Vodafone Music has disastrous relaunch
Near-total promotional clusterf*ck
Vodafone's free music promotion last week saw overloaded servers, compatibility problems and customers getting billed - all of which bodes badly for the operator's upcoming 360 service.
Vodafone Music relaunched on Friday with a new client application and a promotional offer of ten free tracks - at least for customers who had the patience to keep trying to attach to the overloaded servers, had installed the right version of Adobe's Flash software, and weren't among the unfortunate few who got billed for their freebies.
Vodafone told us that the overloading was down to the service getting more traffic than usual on Friday, around 20 times apparently, though given the free music offer that could, perhaps, have been predicted.
The El Reg freetard desk managed to get nine of its entitlement downloaded before midnight, when the offer expired, thanks to broken connections and obscure errors:
Clearly the wrong version of Flash here - or is it?
Those errors persisted over the weekend, and when we took the matter up with Vodafone on Monday we were told that a new version of Adobe's Flash was needed: clearly we should have guessed.
But not everyone had such an easy fix, and the company has been crediting some customers with £5 to make up for the inconvenience of being unable to download their free music as promised.
Teething trouble with a new product is fair enough - but failing to predict heavy traffic generated by promotional offers, and being unable to generate useful error messages both augur ill for a company that sees service provision as its future. ®
Firmware upgrades slow too
Some months ago Nokia's software told me there is a firmware upgrade available for your Vodafone mobile it but then the 'make sure you don't disconnect as you could turn your phone into a brick' type message keeps changing to an error message when you try to upgrade.
In the end I had to disconnect - fortunately the phone still works, and on checking this out with Vodafone, I find out that whilst Nokia have upgraded the firmware on the 5800, Vodafone had to modify the firmware first before we can have it so Nokia's software shouldn't really tell me there is an upgrade available. As far as I can tell, this involves putting a logo on the loading screen and making sure you can only use the phone with a Voda sim.
From what I gather other companies have have sorted this upgrade out and even Vodafone in other countries as well as PAYG UK customers can upgrade their 5800 firmware. However, some months on we still wait for this upgrade. Checking the dates of the last firmware release and Voda contract UK customer's release, I see it took them some months before.
All this faffing about with music and other activities probably explains why their development team have had no time to devote to their current customer base.
Agreed about Vodafone's website.
It is an utter mess. Impossible to find anything you're looking for on there.
I must agree with twelvebore (first comment) here. I think Vodafone has quite bad website and indeed their account management side is on of the worst I've been using so far. Although I only keep a copule of pay-as-you-go numbers with them, and maybe pay monthly users get better experience (doubt it), I can already tell it's a piece of crap.
T-Mobile, on the other hand, is constantly improving its My T-Mobile section, and although it's not perfect, I'm getting nicely surprised every now and then when I can see new features implemented on the site...