Sharp End: Dealer tips and data view

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“O2 is taking the mickey. Compare the £33.51 iPhone tariff to say, T-Mobile, which is giving unlimited calls, unlimited texts and unlimited internet for £35”

My Lookout
A little tip for those of you who like to help your customers out by backing up their phones or transferring information from one make and model of phone to another when they upgrade.

Lookout is a totally free web-based service for most smartphones that will allow remote backups, anti-virus and firewall protection.

The user simply navigates to mylookout.com from their smartphone and they are directed to download a small software application that sits in the background and, once a day (or manually), scans for viruses and backs up phone information such as music, pictures, documents, contacts, texts and call logs.

The service works on BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android and certain Symbian smartphones, and is totally free to use. Depending what type of phone the software is installed on, there are other features available like Locate, Scream and Nuke.

Locate will use the network location of a phones GPS to show the user from their web interface where their phone was last located and they can also select to send a ‘ping’ to locate their phone immediately.

Selecting ‘Scream’ from the control panel will send a loud siren sound to the user’s phone even if it is in silent mode to aid in finding it if mislaid.

Meanwhile, ‘Nuke’ will delete all data in the event of a user’s phone being permanently lost or stolen. Not all extra features are available depending on the operating system of the phone it is installed on.

I have used this service for a few weeks now and it works really well.

It’s very similar to the Microsoft Mybackup service but storage is increased to 2GB and there is no extra charge for the extra Missing Phone features. As well as being a great backup and anti-virus tool, this service is a great way to get customer information from one smartphone to another.

0800 buster
Another very useful tip/service for your customers is 0800buster.co.uk. This service allows users to call freephone 0800 numbers from their mobiles using their inclusive call allowance rather than paying a premium that they would normally pay.

Users simply dial a standard 01226 number and then enter the 0800 number they’d like to call followed by the # key, and they will be connected to their number and the call cost will simply be deducted from their inclusive call allowance if they have any.

If they have no allowance then the call will be charged at standard landline rates rather than the premium the networks currently charge for calling 0800 numbers. The service only works for standard 0800 freephone numbers and not 0870/1 numbers. But the service is free to use so nothing lost.

Dealer view on data
Now that Apple’s latest incarnation of the iPhone has been announced, the iPhone 4, it appears as if the networks are taking the opportunity to start removing the unlimited data plans associated previously with the iPhone as well as other phones.

O2 and Orange are no longer to offer unlimited data plans for the iPhone 4. O2 for example will now be offering a measly 500MB of data for business users that commit to a 24-month contract paying £33.51 plus VAT per month, with just 100 texts and 300 cross-network minutes.

This rises to 750MB for £38.51 plus VAT per month with 1GB data costing £65 per month.

O2 is taking the mickey with these new iPhone tariffs. Compare the new £33.51 O2 tariff to say, T-Mobile, which is giving unlimited calls, unlimited texts and unlimited internet for £35 per month.

Admittedly the T-Mobile tariff is not for the iPhone but what difference does that make? The networks are trying to take advantage of the hype behind Apple products and charge extortionate rates for a product that technically is lagging behind the competition.

The iPhone is undoubtedly a well-designed product using quality materials and a quality build but when Apple make a big song and dance of such “new” and exciting features as video calling, sorry Wi-Fi-only ‘FaceTalk’, a full seven years behind its commercial debut – and failure – it ticks me off big time.

There is one good thing to come out of the iPhone and the fact the data plans are now to be restricted – maybe now the networks will actually stop advertising “Unlimited Data” that has never really been unlimited at all anyway?

Let’s hope now it has been confirmed that all the UK networks will be stocking the iPhone 4, there will finally be some competition regarding the iPhone in the UK and the price of the device may actually start coming down.

But I don’t think in reality it is going to happen as I’m sure Apple is still holding the reigns regarding pricing and that the networks remain in fear of losing rights to it, and so will not jeopardise their supply of the iPhone.

This article originally appeared in Mobile News issue 466 (June 21, 2010).

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