Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

Oh, Blackberry

I bought my Blackberry (affectionately nicknamed Bramble) in mid-September after months years of debating on a new phone. I love it. I feel like I’ve finally caught up on modern technology, and I LOVE using Four Square to check into the obscure locations around my town.

But then last week, all the Blackberry phones in Europe stopped working in their smartphone capacity, and I was taken back to three weeks ago when I still had a StupidPhone. No Email, no internet, no Messenger! Oh no, what would people do?!

People took to the internet. People who had never owned a Blackberry phone in their life started posting about how bad they were and how they had an iPhone that was better, etc. etc. A lot of people immediately got new phones and turned their backs on Blackberry and RIM.

As a personal user, not having access to email or messenger (I have two contacts on it. If you want to be a “friend”, let me know) wasn’t a big deal for me. Instead of emailing Tim’s work phone when I needed to tell him something, I texted or rang him. Both texting and calling were still working on the Blackberry during this outage.

But my phone has a more serious issue. My phone isn’t receiving international text messages. I probably wouldn’t have noticed for quite some time, but Miss M was having her surgery, and her partner was going to text me with updates to let me know she was okay. The day of her surgery arrived and I waited, and waited, and waited and finally sent him a text…no response. I panicked. I really did. The following day, I texted both M and her partner, and again, got no response, so I finally sent M a message on Twitter. She told me her partner had texted me twice while she was in and she texted me once. Hmm, that’s a little odd, isn’t it? So I asked my mom to try to text me, and her message never arrived, either.

I rang O2 (and yes, I spoke with a British person. All the O2 call centres are located within the UK) and the woman I was speaking with thought it was odd, and tried a few things, but the messages didn’t show up. She determined that I needed a SIM swap and advised me to go into the O2 shop in town as it would be faster, and they also could test my SIM in a different phone to try to determine if the problem was my phone or my SIM.

I went into the Lincoln shop around lunchtime that Friday and had a wonderful woman (I can’t remember her name!). She put my SIM into a tester phone and we waited, but nothing showed up. Assuming it meant this was a simple SIM issue, she arranged for a SIM swap and told me to finish my shopping and come back when my phone read “invalid SIM”. Well, I had only gotten down to the escalator when my phone started displaying it, so I went back. She swapped in the new SIM, and I rang Mom to ask her to text me. She did…and nothing. So, time to start exploring other options.

The O2 person took me over to a desk and rang up tech support. They were of no help, so she escalated it further, and then again. We were getting some really ridiculous suggestions like “delete the contact from your phone and re-add them” (what?) or that it was the US provider’s problem, not ours (it wasn’t. Mom and M are on different networks and Mom had been able to text Tim with no problems). Several hours later, and we decided the best thing to do was for me to go home and try to let things reset themselves over the weekend and if it still wasn’t working on Monday, ring or come in.

The following Tuesday I wound up ringing O2 again because it still wasn’t working. I spoke with Emma (I think?) and she was fantastic. When a first tech guy wasn’t helpful, she got someone else. Tony was fantastic. He gave a few suggestions for getting it to work/testing it out. The first idea was to stick my SIM in Tim’s phone and try for an int’l text. That was a no-go and nothing came through, even though Tim had previously been receiving international messages. Second suggestion was to use the Blackberry desktop software, back up my phone, and then update the software. Again, this didn’t help. Tony told me he would look into the issue some more and get back to me on Friday.

In between Tuesday and Friday, I received a call back from Emma, who wanted to check in and wanted to let me know that she would flag my account and keep checking it and would ring me if she found out anything else. I loved that. Really, it’s a shame you can’t ask for people directly when you ring, or I’d ask for her every time.

When Tony rang me on Friday, it was to tell me that he unfortunately didn’t have much news for me — BUT, he was talking to some of the other techs and apparently this isn’t an issue isolated to me. Several people had been ringing up with the same issue (on top of the existing BBM issues everyone was having). So the issue has now been escalated AGAIN to an investigation team, and Tony is going to keep me up to date on anything new that comes of it (and hopes it gets resolved soon, obviously). He also didn’t have a direct phone number, but he gave me his email address so I could email him if anything else happened with my phone.

My problem isn’t fixed yet, but I have faith in O2 and in the techs I was speaking to. This experience makes me glad I switched over from Orange. Anytime I had a problem with Orange, I used to get bounced around from call centres in India to the UK, and people who said they would ring you back never did. This was not the case with O2. O2 has ALL their call centres in the UK, and their employees actually ring you back when they tell you they will!

I just hope my problem gets solved soon. It’s a little annoying to know that if an emergency pops up I’d have to borrow Tim’s phone to communicate with my mom.

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4 Comments so far

  1. Erin October 17th, 2011 17:46

    Hmm. Last time I was in Germany I think I had a phone with D2/Vodafone (best deal for a top-up account I could find), but you’re convincing me to give O2 a look when I get back there.

  2. Rebecca October 17th, 2011 18:14

    I’m not familiar with vodaphone, but I was previously on Orange and their customer service was lacking a lot in their mobile phone department. We still use Orange for home phone and internet, but we never have problems with it.

    Tim uses PAYG with O2, and he has only been in the shop once in the past 6-7 years (however long he’s had a phone) and that was to get a replacement phone when his went through the washer and dryer at mom’s house. He has never felt the need to ring customer service. I’m on a contract, and I am more than happy with it even with this problem. So far, they have been fantastic, and oh, they put a credit on my account to cover the international messages I tried to send out. When I went in to get my phone and picked the cheapest plan, I was not talked up and in fact was more than encouraged to take the lower plan based on my phone usage/needs.

  3. miss m October 18th, 2011 3:32

    First off, I love the color of your phone! So pretty!!

    And yeah, I’m glad that other people are having the problem too. Not because I want other people to have issues but because hopefully that means they’ll work a little harder on fixing it.

    It’s so weird because Love showed me his phone in the hospital the following day and there was his message, your message and his reply. (The messages are stored in a conversation type view.) So that was definitely the first sign (for us) that something was wrong.

    Anyway, I’ll try to text again tomorrow when I get up. I wound up with my sister all afternoon so I forgot to try again after the last time I emailed you I tried.

  4. Rebecca October 18th, 2011 17:45

    Don’t worry about it 🙂 When I hear back from Tony that he thinks it’s fixed, I’ll probably ask you to text again 🙂

    It was weird that my messages are going out and nothing coming in, though. And yeah, I’m a little relieved that it’s not just me and that it’s been escalated to an investigation team because that means they are actually DOING SOMETHING about it.

    Thanks! When I saw O2 had it in purple, I had to get it 😉 You know me an purple…..

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