14 Jul 2011

The Rogers > Telus > Rogers Switch

Last year around this time, I lost my handy and aging Nokia 6610 on Rogers. It was gsm, worked everywhere and was impossible to break –  all in all, a very well built phone.

The loss of my phone, combined with Rogers poor customer service, gave me the impetus to switch to Telus. I picked out a new Android phone and HTC Hero.

Telus didn’t update the phone to 2.1 for nearly ten months. When I bought the phone, 2.1 was already being rolled out to other Telus phones. This may be an HTC problem but ultimately, it’s Telus that I bought the contract from. The phone was a bit slow and I was sure the update would fix that because the talk around 2.2 was that is was much faster. People seemed like they were happy with it. Telus had already been on record saying 2.1 was coming in the next quarter, right from the beginning. Needless to say the 2.1 update was a bit better but not 2.2.

A co-worker and I bought Telus phones in the summer and by October we started having problems receiving calls. We had good service in our office/home up to that point. The phones showed two or three bars of signal but when someone called, the phone wouldn’t ring. This was less than ideal for someone who’s business entails that they must always be on call. We talked to Telus, installed a cell phone booster and did just about everything you could imagine to get those phones working.

Telus told us that the problems with service were due to the severity of the winter, and that problems were to be expected. I totally agreed with this. However, we found out this spring that Telus downgraded the network exactly around that time because of issues with their new rollout. We spent literally hours and hours with Telus trying to deal with winter weather that at best was a minor factor in our problems. Telus let us burn that time without so much as a peep from anyone in technical support.

Eventually I got a loaner phone on the CDMA network and put the HTC Hero away. I needed a phone that worked for calls. I didn’t need a phone with data capabilities,  I just needed a phone that worked. But this loaner phone had an old battery and died a quick death.  It was then that I decided to fix the problem once and for all.

First, I rooted the phone and upgraded to 2.2 myself. I had to do a lot of digging online to find the right collection of instructions.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=645253

I can’t say how impressed I am with the speed of the phone with this update. All signs of sluggishness are gone and everything is snappy and responsive.

I unlocked the phone and set up Rogers pay-as-you-go on it. Instantly the phone that had a bad signal and couldn’t receive calls was up and running again. Calls came through even in the dungeon-like basement. Rogers (as I have come to learn) has their tower on the hill facing town, while Telus has theirs on the hill above Nelson. In other words, Rogers has a clear sight line to every home in Nelson, while Telus probably has at least ten trees between it and every home in Nelson.

My conclusion is that in the last twelve months I’ve had to go way beyond what one would reasonably expect to do in order to get a product working, one that Telus sold me on contract to work. I tried numerous times to return the phone because of the service problems but was denied because Telus would not acknowledge that anything was wrong. At the time I didn’t know the problem wasn’t just winter weather. Further from a simple hardware perspective, with 2.2 running on this phone, now this phone needs 2.2 to work properly, for Telus/HTC whomever not to have rolled this update out when it came out ten months ago is disheartening. Neither of these companies give one shake of a fist to the quality of the product they’re making or selling and in regards to this model they both dropped the ball.

My next step is to recover some of the time I’ve lost and dissolve the Telus contract in small claims court.

For a company to sell you a phone, give you thirty days to trial the service then drag it’s feet upgrading the software on the hardware that the phone needs and then downgrading the network in the area without notice or acknowledgement is unconscionable. At that point, any agreement I made with Telus was null and void because Telus wasn’t even trying to keep up their end of the bargain.

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