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Pogo bounces users to GPRS

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Update Pogo, the UK wireless PDA maker, today told subscribers that it was withdrawing GSM connectivity: from here on in it's a GPRS-only world. Fair dos, but the company is making the switch with just one day's notice.

This has irritated some: Andy Doran, for example, writes in NewsWireless.net: "I'm sad and have to try and figure out how I can afford a GPRS contract." The whole " Raison d'etre of Pogo was," he notes "to provide web access at 3G speeds over a GSM connection and without the costs of a 3G handset package.

Others are less circumspect: on the UK Car Importing and Pogo Portal forum (yes, really), 'Mike' says:

"Ok so 3 months notice would have been good
1 months notice painful but acceptable
1 week taking the piss
1 day beyond description"

There are more comments here.

Update Ed Moore, CTO of Carphone Warehouse, says the company is working with Pogo to restore a dial-up service through its Fresh ISP, in a posting on the Pogo Portal. Fresh subscribers to Pogo will be refunded for the time the service is down, he adds.

And Pogo CEO Ran Mokady has issued a statement, posted on the Pogo Portal, and published here in full.

All,

First let me apologise for the way we have communicated the interruption of service. There is clearly no excuse for failing to communicate what was happening and why. I agree completely with those of you who have described this as unacceptable, and accept responsibility for Pogo failing to act in the way that it should have and that you have come to expect from Pogo.

When I became CEO of Pogo Mobile Solutions just over a month ago, I had made it a priority to restore the end user service. Despite (as a new company) having no legal obligation to do so, we spent substantial time, effort and money in finding a quick solution to restoring the service, and indeed managed to do so within a small number of days.

The solution we came up with was always going to be temporary, but we were expecting to have until the end of January to find a more permanent solution, and were actively working towards such a solution.

It was only earlier this week that we found out that certain circumstances outside our control would mean that our temporary solution would no longer be operational as of today.

The same circumstances have also affected our internal systems, which as you can imagine has caused us substantial inconvenience over the past week.

The above is no excuse for not communicating the status to you at the earliest opportunity but may help to explain the level of difficulty we were facing over the last week and why the miscommunication has happened.

As for what happens next:

We have now found a way to restore the GPRS service within the next 48 hours. This is the information that Ben was trying to communicate in his post, and you should follow the information in that earlier post if you need to access the GPRS service.

For CSD access: having progressed some way towards an original plan of providing the service, and having already incurred substantial cost in providing the temporary service, we now have to look at alternatives. The solution, if there is one, must provide both a viable service to you and a commercially viable solution for us. At this stage Pogo is not looking for a solution that makes us a profit, but rather a solution that allows us to simply break even.

This is not simple to achieve, but we are making active efforts to find a solution and I promise that we will keep you updated on our progress.

By way of apology, and in the hope of mitigating some of the inconvenience caused to you, Pogo is offering all of the existing GPRS users, and any of you that have an active account with us who choose to convert to GPRS and continue to use the service, the guarantee of free access to the service for the lifetime of your device. In other words we guarantee not to charge you for the provision of GPRS service to your existing device for as long as we continue to provide the service. The only charges you will incur will be the charges charged by your network service provider. To qualify for the offer you will need to convert to, and access the service over GPRS, at any time over the next 3 months. We will do the rest.

I will at the same time ensure that we keep you up to date on our efforts to restore a dialup service.

Finally, I would like to say that over the short period I have been involved with Pogo I have become a great believer in the technology and its ability to form the basis of some very exciting products in the future. This is a great credit to the team here at Pogo and their ability and dedication, but is also in no small part a credit to you, the users, for your willingness to adopt the technology, provide feedback and use the products. We have a whole range of new ideas for the future and will continue to value your feedback moving forward if indeed you choose to remain part of the Pogo community.

Thank you for your support so far, and once again my apologies for the way in which we have failed you over the last few days. ®

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