Southern Phone's declining standards

I have dealt with Southern Phone for a number of years. In general I have found them to be reasonable, fair and perhaps in particular, responsive and helpful when I had questions.

There seemed to be a decline in the quality of their service around the beginning of 2017, but when I requested a $60/month mobile broadband service in early August (2017) I found that service seemed to have virtually stopped all together.

This page written 2017/09/01 – ©
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David K. Clarke)

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The timeline...

About mid to late July 2017
I decided I liked the look of Southern Phone's mobile broadband 10 GB/month, $60/month mobile broadband data service. I phoned SP and was told all I would need was a SIM card to replace the one I had in my present WiFi device. Before ordering I asked what would happen if I went over the 10 GB in a particular month and was told that excess data would be charged at 25 times the $6/GB rate. I thought that this was outrageous, so I didn't order.

Most of my communication with SP was by email because when I phoned I was kept waiting a long time.
About late July
On further inquiry I was told that the above was not true. If and when I reached the 60 GB limit in a particular month a block would be placed on further data until the next month. I downloaded information from SP confirming this.

Early August; my order
In early August 2017 I ordered Southern Phone's 10 GB/month, $60/month mobile broadband data service. This would involve SP sending me a SIM Card to use in my existing mobile broadband device. I requested that it be sent to a PO Box address.

Next day
SP phoned me saying the SIM Card could not be sent to a PO Box address. I told them that this was inconvenient because that was where I needed the service. They replied that the letter containing the SIM Card had to be signed for on receipt and that this could not be done for a PO Box. While I fail to see how this was so, I agreed and gave an alternative address. (More on this below.)

August 24th
Having heard nothing from SP I asked what was going on.

Surely SP could have answered my question without my date of birth and address!
August 25th
I received a reply from SP saying that "We would love to help you out" but for "privacy reasons" they had to have my date of birth and address. I had already given them my account number by email; so they had my email address.

August 25th
I emailed SP my date of birth and address.

August 26th, Saturday
I received the following from SP: "Thanks so much for that information. I have requested an update for you asap, I expect a response on Monday and will get back to you."

August 28th, Monday
Nothing from SP. I recharged my Telstra pre-paid mobile broadband account with $100, not knowning when I was going to get the service from SP.

August 29th
The essence of an email from SP: "Haven't heard from you for a while. If we don't hear from you soon we'll take it that your problem has been resolved."

August 30th
I told them that the issue certainly wasn't resolved and repeated that I was still waiting for the mobile broadband service.

August 31st
From SP: apology for delay; "I have forwarded this to our Provisioning Team to push through the order for you which has now been done."

September 1st, early morning
I wrote this page and informed SP that I had written it.

September 1st, mid-day
Received an email from SP saying that "the SIM Card was sent on 28th of this month [presumably 28th of August]. You should be getting it within the next few days. Once again I apologise for the delays."

September 4th
Received an email from SP saying "If we don't hear back from you in the next day, we'll assume it's safe to mark the ticket as resolved." I replied that I still had not received the SIM Card.

September 5th
The SIM Card arrived. Contrary to the earlier statement (above) from SP the SIM Card envelope did not need to be signed for, so there seems to be no reason why it could not have been sent to my preferred PO Box address. I asked if there would be any delay between the time I activated the SIM card and when I could start using it. I was told it had been pre-activated so I could use it immediately.

September 18th
The remaining credit with Telstra Prepaid ran out so I removed the Telstra SIM card from the dongle and replaced it with the SP Sim card. No internet service. I phoned SP, waited on two ques, was told I needed to contact Telstra. I contacted Telstra (on-line chat), had a long conversation. Back to SP, waited on another que, was told they could do nothing to make the service work. I was told that if I bought a dongle from SP, for another $100, the service should work.

I returned the SIM card to SP and paid to continue with the Telstra service.

September 26th
I received a bill for $98.71 for the $60/month service which I had not been able to use at all. Presumably the extra $38.71 was some sort of set-up fee.