How not to run a gsm provider


Personal LogoLiving as I now do in Buenos Aires, I decided it was time for me to get an argentinian mobile. Off down to the shop with me to buy the cheapest prepay mobile they have (costing me a whopping €40), from what I believe is the largest mobile phone operator in the country: Personal Telecom Argentina. In fact this happened many months ago, and since then I’ve been marvelling at just how pathetic a mobile phone operator can be.

  • You can’t send text outside the country. This is not a limitation with my phone package or anything of that sort. It appears that other (read “Irish”) operators simply ignore any sms from Personal. Possibly because of their complete disregard of any gsm standard?
  • If you send a text to a Personal phone from another provider, you will get a successful delivery report immediately, regardless of whether the text was delivered or not.
  • If you send a text from a Personal phone, you will never get a delivery report. I’ve never seen an exception.
  • They seem to have no concept of a time zone. Their gsm servers believe they are in GMT, so any communication with the outside world is off by 3 hours. In short this means that
    • Texts from the outside world appear to have been sent three hours previous
    • Texts to the outside world, if such a thing were possible, would appear to be from three hours in the future
    • If you have a phone that is aware of timezones (most modern phones are), then every time you wander into a Personal coverage area, your time will be set wrong by 3 hours.

There’s lots of other interesting stuff too, some of it bordering on hilarity. For example, my girlfriend and I recently travelled to Ireland (for my sister’s wedding), and, while there, my girlfriend received some texts from home (her phone is also a Personal offering). Each text arrived 100 or so times! We had to turn off the phone at night coz it was so annoying (we could disable any sounds, but we couldn’t stop it’s lights flashing).

Anyway, that’s it. It seems that the argentinians don’t know or care that this is pathetic. There are other mobile phone operators in this country (who, from my limited experience, do a far better job), so I expect market forces will eventually resolve these issues.

In the meantime I should of course complain, but my meagre few words of Spanish would hardly handle the assault … so I blog it :)

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