I did it primarily because Vodafone’s coverage at my house in Wellington was so poor. Every time the mobile rang I would have to run upstairs with it and get out onto the deck to hear the caller. Vodafone say they are going to do some more “infill” of their urban Wellington coverage next year; I can’t wait that long.
So, when Telecom came up with its $600 iPhone offer I paid attention. The offer – which expires at the end of this month – is that, if you have an iPhone 3G or 3GS that you have bought from Vodafone NZ or the Apple website in NZ, you can take it onto a specific XT plan and get a $600 sweetener from Telecom, which in most cases would exceed the cost of breaking whatever plan you are on with Vodafone. And, even with 1G of data added to the Telecom plan, it’s cheaper than the $130 iPhone plan I used to be on.
The process of changing was easy. I took my phone and a recent bill into the Telecom shop and it took about ten minutes. The phone changed over a few hours later. Same number, same phone, just a new network. To get the data working I had to upload the XT carrier pack to the phone. This is slightly fiddly but well-documented at iPhonewzealand.
My iPhone performs very well on the new network. That’s what I was after and I haven’t been disappointed so far. I’m getting four or five bars of signal everywhere I go in Wellington, which often wasn’t the case on Vodafone. That’s partly down to the frequency choice that Telecom has made – the iPhone uses 2100 and 850Mhz, which is what the XT network uses. XT is mostly 850 which penetrates buildings better. By contrast, Vodafone is mostly 2100 in urban areas, and elsewhere its 900 which the iPhone can’t use at all, so you drop to 2G as soon as you leave a city.
Finally, all my iPhone goodies just work, including mirabile dictu tethering. That means using the phone as a modem for my laptop. It’s massively useful, and gives me coverage even inside large buildings, which my old Vodafone Connect card never managed. I’ll be canceling the plan on that card soon.
All in all – this is very impressive. I get a faster, more useful phone, a reduced monthly bill, and some cash in hand. What’s not to like?