoh, so paiseh. Sorry i didn’t see the comments earlier… not that it’s a big deal to anyone but i didn’t realise that i forgot to set a notification to be sent to my email add if someone leaves a comment on my blog.One of the comments left was regarding www.styleupcover.com. Seems like i’m not the only one who got a bad deal from them. I ended my blog entry saying “stay tuned for the outcome”… but i really can’t remember if i posted anywhere on my blog about what happened in the end.

Hence, just for the sake of completeness, i shall write a brief account here. I did get my styleupcover in the end…. and Iceman managed to find the link that shows u the status of your order. The link was somewhere on the bottom right corner of the styleupcover.com page if i don’t remember wrongly, in very, very fine print. Although i did get the housing i ordered, the workmanship was TERRIBLE!!!!! The colour of the photo on the back cover was not accurate, and there were burnt marks on the edge of the back cover (most likely due to lousy workmanship in attaching the photo to the cover). I also ordered white for the front cover but was given the navy blue one (again the finishing was rough) instead.

I was quite pissed when i saw the quality (or rather the lack of it) of the product. Wanted to send it back initially but when i calculated the cost of sending it back, i realised it just wasn’t worth spending even a single cent more on this stupid product.

So if u’re thinking of getting a styleupcover too, think again! And don’t bank on Sonyericsson offering any assistance at all. I had to wait like 20min before i could get someone to assist me over the phone, and the only assistance i got was this polite gal telling me that SE doesn’t know anything abt styleupcover ‘cos it’s a 3rd party product, and she thinks i’m the 1st & only person who’s ever ordered the product.

Crap!

Big Brother is Watching

Have u ever wondered who is reading your blog, if anyone at all? Given the vast expanse of cyberspace, i’ve always wondered if anyone other than my few colleagues & friends know of the existence of this blog. How do people find their way here? Do i pop up on Google (i do!)? Where do these readers unknown to me come from?I got my 1st known visit from a stranger a few days ago. I didn’t realise she left a comment on 13 Feb till last night when i saw her comment (albeit a really short one) about Pinky. I was pretty happy…. in part that someone thinks Pinky is adorable, in part that someone outside of Singapore found my blog, and left a comment. (Not counting all those automatic spam comments i get from idiots who just want to generate publicity for their blog.)

Curious, i checked out her blog too and found it interesting enough to explore it and guess what? I found this statistic counter that helps webmasters tally various information about the people that access their websites. Ah…. finally a good tracking tool to monitor who reads your blog.

Click here if you’re interested in downloading this counter too. 🙂

Heh… don’t say i didn’t warn u. I’m watching u….