I am running a workshop in Nigeria this coming Monday, and wanted to showcase FrontlineSMS. I installed the software and went out to get a dongle. I happened to find a good deal at Vodafone. I asked the guy at the shop if it would allow me to send and receive SMSs, and he said yes (this was, btw, at the Brunswick centre shop,
I go home happy as a bee, install FrontlineSMS, plug in my dongle. The software identifies the device. I eagerly type in a number and send a message.
.................. i.e. message pending, forever.
I look around and notice that the dongle has installed its own SMS tool, so I try that.
.................. i.e. the software goes through a loop of try / fail / try / fail give up.
I try sending an SMS from my mobile to the dongle.
I try registering my dongle on the vodafone website. It tells me that a verification code will be sent to me by SMS. Yeah, thanks.
Well, you know. When all else fails, call customer service, right?
At first the girl tells me that the dongle does not have an SMS function. I tell her that ain't so, and that it even comes with SMS software.
Then she tells me that the device is sold strictly for 3G Internet access. I tell her that I asked the guy at the shop explicitly about SMS because that's what I wanted the device for. She says she's sorry.
I ask to have SMS enabled or the device unlocked. She transfers me to support, who confirm my assumptions (i.e. the device can do SMS, but the function is disabled at the carrier level). I ask to have it unlocked, and he
transfers me back to customer service who promptly disconnect my call.
I call again, go through the same song and dance, including hearing once more that the device can't do SMS, and technically can't be unlocked, etc. When I insist this is not true, she puts me on hold for 10 minutes
while she talks to tech support, and finally comes back and says that she can put in a request to have the device unlocked, but she doesn't recommend that because the device has unique Vodafone software and they
can't guarantee its performance once unlocked, and besides it will take a long time because they have to process the request by email.
I kid you not. She said it will take a long time because it goes by email.
I'm still waiting.