December 13, 2006

Mac Users Beware!

If you are living in Australia then you’ve no doubt seen some of the Telstra’s new marketing for their new high speed HSDPA network called Next G. Next G’s promise is this; Faster, Simpler, Everywhere you need it. Well, after my own experience trying to connect a PowerBook to the Next G network I only need one word to sum it up; Terrible.

A friend of mine who works on a PowerBook needed a wireless Internet connection. I called the local Telstra store where a helpful sales assistant assured me that the Telstra Next G card was compatible with her PowerBook. Slide the card (PCMCIA) in to the computer, load up the software and you should be online within minutes.

She brought the card home (after signing a 24 month contract), I checked the back of the box and confirmed the card was indeed Mac compatible. I followed his installation instructions (because I couldn’t find written instructions anywhere on the box) and then hit a brick wall. You see, the CD that ships with this card is compatible with Windows but also contained a folder called ‘Mac Software’. This consisted of nothing more then hardware drivers so the computer would recognise the card. No connection software, no instructions and no number to call.

Out of frustration I called the sales assistant back and asked for help. He couldn’t tell me what to do but gave me a 1300 number for assistance. After 15 minutes on hold I spoke to somebody who informed me that they didn’t know anything about Macs and I should call ‘Mac’ for support. They also suggested I email the card manufacturer for software and provided an email address. So I emailed inquiring about software and I received this response; ‘Telstra has it's own software so you should contact Telstra for the software.’ What? But Telstra told me they didn’t have software!

Luckily Telstra cancelled the contract and admitted the product wasn’t Mac compatible as it originally said. But how many others customers will Telstra rip off with the same product in the future? It’s hugely disappointing that our largest Telco still treats its customers like idiots and is so out of touch with it’s own products. If you need Mobile Internet and you are a Mac user, the only choice is Vodafone’s new Mobile Broadband card. Their Mac support is great and the product works every time.