2008/04/06

My rant on XL BlackBerry service!

It's been more than two months now since I've activated my BIS on XL. I have been through some personal trials and tribulation with the service during that time.

I'm beginning to seriously doubt that I'll be staying much longer with XL and switch to either one of the other two, Indosat or Telkomsel. Now if only I can just get my nerve to be patient until the end of my billing cycle (stupid XL is the only BIS provider in Indonesia that doesn't pro-rate the service fee!)

Let me begin the story of my frustration with why all of this came about. No, wait. How about if I get started with a little primer on how cellular network works, in the case of GSM.

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WARNING on GEEKY/TECHNICAL CONTENT: what I'm about to write is a bit technical, if you're not interested just skip the next few paragraphs.

In cellular phone technology, there is what you called base transceiver station, BTS for short. They are strategically located to cover an area so it provides wireless mobile services. Handsets must register themselves to the network via BTS.
GSM uses TDMA, Time Division Multiple Access, a multiplexing technique that slices a channel based on time. So a given channel can handle multiple phone conversation and separate each conversation by slight time delay.
GSM in itself wasn't designed for data transmission, for that GPRS was created. It was a half stop measure until they can get data services on the next generation technology. Now to get GPRS working on the GSM network, it needs to share the channels available on the BTS. They have a builtin mechanism to load balance channels between GSM and GPRS.

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Now back to my rant...

So for the past few months, GSM providers in Indonesia have been doing tarriff war in the prepaid market. Like real life war, there are always casualities. In this war their fighting the casualities are postpaid customers. Postpaid customers only make up a small percentage of customers for providers in Indonesia. It's not easy to become one, you need to register, have financial background check, etc. And to have BlackBerry service you need to become postpaid customer. Unlike postpaid, to become prepaid customer you only have to buy a 'perdana' card and refill your credit anytime.

Yet postpaid customers are treated like second class citizen by the providers. First we don't get the benefits of lower tarriff from the providers. Second we get substandard service because of the influx of new prepaid customers and higher usage; the providers don't do capacity planning homework. Third, we don't get the simple perks like free activation of international roaming, free caller ID blocking, like prepaid customer. If we want to have those, we need to signup, put up a deposit and pay monthly fee.

Out of the three big GSM providers in Indonesia, XL is the most aggresive one in this tarriff war. Because of it, it's network gets hit the hardest. The load balancing between GSM and GPRS channels in it's BTS' causes BlackBerry service get distrupted very often. The last few weeks has been really horrendous experience bordering insanity.

My handheld would shift in and out of GPRS service for no apparent reason. Rendering my BlackBerry service useless. I've ask their customer service rep about it, and the best answer they gave me was I need to just restart my handheld because it's a problem with BlackBerry services from RIM.

I know BlackBerry handheld is not perfect and has some issues, but I doubt RIM designed such a bad product so I have to restart it multiple time in a single day. And the issues I'm having are known to happen with XL customers, not Indosat nor Telkomsel.

This answer, honestly makes me chuckle while be pissed at the same time. First, I have an 8320 with wifi capabilities which when I'm in wifi coverage my BlackBerry service is just fine. Second, it's an assault on my intellegence. They think their customers are just plain stupid and they can get away it.

So if any of you work for or represent XL read this, better get your act together and improve your service!!! You are about to loose a customer. Yes you might think it's only one customer, but realize that I'm not the only disgruntled customer. And I'll make sure for any potential customer who are thinking about signing up for your service know how bad is your service and should just consider the competitions, Indosat or Telkomsel.

Enough said...

2008/04/04

Talk about somebody that knows absolutely nothing, yet he's opinionated!

So Indonesia's parliament just recently ratified a new law governing electronic transaction and internet use in Indonesia. One of the provision is making illegal to acces pornographic content in Indonesia (regardless of origin of the website). Some Indonesians are up in arms rejecting this law since it's actually a pretty hard and almost 'impossible' to enforce plus it's money better spent in other public services. Not many Indonesians have access to internet!

Some hackers take this matter into their own hand and defaced the Depkominfo (Indonesia's ministry of communication and information) website. Not that I condone the action but an action nevertheless. This action generates a lot of response from the community.

One in particular caught my interest, Roy Suryo, who was interviewed by the media, Indocommit.com. This person is widely believed in Indonesia to be the authority/expert in telematika (information and communication technology). Yet he is making some stupid and uneducated statements about things that he's supposed to be an expert of.

He kept referring people who defaced the website as blogger (???) and refer us, general internet user, as hacker. What the F**k??? He goes on to put on a smear campaign against an Indonesian blogger, Enda Nasution, by accusing him and his group as the mastermind behind the attack on Depkominfo website.

I don't have anything personally against this guy but I do have some reservation about his comments and opinion. I don't think he's an expert/authority in anything. And this comments he's making in the media just shows me that he's not a qualified guy to make such statements.

Head on to http://bloggerdanhacker.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/mulutmu-harimaumu/ to read about excerpts of his comments and the debunking opinions. Please beware that it's in Indonesian.

Note:
Thank you for avianto for bringing this up on twitter. Interesting read :)