Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Here we are again - MTN fails once more

My dedicated reader (I assume there's only one of you who generates all my traffic) will recall an incident approximately 22 months ago when I had a bad experience trying to upgrade my phone to the HTC Desire, thanks to some ineptitude on the part of MTN.

It was frustrating and unnecessary, but it worked out okay in the end. I eventually got the phone I wanted, and began my journey as an Android user. All sins were forgiven and all was right with the world.

There's an even better sequel to the story: in July last year the Desire was stolen (booo!). Insurance replaced it with an even more awesome HTC Sensation, which I'm still rocking hard today (yay!).

Ain't she purdy?
A thought occurred to me a few days ago: odds are I'll be due for upgrade again soon. I should probably start my research.

The first step in my research was to check the date of my upgrade. Luckily MTN's (otherwise useless) MTNDirect site has a little thingy that tells you when your next upgrade is due... and I was told that mine is in two weeks!

I did a happydance.

Why was I so happy? Because this meant I got to upgrade to the Galaxy Nexus! I saw one in real life for the first time at a conference last week. It climbed in through my eyes, and made little purring noises in my heart.

It says "Prrrrrr"
I've always wanted to own a Nexus phone (Google's line of "pure" Android devices), and this is the first time I've been due for a new phone around the time a Nexus was to be released in South Africa. So I did some more Googling to find the exact release date (to see if I'd need to wait a week or two, or whatever) and to my horror, I found this.

“At this stage MTN has not enlisted the Galaxy Nexus, but as per our evaluation process, will continue to review possible enlisting – more so in 2012 with the increasing traction of Android,” said Mike Fairon, general manager for product innovation and development at MTN SA.

MTN will not be carrying the Galaxy Nexus. You know who will be carrying the Galaxy Nexus is South Africa? Every. Other. Network. Seriously. Even Virgin Mobile (do they even count as a network?) will be getting some stock in. MTN, in all their wisdom, will not.


So now I'm faced with a dilemma.

Having a Galaxy Nexus is about ten million times more important to me that having anything to do with MTN. The only reason I'm reluctant to move is that I've had bad experiences with that in the past, and I dread the drama that will ensue if I try to port my number to a proper, modern, forward-thinking network like Cell C.

So, Mike Fairon is clearly an incompetent fool misinformed with no sense of market direction: refusing to stock the flagship Ice Cream Sandwich phone in their range. Also, he is quite probably the devil.

Mike Fairon - probably

Oh, and to add insult to injury, I tweeted a couple of questions to @MTNsouthafrica about it, trying to get some clarity on things. Two days now and no response. Awesome customer service, guys.

So now what? I'm basically screwed. I can "upgrade" next week and get, like, a Galaxy S II... which has almost the same specs as my Sensation. Or I wait until my contract expires in a couple of months, and run the risk of falling foul (once again) of the anticompetitive (and probably illegal) number-porting policies these thugs employ.

I used to like being with MTN. I signed on with them eleven years ago because they were the forward-thinking bunch: they sold me a Nokia 6310 when Vodacom was still pretending HSCSD was lame. (It is lame by today's standards, but in 2001 it was amazeballs)

I guess that happens to large corporates: they lose focus, lose touch with the market and their customers... then they lose market share, and eventually lose their business. Probably best to jump ship now, I guess.


  1. I have been eagerly waiting since Nov for my Nexus. It's been a hard wait and there is still no concrete news from Vodacom when they officially are launching it.

    1. That sucks. At least it looks like Vodacom will be getting it, even if they're cagey about exactly when.