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Vodafone won't act on customers' HTC Desires

Video streamers wait patiently for action

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Customer anger over Vodafone UK's unwanted Desire app update is receiving national coverage and has its own Web 2.0 campaign, while other customers who merely wish to stream video are still being asked to wait patiently.

These two issues are of great importance to a small number of customers, but while the Desire update is getting national press coverage the video-streaming issue still hasn't been addressed as it nears its first birthday. Patiently waiting for a response from Vodafone clearly isn't working for those wanting to stream video, but will Web 2.0 work any better for HTC Desire owners?

Last week users of the HTC Desire handset on Vodafone's network were offered an update which many assumed would be the long-awaited upgrade to Android 2.2 (Froyo), but which was instead a package of bookmarks, branding and unwanted apps, many of which can't be removed. Angry users set up a Facebook page and Twitter accounts to draw attention to their plight.

The problem with this kind of Web 2.0 campaign is that transparency works both ways - the Facebook page looks good, but only 308 people like it, while the protesting Twitter feeds can only muster 111 followers between them.

It's hardly likely that Vodafone UK (with its 20 million subscribers) will be swayed by a few hundred tweets, but the Telegraph has picked up the story, so the pressure is on Vodafone to do something.

Politely asking the operator to fix the issue isn't working for those who'd like to stream video over the Vodafone network. Vodafone's block on streaming video from all but a few selected URLs (not domains, only specific addresses) is nearly a year old, and last month the operator took the unusual step of closing all discussion on the issue from its forums. But last week a new topic sprang up, with an official statement from the company:

"We're aware of this issue and are looking into it as a high priority and we'll come back to you soon with an update."

So Vodafone has spent the 11 months since the block was introduced deciding that this is a "high priority" issue. Affected users probably shouldn't hold their breath for a solution.

These are both niche issues, affecting only a small number of users, but it will be interesting to see which approach (Web 2.0 campaign or patient requests) yields results first, if either work at all. ®

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