Monthly Archives: October 2012

Nokia Lumia 920 exclusive to the EE family

I wasn’t totally surprised but I was saddened to see the news that Nokia’s flagship Windows 8 device is going to be exclusive to the EE family of EE for 4G users and Orange and T-Mobile for 3G users for an intial period.

I have been using a Lumia 800 since they launched earlier this year and I am a big fan of the Windows operating platform so I was looking forward to the next generation device and platform, sadly it is not to be as my contract is with Vodafone.

We hear in the news on a regular basis that Nokia are struggling with their handset shipment numbers and that Q3 sales showed a loss of $754 million alongside a decrease in Lumia shipments of 1.1 million compared to Q2. However, there are mitigating circumstances with these shipment figures as we learnt in Q2 that the current Lumia range running Windows 7.5 would not be able to ugrade to Windows 8 when available, (there will be a 7.8 instead) so maybe Nokia buyers were just holding out for the new devices.

But in the UK market, the network share is fairly even with Vodafone, O2 and the EE Family accounting for approximately a third each, so why limit your flagship model, the one that is needed to “save you” (according to some analysts), to just one part of the market.

The marketing power and ££’s behind the 4G network on EE is driving consumers to EE’s door but it is evident that national coverage to the standard the networks always quote of “98%” is unlikely until 2014, are enough people going to be moving away from Vodafone & O2 in that time frame just to get these handsets?

For Nokia, I fear not, and even if they do, Nokia need to then win the hearts and minds battle against two very strong competitors in the apple iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE.

If it was your business, would you have made the same or a similar decision? I would be interested to hear if so and why.

So I will have to sit and wait for it to become available SIM free, but in this market with new handsets out all the time, my head may get turned by a rival.

Full speed ahead for 4G – well not quite, but better than it was.

The news from the government that discussions with Vodafone and O2 are in flow regarding the roll out of the 4G spectrum is refreshing, I feared a nasty legal battle with restrictions going in place instructed by European courts to prevent any 4G service in the UK until it was an equal playing field.

It would seem that the majority of us may see the faster speeds that 4G is capable of  much sooner than we first expected with the summer of 2013 being touted as a popular timeframe for UK wide availability.

To check out the speeds it is capable of have a look at this video courtesy of the tech team at The Daily Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/9582448/4G-vs-3G-mobile-networks-go-head-to-head-in-iPhone-5-speed-test.html

The other great news is that the 4G spectrum auction is set to raise £2-£4 billion for the exchequer, oh hang, who is in control of that??

 

A lesson in customer service – loyalty rewarded?

How do you reward your loyal customers? The really dedicated ones that have one of nearly all your products? The ones that want to trust you with their financial well being?

Maybe you take them out for lunch on a glorious summers day, by the river, a beautiful bottle of wine and some fine food? Or maybe you choose something to get the adrenaline pumping, like a day at the races, watching the favourites romp home down the stunning Epsom downs?

I would approve of with of these options and I think most people would enjoy one or the other if you offered it to them.

For nearly 10 years now I have banked with Santander UK (obviously formerly Abbey & Abbey National). To give you a quick run down, I have been very loyal to them, every single financial product I need, I have with them, apart from my mortgage, but even then I asked them first but they didn’t want me.

That’s 2 x fee paying current accounts, 3 x savings accounts with money in them, 1 x home insurance, 1 x life insurance, 3 x credit cards within their credit limits and paid on time, 1 x personal loan nearly paid off and always paid on time.

So I think Santander UK do quite well out of me, I would love just one of my customers to have 11 of our products, I am sure they have hundreds of thousands who do.

If I did have one customer like this I would treat them with the high respect that their commitment to my business deserves.

How do Santander UK treat me? I return home to a letter tonight telling me that the interest rate on my credit cards is moving from 16.9% to 29.9% on the 1st December 2012. Is there a huge Bank of England base rate increase scheduled for is date that I haven’t heard about? The economists I listen to tell me they don’t expect a rate increase until 2014 at the earliest.

Now I know many of you will tell me that I should have shopped around along time ago and that there is no need to pay 16.9% anyway, but I was happy with the way I was treated, I thought my loyalty would be rewarded in some way, one day.

I called the number on the letter and I was told,
“you can opt out of this rate increase”
I was intrigued, “really” I said, “how do I do that?”
(Now prepare yourself for this one)
“Well, I can cancel your card now, you won’t be able to use it anymore and any balance outstanding will be converted to a personal loan at 16.9%”

I was speechless, better was to come, I can’t remember the exact phrase but after asking to speak to this persons superior I was told,

If you are not happy with this, speak to your branch, they are the ones who tell us what rate to charge. Or words to that effect.

Now aside from this being absolute BS, I can state that as a fact as my wife is the Service & Control Manager of our local branch, I just couldn’t understand the complete disinterest that Santander UK were showing in helping a loyal customer.

Most of us are in business to make a profit, but the customer MUST come first, I am a very profitable customer to Santander UK right now paying 16.9% because of the other 10 products i have with them, they don’t need to charge me 29.9% to get their margin from me.

It is a lesson for us all to always consider the bigger picture.

I would be keen to hear other people’s experiences of this bank and others before deciding what my next step is.