Thinking about the customer – Why Sure no longer works for me

Had an interesting experience this weekend, so I thought I’d jot down my thoughts, after all that’s what a blog is for, right? And it’s about time I picked up writing again.

So, here in the Isle of Man we have 2 telecoms providers, Manx Telecom and Sure. My main phone contract is with Manx Telecom, but I also have a Sure PAYG to use when I max my data allowance on my contract. This lets me tailor my billing as I only turn on my Sure connection when I need it; but it also lets me compare coverage across both providers and other fun stuff (like using the Dual SIM capability in my One Plus phone).

So this month I hit my allowance limit and bought myself a £5 Sure credit one evening as I usually do when i run out of data. They run a promotion where a purchase of £5 credit gives you 500Mb of data, which is usually more than enough for a the week I had left for my new allowance to kick in. So imagine my surprise when I got a text the following morning telling my my credit had run out. I checked my data allowance, but had only used 23Mb of data, no texts and no voice minutes. Popped into the shop for clarification, got told that my phone’s data usage report was inaccurate and got another £5 credit. Within a few hours I got another text telling me that my 500Mb data had been used up. My phone now reported that I had used another 5Mb of data. What was going on?

The staff at the shop didn’t really have a clue, but doing my own bit of digging I found out that earlier this month Sure instigated a policy that charges a minimum of 0.5Mb data usage every time your phone connects to their network. According to their press release this is supposed to be happen once you’re outside your bundle, but my guess is that this is what’s consuming my bundle without my actually using it.

So, the staff at the shop recommended that I keep my data switched off when I’m not using it, that way my data bundle won’t get used up. Now, my expectation for a modern connection is that it’s available all the time. My phone goes to sleep to conserve battery, but wakes up regularly to see if I have new email, new Facebook messages, new tweets, new instagram messages, and a whole host of other things that require it to be connected. When I pointed this out to Sure staff he recommended that I keep turning my data on every 5 minutes to see if there are any messages, then turn it back off again! Can you imagine trying to use a modern phone in this way?

So, feels like the end of the line for me with Sure. If they don’t understand an ‘always connected’ use case and I can consume 500Mb of their data while my phone reports it’s only sucked down 23Mb, then i can’t use their service any longer. Any other Sure users out there reading this post? Does your data usage seem insane?

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