FrontlineSMS

FrontlineSMS let users send, receive and manage SMS over a mobile network.

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,
London).
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.
Nothing.
.................. i.e. message pending, forever.
I look around and notice that the dongle has installed its own SMS tool, so I try that.
Nothing.
.................. 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.
Nothing.
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.

Views: 200

Tags: dongle, vodafone

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Comment by Yishay Mor on March 18, 2010 at 6:13am
thanks Alex. I guess should have gone with 3.. my vodafone dongle seems to be a similar device, so its not a hardware issue, just locked by the network. I'm trying to get them to unlock it but it only gets more amusing with each passing email.
Comment by Alex Anderson on March 17, 2010 at 2:40pm
Sounds like a frustrating day! We've got a Huawei E1550 USB dongle here on 3UK, and seems to send messages OK. Haven't used it a huge amount, so can't vouch for long-term reliability. I think they cost £20-30...
Comment by Peter Burgess on March 17, 2010 at 11:30am
Dear Yishay Mor
I sympathise ... there was a time when technical support and customer service had some meaning ... but that went away a long time ago. The role of the carriers in making modern technology work is a really scary matter not much discussed ... not to mention their role in either making the technology economical or not! I have aborted some of my efforts simply because the normal tariffs of the carriers would bankrupt the initiative before it started!
Peter Burgess
Community Analytics (CA)
Comment by Yishay Mor on March 3, 2010 at 11:11am
FYI, here's the complete log of my transactions with Vodafone's support. Happy bunny I am not.

Webform
reply-to ccare.webmails@help.vodafone.co.uk
to yishaym@gmail.com
date 26 February 2010 14:56
subject Re: WRT135 urgently need to unlock my dongle & enable SMS [#2183517]
hide details 26 Feb (5 days ago)

Hi Yishay,
Thanks for your email to the Web Relations Team.
Having checked your airtime service I can see that it's already provisioned for the receipt of SMS, however, I'm afraid that it's not possible for our PAYU dongles to facilitate the sending of SMS.
In order to arrange for it to be unlocked could you come back to us with IMEI of your dongle and we'll get the unlocking code for as soon as possible?
Many thanks,
Lee
Web Relations Team
Vodafone UK



--Original Message--
From: yishaym@gmail.com
Date: 26/02/2010 12:22:27
To: ccare.webmails@help.vodafone.co.uk
Subject: WRT135 urgently need to unlock my dongle & enable SMS

Title: Mr
Name: Yishay Mor
Phone make and model: Huawei K3565 dongle
Message:
I purchased a dongle to use it for sending and receiving SMS. I have been informed by your support that this feature is disabled. I need to enable it. Also, I need to unlock the dongle so I can use it on other networks abroad.

2010-02-26 12:12:41 : Escalated : Send us an email
2010-02-26 12:21:47 : Shown : Suggested articles


rom Webform
reply-to ccare.webmails@help.vodafone.co.uk
to yishaym@gmail.com
date 3 March 2010 14:50
subject Re: WRT135 urgently need to unlock my dongle & enable SMS [#2186770]
hide details 14:50 (1 hour ago)


Hi Yishay

Thanks for your email.
The Pay As You Go modems are not enabled for the text messaging facility. This isn't something that we can change for you.
If you would like to unlock your modem I can request this for you. As you have had it for less than 12 months the cost to have it unlocked is £20. If you would like me to request this code for you will need to top up your account with this amount and then let me know and I'll request the code for you.
All the best
Kirsty
Web Relations Team
Vodafone UK




--Original Message--
From: yishaym@gmail.com
Date: 27/02/2010 06:37:27
To: ccare.webmails@help.vodafone.co.uk
Subject: WRT135 urgently need to unlock my dongle & enable SMS

Title: Mr
Name: Yishay Mor
Phone make and model: Huawei K3565 dongle
Message:
I purchased a dongle to use it for sending and receiving SMS. I have been informed by your support that this feature is disabled. I need to enable it. Also, I need to unlock the dongle so I can use it on other networks abroad.

the dongle's IMEI is: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
and S/N is: XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
the SIM card has this number printed on it: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

I did try sending an SMS to it, but that didn't seem to work.

2010-02-27 06:35:29 : Escalated : Send us an email
2010-02-27 06:36:56 : Shown : Suggested articles
Comment by Yishay Mor on February 25, 2010 at 1:30pm
thanks Ken.

I'll wait until tomorrow and if they don't shape up I'll return it and try another network. This time I'll take the laptop with me and test it in the shop. Or I might go to the local market stall and see if they have an unlocked one.
Comment by kiwanja on February 25, 2010 at 12:41pm
Well, pretty amazing. If you can take the dongle back I'd just take it in and ask for your money back. You're allowed to do this if you've been misinformed, and it's the same/next day.

I've not tried buying from a store before, but GSM modems are GSM modems - can't believe what they're telling you. Of course, none of this is any use for you on Monday, unfortunately.

Let us know what happens...

Ken

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