iPhone 3G finally lands in South Korea

Written by admin on November 28, 2009 – 3:17 pm -

korea-iphone

South Koreans finally get their grubby little hands on Apple’s iPhone, after months of waiting and speculating the iPhone has had a fairly successful launch in The ROK.

I wonder if the fanfare will last though, I suppose someone has to localize it heavily such as CyWorld apps (Korean version of facebook) and have some sort of device that could use the dock connector to allow DMB. DMB or Digital Mobile Broadcasting allows South Koreans to watch TV on their mobiles, GPS navigators and computers. Also curious as to what data plans KT has to offer for the iPhone.

Historically, the smartphone market has not taken off in Korea as in other countries, most of the so called advances in mobile technology as far as South Korea is concerned relates to camera resolution, video and mobile television.


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Posted in Seoul, South Korea, Tech, Telecoms / Internet | No Comments »

Vodafone India – Happy To Help???? go suck eggs!

Written by admin on November 22, 2009 – 3:36 pm -

vodafone-logo

You’d think that a global brand would have the same kind of customer service you’re used to… well think again.

When I first arrived in India, I didn’t think twice about choosing Vodafone as my mobile provider simply because I was really satisfied with them during my stint in New Zealand.

What can I say about Vodafone India? Stay away, far far away… in the event that you require any customer support, I can assure you that you will be met with frustration and grief just dealing with them. Don’t be fooled by their robotic incantations and politeness. The lot of them are mindless drones answering phones constantly putting you on hold to try to resolve issues by asking someone else down the help pipeline.

I’ve recently requested that my iPhone data plan be activated, for starters I should be able to do this by simply sending a text message activating my data plan since I’m on a post paid account. Upon calling customer support, guess what I can’t even do it over the phone. The person tells me I have to personally go to a Vodafone Store to do it. The very next day I go to one near my place and guess what, the customer rep asks me what plan I want and after a few minutes off tapping away at his terminal he tells me it’ll be active after 4 hours. So what gives??? The guy doesn’t ask me for any additional documents. What I don’t understand is why the inconvenience of personally showing up at the store when I could have activated via SMS or over their toll-free line? Strike one for Vodafone.

After 4 hours I restart my phone and also taking out the SIM as instructed by the customer rep. Surprise! it ain’t working. So I call Customer service and I’m greeted by the usual Happy To Help yada yada yada…. on their top level menu you will not find any option to talk to a real person so here’s a little tip. Select 1, then press 1 again for billing, then 9 to speak to a customer rep. Long story short… it’s been two days and my GPRS still isn’t working. The last time I spoke to a customer rep I was promised another 4 hrs before it would be activated.

If a Vodafone exec reads this, at least have a customer ticket number for technical problems, its tiring, frustrating and downright annoying having to repeat the same information and explain a problem over and over again when a new rep picks up that help line.

If you’re thinking about going with Vodafone here in India I suggest you pick another carrier like Airtel.


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Posted in India, Tech, Telecoms / Internet | No Comments »

Honesty is the best policy

Written by admin on November 4, 2009 – 5:20 pm -

I just had to share this story about my first week in Mumbai. Let’s face it, I’m not exactly living in one of the nicest cities. It’s noisy, dusty, hot and humid but one thing I have to say is that the people here are one of the friendliest and warmest people on the planet, not to mention honest. I know that some will scoff at what I just said. Well it’s true and here goes my story.

During my first week I didn’t have a washing machine at the company guest house so I had bring my clothes to the cleaners to be washed and pressed. When I went back to get them 2 days later. The shop keeper handed over Rs 350 telling me that I had left it in my pocket. Although it isn’t much by first world standards, it was decent of him to return it to me.

It didn’t end there, a few weeks later I had to purchase an item at the nearby market place. I tell you this place is chaotic, lots of autorickshaws and people. As I pulled out my wallet to pay, little did I know that another crumpled bunch of bills had fallen out of my pocket to the street. The person next to me tapped my shoulder and pointed to the cash that had fallen out of my pocket.

In my book that’s got to be honesty at play because if the same incident had happened in downtown Los Angeles, I doubt that someone would actually tell me. It’s a good feeling that no matter how hot, dirty and humid here the folks here are top notch.


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Posted in India | 1 Comment »

SIM card Blues

Written by admin on October 27, 2009 – 8:13 pm -

One of the very first things on one’s priority list is to get a local prepaid sim to get in touch with loved ones and friends or to simply make cheap local calls.

It’s a fairly straight forward affair, go to the store to buy a cheap prepaid sim which usually includes a few credits for sending SMS messages right? Wrong! Well not in Mumbai at least. In light of recent terrorist attacks who have used
mobile phones to plan and coordinate the recent Taj attacks, the authorities have now required all communication providers to verify the identities of their subacribers.

As a security measure, one needs to provide a photo, photo id, and proof of billing.

Now here’s where I’ve been running into a bit of trouble. Being ‘Fresh of the boat’ as some would call it, I don’t have any proof that I’m a legal working resident here except my residence alien booklet which surpringsily is not acceptable even thougt it is issued by immigration and the Mumbai police dept.

Acceptable proof of billing are electricity bill, landline telephone bill or lease agreement. Sad to say I don’t have these since my employer shoulders all of these expenses.

The funny thing is that my roaming sim card does work here albeit the high costs of sending SMS or making local calls. Most foreign sims are what you would call disposable which means they can’t be traced. There’s one major loophole for you.

So far the saga continues as my employer has submitted a certification and guarantee that Im employed by them.


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Posted in India | No Comments »

Visa trauma in the Philippines

Written by admin on October 10, 2009 – 9:00 am -

Yet again I have to go through the tedious process of acquiring a new visa evertime I change employers.

The most convenient way would have been to get one while I was still in Seoul. Unfortunately for some bizarre reason the Indian Embassy in Seoul only accepts employment visa applications for Korean nationals. This left me with no other option but to get one from the Philippines.

The Indian Embassy is located inside Dasmariñas Village in Makati. The last time I was there was in 2006 and encountered no real difficulties aside from the fact that it took close to three weeks to process everything.

This time was different altogether, most of the requirements for getting a visa are listed on their website but there was no mention that vehicles will not be allowed entry into Dasmariñas Village. One has to take a shuttle and pay PHP150 on top of that. The problem is that it is assumed that the Dasmariñas Village Association (DVA) does not take into account that people applying will be taking their vehicles and therefore they don’t have any parking area, you’re on your own here.

I’m no prima donna and I don’t have a problem paying fees or following rules that are in place as long as they are efficient. I have a problem when I learn that foreigners are exempted from all this crap, they don’t have to take the shuttle, don’t have to pay. Why is it like this? Why do foreigners get special treatment in my own country. I have yet to see this happen in foreign countries, most of the time, other countries give preferential treatment to their citizens over foreigners, most especially in South Korea from which I had just come from.

And that’s not the end of the story, the PHP150 fee I later learned is for every entry you make, which meant you had to pay when you pick up your passport again. Geez can you fleece your fellow countryman any more than this??? I guess the Dasmariñas Village Association believes that these people will soon be earning dollars anyway.

Whatever it the reasons are, getting visa for most countries in the Philippines will always be a traumatic experience for me.

Indian Embassy Website


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Posted in Seoul | 2 Comments »