Lower mobile data usage

Wi-Fi Signal logo
Wi-Fi is the answer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m with GiffGaff and have gone for the cheapie £10 package which limits me to 1Gb of data per month. Regularly I was hitting 700-900Mb per month, which is fine – but I noticed I was gradually using more. No real reason other than I was out and about and getting more and more reliant on apps, etc.

A simple change to my settings saved me a huge amount of data and I’m now hitting around 300Mb per month. Simply ensure that your app updates are set to run automatically only when you’re on wi-fi.

Aside from things like streaming media, this is probably one of the biggest data downloads you do on a regular basis. There’s usually very little need to have an app update *right now* (and if there is, you can force an update manually very easily), so just leave them till the next time you’re in the house when they should kick in automatically.

This is easy enough to do on Android – not sure about Blackberry or Apple.

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This is why I left Three

Huawei E160G - Three Logo
Avoid. Avoid. Avoid (Photo credit: William Hook)

Following is the content of a complaint I have just emailed to Three. I may follow it up with a letter to their head office:

I cancelled my account with you on August 15th. I gave you several months notice that I wished to do this after your staff lied to me and tried to blame me for my voicemail being broken for several weeks. I was told at that time to contact yourselves before the 15th of August to cancel my account and get my PAC which I duly did.

When I asked for the PAC I was lied to again and told that it would take 30 days to generate and that I should have given that amount of notice. This is a) wrong and b) illegal practice under British law. A PAC must be given on request either verbally or by text message within 2 hours.

I was contacted (after getting my PAC) by another agent who clarified that my account was fully closed and that I owed nothing. I queried him about the 30 days and that I was not going to pay for a service I was not using and therefore that I would not be expecting any further bills from you. I distinctly recall this conversation and being told that I would “certainly not” be charged in September for anything.

I received one further message from you telling me that I was 71p in credit. I decided not to chase this as, frankly, I didn’t want to deal with your awful call centre staff again. 71p was worth it to get away from Three and onto a decent network.

However, this morning in the post I find a bill from you for £23.77 (minus the 71p) for “Early Termination”. This despite cancelling my account precisely 24 months after signing up for the contract; following the guidelines being issued by your staff; and being told plainly that I would not receive any further charges.

In other words, one of two things has happened:

a) You’re made yet another mistake in handling my account.

b) Your staff lied to me. Again.

As things stand, you can whistle in the wind for the money. I am not paying it. I gave several months notice that I wished to cancel my account, contacted you when I was told to do so by your own staff, and was told (after querying repeatedly just to be certain) that I would not be charged for any time during which I was not using your service, specifically the time after I cancelled my contract.

Kindly send me an adjusted bill confirming that my account is closed and that the balance is zero, as I was told previously.

To clarify, when I started using Three I quite liked them. Good prices, nice web site for checking your statement, signal almost everywhere and so on. Once I started having to deal with their moody, pushy and – is it became apparent – dishonest staff in the call centres, however, it all went to crap.

I would not ever consider recommending them as a network again. And I apologise to the friends who are on them as a result of my earlier recommendations.

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More fun with Three…

OK, maybe not a huge complaint but a nitpick. I was checking my balance on My3 the other night and saw with my new package I had “100 Picture Mails”. Groovy, I’ve always had to pay for sending pictures, so I sent a quick photo to a friend.

A day later and I’ve still got 100 picture mails to use. And a charge of 25p on my account. So I queried it by giving Three a quick call.

It turns out that picture mails are not the same as picture messages, that is MMS. A picture mail involves taking a picture, going to the gallery and sending it using email to another email address. I get 100 of these. Which seems nuts when I also have a 1Gb internet allowance and routinely send pictures via GMail that way.

On the plus side, if I ever figure out how to use it, given that a 5MP image could be a megabyte in size, it could potentially save me 100Mb of internet. If I sent 100 pictures a month. And the people I sent them to had internet access on their phones.

In the meantime, it’s a decent package I’m on  but don’t expect any picture messages from me any time soon.

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Mobile phone privacy

Picture of three Michigan Yellow Book Directories
Proper directories

There’s a new mobile phone directory on the scene in the UK – 118 800. As it stands, they won’t give your number out to anyone. However, if you’ve filled in your mobile phone on any other web site, document, order form or the like then the chances are they’ve bought it and added it to the list. People can ring them with your name and be put through to you. Expect big usage by cold-callers and phone spammers.

However, you can get yourself taken off their lists. One way is to send an SMS, the other is to do it for free online. Go to this web page and fill in the details. They’ll send you an SMS with a code number. Fill that in on the page and they will remove you so you shouldn’t be bothered.

I thought we’d all gone for “opt in” rather than “opt out” in the UK as far as privacy went, but they’ve found a loophole. Often when you fill in your details to – let’s say – ensure you can be contacted if a package can’t be delivered to your front door you’re also agreeing to have the number passed on to other companies… and 118 800 are the first to go out and buy up all those lists for commercial purposes.

Nasty? Maybe, but it’s legal. Make sure you pass on the details to get everyone you know off their books.

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