After quite a few years of reliable use, my iPhone 5S finally broke down on me. There were some odd scratches or particles inside the camera mechanism in the phone that caused large blotches to appear in all of my pictures. It was really annoying because I love using my phone camera while I’m out.
I did some research online and the problem seems to be caused by dust or impact damage to the camera lens. My iPhone wasn’t new, by any means. It had suffered more than a few drops and it was out of warranty. Regardless, Apple won’t repair damage to the camera in-store. People who had this issue were given new phones instead if they were within the warranty period. Even if Apple did repair damaged camera mechanisms, I wonder if it would have been worth it? A brand new iPhone 5S is $99 on Virgin Mobile. The repair might have been as much or more.
Not quite ready to spend a lot of money on a new phone, I tried carrying around an actual camera with me for a while. Besides being extra weight, bulky, and more difficult to use (so many settings and stuff), it felt like I was whipping out and wielding a rotary phone. Mostly, it was just an awkward experience and the pictures the camera took weren’t that good anyway. Even the iPhone 5S did a better job. I wasn’t really surprised though. The camera I was trying to use as an alternative was a few years older than the 5S.
I finally caved and decided it was time to purchase a new phone. After much consideration, I decided to jump ship and switch to a Samsung Galaxy S7 running Android Nougat 7.0. I think what finally sold me on the device was the water and dust proofing (so I wouldn’t have the camera problem I had with the iPhone 5S) and the excellent camera. I’m also still butthurt about Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. I don’t think it was worth it to get a vibrating non-button home button. They’re giving less and asking for more than a viable competitor.
It took me about 10-12 hours to install and log into my favorite apps (or find alternatives in the Google Play Store), customize the launcher, set wallpapers, and just get comfortable with the device. But then I hit a snag. I realized I wasn’t receiving text messages that were sent to me by people using iPhones.
I did some research online to see how to get the problem fixed. I had a feeling it had something to do with iMessages, and I was right. The top search results recommended doing things like sending text messages to random numbers with a STOP command, but that didn’t seem to do anything. Also, the article was pretty old and dealt with a previous version of iOS.
I did some tinkering on my own and realized the solution in iOS 10 is pretty simple:
On your iPhone, open Settings < Messages, and toggle off iMessage. If you have an iPad like I do, toggle off iMessage there as well. Also, in the next menu down, toggle off FaceTime.
Then you just have to wait. I managed to get this far at around 2 AM. By 8:30 am, I was receiving text messages from iPhone users again.
As far as the Samsung Galaxy S7 goes, it was worth it. It’s an awesome phone, especially coming from an iPhone 5S. I’m happy with the camera too. I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to test it yet, but so far I’m happy with how it performs. There are no filters on the photos below:
Continuing right along with my problems with Globe, I’d like to give a few examples of why Globe Telecom sucks horribly when it comes to customer service. As a service provider, customer service is an area that Globe should be excelling in, but they obviously don’t know the first thing about taking care of customers. I’ll just give my examples in order of when I experienced them.
When we were using Globe Tattoo’s USB sticks for Internet access, there were times when the network would go down or it would be so horribly slow that it literally couldn’t load pages, even though it would connect you and debit your account. This would lead to lost money either way, because even if you registered for all-day surfing, how can you surf all day and get what you paid for if the network is down?
So, we would call up the Customer Service hotline and ask for a refund since we weren’t able to use the service. WITHOUT FAIL the CSR we talked to would always tell us that they were going to put us on hold to check the status of the network in our area, then come back and tell us the network was working fine, as if they were trying to say the fault is somehow ours and they don’t want to take responsibility for it.
I mean, hello! The network isn’t fine! If it was, we wouldn’t be wasting our time calling the hotline over 5 or 10 pesos.
It usually required an epic amount of arguing to get that small refund. Every, single, time.
When we wanted to sign up for WiMax, we went to the Globe store at SM Taytay and talked to a CSR there. We agreed that we wanted the service and we were asked for contact details. We were told that they would check to see if there was coverage in our area and then get back to us.
My first problem with this is, why can’t they check on the spot if an area has coverage? Shouldn’t that data be on hand? Should a person have to physically go out to a location every single time someone wants service and check? How inefficient is that?
My second problem is that they never did get back to us. After waiting for 3 weeks we wound up using an authorized agent and distributor to get our WiMax.
Why is it that the CSRs never update account notes? If I have an ongoing problem, even after they pull up the account and say they’ve reviewed the details, they never know what’s going on and I have to re-explain something to them from the start. On top of that, I have to explain it multiple times in multiple ways because they never seem to understand what I’m talking about. I get the feeling that I understand their services better than they do. These CSRs really need to be retrained, or to get some training to begin with.
I’m mostly referring to my on-going issue with WiMax here, which still isn’t resolved by the way, since the technicians that were supposedly coming out to make a house call never bothered to show up. I’ve made multiple calls to their office about slow speeds and every single time I talk to them I have to start from the beginning. Looks like I’ll be doing it again shortly, and now in addition to have to re-explain myself, I’ll have to complain about how the technicians blew us off and didn’t show up for the appointments that they set.
Globe CSRs will always try to make you feel like a liar and a thief. In some cases, they’ll even tell you an outright lie to try to keep from having to refund money. They even quote things that have no bearing on what the issue is.
A few days ago, on the 18th, I registered for a text promotion called SULITXT 15. Basically, you pay 15 PHP and you get 100 text messages that are available for 24 hours. After 24 hours, the unused portion is forfeited. This is a good deal because text messages are typically 1 PHP each.
To register, you send “SULITXT 15” to 8888. To check your balance, you send “SLTX BAL” to 8888.
So, after registering and using it for a while, I decided to check my balance. I accidentally copy / pasted the registration code instead of the balance code and sent it.
Instead of returning an error and letting me know that I was already registered, it double registered me, giving me an extra 100 available messages that I didn’t want or need and debited my account for another 15 PHP.
I called the Customer Service hotline to try to have the 2nd registration canceled and have my 15 PHP returned. It took me about 20 minutes to get the CSR to understand what I was saying and then after that, he started quoting the Fair Use Policy and saying that SULITXT and my situation falls under it.
The fair use policy states that text offers are applicable for person to person transactions only. They are not intended and should not be used for spamming. Globe reserves the right to suspend promo subscription/s of accounts suspected to be engaged in such activities.
Just what the hell does this have to do with my problem? I was asking for a cancelation of the service that double registered since I didn’t need it, and was asking for my 15 PHP to be returned. What about that has anything to do with spamming?
It seems more like he was trying to blow smoke up my ass to get me to stop trying.
He also lied to me, directly. He tried to tell me that I hadn’t registered for SULITXT services since early July. I told him that I was using it then and had been using it almost every day for the previous few weeks. He told me that I was lying to him and that “the system” didn’t show that I’d used any services during that period. I told him I had proof, the reply messages from the automated service, and that I was definitely using the service and I told him to stop trying to bullshit me.
Here are screenshots:
This is the screenshot of when I accidentally resent the registration code instead of the balance code.
This is the screenshot showing where I checked the balance after accidentally registering again.
In fact, here are screenshots of all the times I’ve registered for SULITXT from August 3rd through this incident:
I guess the concept of smart phones that can take screen shots hasn’t quite dawned on people here. So, which one of us is lying, huh?
I don’t like being lied to, especially about something that’s easily provable, and especially over 15 PHP. That’s 33 cents USD. Why the hell would I call and try to fabricate a story for an amount that can’t even buy a pack of gum?
After arguing with this guy for quite a while, he finally said he would submit a report and gave me a reference number, but I never got my 15 PHP back and the reference number probably isn’t even real.
On the 13th I wrote a blog post about Globe services. I tried to keep the tone neutral, to be fair. We’ve been having some problems with them, but I wanted to give them a fair chance to get their shit together so the post was mostly just about what they offer in terms of Internet services. However, every single day we seem to have an issue with Globe and their response is less than adequate, even for a provider in a 3rd world country.
To put it simply, Globe sucks. I hope their offices burn to the ground, but only after I’ve left the country or someone may see this and come looking for me. Today I’ll talk about why Globe’s WiMax sucks. Tomorrow I’ll talk about how their mobile and customer service sucks.
Globe’s WiMax Rip-Off
My biggest issue right now is with Globe’s WiMax service.
We had two choices when we signed up. We could either pay 795 PHP per month for a 512 kbits/s plan, or pay 995 PHP per month for a 1 MB/s (~1024 kbit/s) plan. We figured it was worth the extra 200 pesos for double the speed so we went with the higher plan.
WiMax is high speed broadband, or so they claim, and for a while it was fantastic. When it was first installed, the morons put it on the side of the house, under the eaves, so the signal was bad. When we finally got it installed correctly on the roof and our signal strength went from 36% to 100%, it was like I was in the US somewhere. Well, ok not that great, but it was close. Everything was fast and download speeds were reasonable at 100 kbits/s, on average, meeting the rate quoted in our plan.
So here’s the fucked up part. Everything went to crap after we had the service for about two weeks. On the 8th, our connection speed dropped from 1 MB/s to 300 kbits/s. Now, just to make sure you understand, that’s 1/3 of what it should be, and is lower than the lower tier plan, which is supposed to be 512 kbits/s. So, we’re paying for a higher tier plan and can’t even get the connection speed of the lower tier plan. What kind of sense does that make? I’ve contacted their customer support numerous times, in numerous ways, to try to get this fixed, but the answers are getting increasingly stupid and I think we’re just being screwed.
Globe has a Twitter account, @talk2Globe, and I figured why not give it a shot? It’s easier to communicate in type when you’re talking to someone that has trouble understanding English, which is the impression I have of Globe CSRs after having dealt with them many times previously. Either that or they’re trained to make conversations intentionally more difficult than they have to be So, the day after the connection slowed down, I DMed their Globe account with the details of our problem.
The following day I received these DMs from Globe:
So, I messaged them back letting them know I’d checked all of those things before messaging them and that the problem was ongoing.
They replied with this:
That’s a reasonable request, so I went ahead and used Speed Test and sent them the results.
As you can see from the results, the speed seems to be fairly well capped at .30 Mb/s down, or about 300 kbits/s. That’s constant. It’s still this way now, as of the 21st (keep in mind the times on the Speed Tests are in GMT, not local Philippines time):
If this problem were due to network congestion, it wouldn’t stay capped at 300 kbits/s ALL THE TIME, would it? At some point, our connection would meet the 1 MB/s plan we’re signed up for, but ever since the 8th that’s not the case.
I sent links to these Speed Test results to Globe via DM. This was their response:
This is the first time I heard Globe say that 300 kbits/s is an acceptable speed for their WiMax, and while that might be completely fine if I had the 512 kbs/s plan, I expect more from them when I have the 1 MB/s plan. I expect at least more than I would get from the tier below me. Common sense tells you that 1 MB/s is the maximum, but not the speed you’ll get all the time. Common sense also tells you that you should get 1 MB/s at least most of the time. Unfortunately, I’m not getting it, period. Ever. I can’t even break 512 kbits/s. So, I let the Globe guy know his response wasn’t satisfactory, because there’s no way we’d be getting 1 MB/s speeds consistently and then suddenly be completely capped at 300 kbits/s.
“We hope you understand.”
Ya. I do understand buddy, but I’m not going to let your company keep screwing me.
I resolved to call the hotline, lodge my complaint again and also lodge a complaint against this Twitter imbecile.
Call to the 211 Customer Service Hotline #1
Right after sending my DM replies to Globe’s Twitter account, I called the hotline. I explained the problem to the CSR and he walked me through their standard trouble shooting techniques. Then he got smart and had me access the modem’s information page. He had me read off some numbers on the page and told me that one of them, either the ‘RSSI’ or ‘CINR Reuse’, he didn’t specify which, wasn’t within acceptable limits. Right on. So then I told him about how inept their Twitter CSR is, and asked him why the guy wasn’t trained to find the same things that he did.
Then we agreed that he’d send out some technicians to look at my set up and figure out what the problem is. These technicians showed up on time the following day (the 12th) and checked everything out. They looked at the figures on the modem’s info page, ran some speed tests, and then told me that the problem is with the tower that our modem connects to. They said they’d submit the report and have it checked out.
Call to the 211 Customer Service Hotline #2
On the 14th I called back and asked what was going on since our service hadn’t improved. I was told that the tower in our area would be serviced on the 16th and to just monitor our connection speed. We were told to be sure to call back if nothing improved, but then, despite the fact that there was a verified problem, she also reminded me that 300 kbits/s is “an acceptable speed for WiMax.” I told her we had a perfectly good 1 MB/s connection until it suddenly dropped off, that it was a verified problem, and that I expected my regular speed to return to 1 MB/s since I knew it was possible, and it’s what we are paying for.
Call to the 211 Customer Service Hotline #3
I kept an eye on the connection speed and nothing happened. It stayed slow and steady at 300 kbits/s. On the 19th I called back again, asking what the problem was and when I could expect my connection to return to the speed we’re paying for. That’s when I had to argue again about the supposed acceptability of 300 kbits/s for WiMax speed.
I asked them how it was possible for us to have 1 MB/s speeds for two weeks and then for it to suddenly drop off and stay capped at 300 kbits/s. I asked why I would pay for a 1 MB/s plan when they couldn’t even offer the speed for the lower tier plan. The moron couldn’t seem to understand the concept, so I had to make it really simple for him. I asked him:
“If you went to the gas station and paid for 10 liters of gas and they only gave you 3, would that be ok with you? Would that be acceptable?”
The analogy isn’t quite right, but it’s close enough.
I’m sure the person on the other end of the line finally got what I was talking about, but instead of agreeing with me, he just went back to quoting company rhetoric about 300 kbits/s being acceptable for WiMax. Do they really think we’re going to pay 995 PHP per month when they can’t even give us the level of service that people paying 795 PHP per month are getting? It’s not an issue of it occasionally being 300 kbits/s. It’s ALWAYS 300 kbits/s.
The call ended with them assuring me they’d send someone out to look at our connection again. Those people were supposed to show up yesterday, but didn’t. They called at 6:30 PM to tell us how deeply sorry they were and that they’d come today instead (Saturday, the 21st). Thanks a lot. I’m glad I wanted to sit around the house all day Saturday waiting for them after doing the exact same thing on Friday.
It’s really possible that there’s something wrong with the tower, considering the response from the 1st call about there being something wrong with the RSSI or CINR Reuse figures, and they’re just too inept to figure out how to fix it. Or it could be that they know what’s wrong with it but won’t spend the money to repair it. Neither would surprise me, but it’s still not acceptable.
However, I think there might be another reason for it. I think Globe did this on purpose so they could accommodate more customers using that same tower, without upgrading their hardware. Since we got our WiMax set up, I’ve seen other Globe antennae popping up in the neighborhood. From a greedy, ‘fuck-the-customers-let’s-make-money’ perspective, it makes perfect sense. What doesn’t make sense is that my connection would be perfectly good and then suddenly drop off, never to rise above 300 kbits/s again. If my connection regularly hit 1 MB/s but sometimes slowed down to 300 kbits/s, I would understand. That’s definitely network congestion and I can live with that. What I can’t live with is that either my connection is being forcibly limited at so low a speed that it’s in the next lower tier of service, or they’re too stupid to figure out how to fix their own hardware.
However, I’m not going to just stand around and get screwed. One of two things is going to happen: they’re either going to fix my connection and get it back where it should be or they’re going to shift us down to the lower plan. We’re not going to pay for what we’re not getting. It’s just too bad we’re locked into a contract.
In the meantime, I’m going to make sure to cost them as much money as possible by constantly calling their tech-support line and constantly having house visits by their technicians. I’m also going to start visiting other people in the neighborhood to see what kinds of speeds they’re getting on their connections. If their speeds are being capped too, then that’s all the more ammunition I can use to blast out their corrupt business practices on my blog.