My New Toy: Nokia N79 – or why FETNET sucks?

With Chinese New Year just a few weeks ago, I’ve been pretty tardy in posting on this blog. I’m not sure why. Perhaps my motivation levels aren’t as high as they have been. But to spice things up, I bought myself a new N79 Nokia mobile phone.

My first reaction is that I was surprised how MUCH mobile phones had changed in the last four years. This new N79 can do a whole bunch of things that I only heard about: it’s got an MP3 player with FM broadcast, tethering to your notebook, additional applications can be added (still no Skype), a fairly decent camera, and a huge learning curve for me.

I still get flustered when the thing rings, and I don’t know which button to hit or I hit the wrong one inadvertently. Big surprises have been the quality of the sound, the ease of use, and the simplicity of connecting. Big negatives have been the complexity of the phone, the habits of my previous phone, and the slight instability of the PC software.

Why FETNET (??) really sucks?…

I must admit that I was looking for a new phone for a while, and had intended to approach my existing mobile carrier (FETNET) for a new phone, a broadband wireless device, an ETC (highway toll card) and an additional phone line for my wife. But they were so rude. I carefully picked out a Nokia phone with their help, but they wanted me to pay an additional deposit for a new line AND buy the broadband wireless unit. To which, I guffawed loudly and said no chance. I was a customer for their company for 10 years! And they treated me as if I had just walked in off the street. I thought that was hugely unfair and discriminating. Hugely.

Wow! So I canceled my existing contract with them, went to Taiwan Mobile, and bought a better phone, an additional line for my wife, scrapped the mobile broadband since tethering worked, forwent the ETC card, and signed up for broadband. Given the costs of acquiring customers in Taiwan’s very competitive mobile phone industry (with huge saturation for the market), I was absolutely shocked that they would just let me walk out the door. They really lost out on that! I would have been quite happy to pay for mobile broadband, an additional phone line, and a new phone there and then. Instead, I went to Taiwan mobile. That cost FETNET at least. NT$55,000 over 2 years, plus a huge loss of goodwill, and some bad publicity.

Loss of business:

  • 1. mobile phone: NT$10000
  • 2. 24 months x est. calling NT$600
  • 3. 24 months x catch NT$399
  • 4. international calls on one phone (minimum: NT$3000 pa)
  • 5. 24 months x base phone plan (NT$188)
  • 6. FETNET ADSL access x 24 (est. NT$360) for our business.

But I wonder if they really care that much. They will probably never even read this story. One thing is sure: in business, be careful who you make things difficult for. Those customers might just turn around and open their wallet to your competitor!

So now I’m on Taiwan Mobile: and I can honestly say – they’ve been really helpful with my learning curve. Far more so than FETNET ever were. But the irony is: in the Taiwan Mobile store, I talked to the staff member there helping me with my application (former FETNET customer)… her friend came in (also former FETNET customer)… my best friend in Taiwan (former FETNET customer)… They treat their old customers so poorly… perhaps that’s why churn rate of customers at FarEasTone is so low.

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