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Why Telco's can't play at authentication ie. Optus Singtel

I write this as I wait yet again for the Singtel/Optus call centre to deal with my simple request.
I placed a call to Singtel/Optus recently in order to unlock a phone from their network. Simple enough, the phone had not been used or connected to their network for more than a year. The number associated with it had been re-allocated. The phone has not even been under contract to their network for more than 3 years.
Their staff gave conflicting advice leading to multiple trips to the Optus shop. On at least one occasion I was kept on hold for more than 15 minutes, incidentally when I insisted on speaking to a supervisor so I didn't get fed another line of Indian call centre bull-dust.
Meanwhile I made immediate arrangements to switch any accounts I have any control over to their competitor's network.
In case any of you might be wondering why Transinteract doesn't have any plans to partner with any telco on mobile authentication:-
1. It is a very bad idea to trust any telco witch uses an Indian IT outsourcing company as many are less than honest, from the top to the bottom, simply read Finextra news to verify that claim.
2. The telco's poor quality of service will scuttle any business which includes them in any part of your business process.
3. They would add an unacceptable level of cost to the process.
I note Citi has entered into a partnership with a telco to perform transactions. I give it the same possibility of success as Citi surviving the credit fiasco without a government bail-out.
As I sit here I have been waiting online for

21 minutes.
Now that would be just great for customer satisfaction if it were an issue involving authentication or financial transactions, and also allow the fraudster to clear my account and catch a plane to another country, while I wait on the line for a dodgy call centre employee to misinform me yet again, or perhaps sell my details to a fraud gang.
I'd be selling my Optus shares if I was foolish enough to have any, or perhaps I might short them.
I'd predict the current telco house of cards will start to collapse soon as we see poor service and high fees resisted by more thrifty and less tolerant recession-bound customers.
Either way their income streams will start to collapse soon, with or without the abysmally poor service.

26 minutes.
I'm just popping off an email to everyone in the family to urge them to switch to a competitor as a group, and have found a better deal. We aren't the type of family to sign a contract to get a free phone, we prefer to pay up front for our own phone, but as we have drawers full of phones donated by friends and family which we use for testing, but we thought this particular phone would be ideal for the particular family member who needs one. It is a model with flashing lights on it and that is handy for someone with diminished hearing, and they aren't for sale anymore. Otherwise I wouldn't be waiting on the phone for Optus for:

32 minutes:
At this point I'm ready to outright state that anyone who has an account with Singtel/Optus is a complete idiot.
Could it get any worse? Why yes.

That is just one reason why telco's can never play any direct part in any authentication or transaction scheme, certainly not Singtel/Optus  at least. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, you'd be guaranteeing failure of your business.
I am now logging on to the TIA (Telecom Industry Association) and filling out a formal complaint.
I think I'll see if I can acquire a list of the direct numbers to their local executives and publish it on the internet. That had some positive effects a while back with Ebay, so why not give it a try for Optus?

35 minutes:
I'm actually only waitng online in order to get the name of the supervisor I've asked to be put through to, so hopefully I can at least sink someone's career.
If you are an Optus/Singtel shareholder you are in trouble. I'd sell out while you can. Anyone who buys a share in that company must have rocks in their head.

37 minutes.
Singtel/Optus are obviously very desperate to keep subscribers, they just ignore your call and put you on hold if you want to switch. I'd say that's a guaranteed recipe for business failure. Turn a customer into an evangelist against you.
The only reason I wanted the phone on another network was because the closest family member to the potential phone user is with another carrier through their job supplied phone. I am going to join them, along with everyone else whom I can influence to switch to another carrier.
Go ahead and get into bed with a telco. Yeah right.

41 minutes.
Go into business with a telco - I dare you.

42 minutes. I'm out of phone battery and out of patience.
Asta la vista Optus. Never a dollar of mine shall you get.

Comments: (3)

John Dring
John Dring - Intel Network Services - Swindon 22 January, 2009, 22:30Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This is a rant if ever there was one.  I just hope the Optus competitor(s) are not worse, or else plug into to a power outlet.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 26 January, 2009, 10:57Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

While I'm not sure the others are any better, I have a feeling that the industry is in for a bit of a shake-up, with or without my help. If you don't complain, they don't change, do they? The best thing is to give your dollars to their competitors. If enough do it, it tends to have an effect. Rant or not.

The undeniable conclusion is that they (Optus/Singtel) are not suitable partners for any important process, especially if you need flexibility, and service.

Their fancy call centre systems can no doubt pinpoint my particular experience, although I suspect I was just switched to the 'piss this guy off on hold forever line'.

That may prove to be a costly error.

John Dring
John Dring - Intel Network Services - Swindon 28 January, 2009, 13:42Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I had 1hr of my time wasted by my Bank yesterday, and posted my own rant here  http://www.finextra.com/community/fullblog.aspx?id=2425  You would appreciate my inability to validate that I was talking to my Bank, and not a good phishing line.

When they operate shoddy online services like this, it's no wonder they lost all our money ;)

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