Windows Phone 7 Launch – c’mon UK providers!

Well, as one of those eagerly waiting when Steve Ballmer launched Windows Phone 7 last week, and then immediately drooling over the devices I can say that my experience from that point on has been abysmal!

I noticed someone from the AUS market posting something similar, and thought I’d quickly relay my experiences within the UK market.

I’m currently an iphone owner with O2, and thought it great that they had the HTC HD7 as a unique offering, the screen size pipped it for me.

O2

Thursday lunchtime I thought ‘right, I’ll see what O2 have to offer if anything’ – 1 week before launch, they’re surely letting people pre-order or telling them how and when they can get one on launch day.  The conversation went:

Me: “Hey there, I’m interesting in upgrading my current package to Windows Phone 7 – have you guys got any information about tarrifs or how I can pick one up next thursday?’

O2: “Windows Phone 7?”

Me: “I know it’s just been launched this week, I’m just trying to get ahead of the game – do you have any details?”

O2: “Do you mean the iphone?”

Me: <blinks>No, surely it already shows I have an iphone – do you not have any information?  The phone is launching through you October 21st.

O2: Ahh, well if you phone us back on that day, we should have more information…

I’m sorry, but what an utterly epic customer team training fail from O2 there – just shockingly bad!

Carphone Warehouse

I’d like to say this was a unique experience, but while out on Saturday (16th – 5 days before launch) I decided to pop into carphone warehouse and ask if they had any info – retailers tend to get to launch info earlier.

Me: “I’m after tariffs and prices for the Windows Phone 7 phones, have you guys had them in yet?”

CPW: “We haven’t heard anything, though we may be getting some test devices in for next weekend”

Me: “The phone launches on Thursday though, will you not have any on launch day?”

CPW: “Ahh, we’re expecting an order later in the week, they might be in there…”

Me: <blinks again>

Closing Plea

This has been an utter fail across the board really – I’m absolutely gutted that such a powerful launch from microsoft last week has turned into the community scrabbling around for any tidbits of information.  It turns out that Orange has one of the phones on their site now with pricing, but as of the time of this post (Monday 18th 9:15am) the pertinent websites stand as follows:

Microsoft: as per launch day, listing the devices and which networks they are available under

O2: the holding page telling us it’s coming – you can sign up for information, and I got an email from them a day later telling me that they’d send me information when they had it #fail

Orange: I’ve misplaced the page where they list prices/contracts, though the fact that stuff is hard to find is still a #fail

Three: There is a pre-register page, and they’ve actually promoted it on their homepage (albeit one scroll down).  With no more information about tariff’s or contracts. #fail

t-mobile: I can find no reference to it on their search page. #fail [edit: thanks to the guys over at bitterwallet, someone has updated with a t-mobile link]

carphone warehouse: again, a search reveals nowt, and there’s nothing obvious via the navigation.

Microsoft – something in the co-ordination of this launch with the suppliers/carriers is fundamentally flawed.  The community heard about the iphone weeks in advance, they knew pricing, they knew how to pick one up on launch day.  The day of the launch, it was nice that the windows phone 7 site was pointing at the providers websites so that you could go ‘direct’ to the source of the details… only to be given a 404 not found error on every one of them – I mean FFS!

It seems that Windows Phone 7 is the big secret that nobody wants to let out – and yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if I walked into a shop on thursday and they had them, but really, that’s not the point – you have a community of people clammering for your new OS and these new devices, and nobody is telling us anything.  Yes, like the rest of us waiting I’ll sit tight and wait, but this really should have been addressed long before Steve Ballmer opened his mouth on that launch day…

  • I agree completely.

    I called T-Mob a few days ago as I am due an upgrade. Their upgrades people knew about the Omnia 7 (free on £35pm new contracts).

    When I asked about upgrades though, they have no costs. Nothing. Their official help channel on twitter (@TMobileUKhelp) say to try back on launch day.

    Despite repeated requests they still haven’t said whether the phones’ll be available on launch day (call up is their suggestion, but the phone operatives can’t answer either).

    Retail-store-wise I popped into town and asked at the Three and Vodafone stores this weekend. Both said they knew that they were coming this month, but neither knew the actual launch day. Vodafone shrugged and helpfully suggested “around £40 per month, probably”, whereas Three couldn’t even do that.

    If this were the latest iDevice then this would be managed differently.

  • Oh, and T-Mobile are both better and worse than the others on their sites.

    They actually do have a product page, including price plans, for the Omnia 7 (http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/shop/pay-monthly/samsung-omnia-7/mobile-tariffs/), but absolutely no page advertising wp7. Equally the phones seemed to bypass the “Coming soon” page.

    I am also subscribed to get an email when both Orange and Three have more information on price plans. So far I’ve had no email – unless it went into my junk – so I assume they aren’t publishing anything yet.

    Am very frustrated with it all. Wp7 is – bearing in mind the financial might behind it – possibly the strongest competitor to Apple in a long time. Its development environment was pushed hugely and has been praised by a number of developers of mobile apps. However, if they don’t sell many devices, this is going to be a short-lived thing.

  • Same story all across Europe. Still I would say the UK has done better than some other countries as I’ve seen some offers at operators webpages there.

    I don’t know, but would guess that the embargo was misunderstood by the networks somehow and they are also (along with reviewers/bloggers) keeping schtum until the 21st. At least that’s my take on it as MS told me on the 11th that operators would list pricing and specs very shortly.

    I could be wrong though – with availability scheduled for Thur uou would expect stores to get stock of actual handsets no later than today. Not to mention the displays, posters, dummies etc…

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  • I had a similar experience both on the phone and in store with t-mobile… I knew more about WP7 (in terms of devices and launch dates) than either of the people I spoke to.

    When the UK Phone 7 site launched with device information hours before the uk event last week – each phone had links to the relevant pages on the networks retails sites… but these all came up as 404s cos the vendors hadn’t updated yet. The links subsequently got removed

    THe tmobile site now has the Omnia up, with priceplans, but not a lot of noise.

    I wonder if it’s down to the US release date being later, and so the UK/Europe effectively being something of a soft launch? May be a missed opportunity if so

  • Exactly the same story here Terry. I scoured the streets of Durham on Saturday with similar disappointment. Not only were all stores lacking a single WP7 phone they were also completely unaware of what Windows Phone 7 even was. I particularly pissed off with O2. I’m also wanting the HD7 and refuse to make a commitment for 18 months without at least handling it. With under a week to go before launch this is a joke. I’m pretty sure this never happened with the iPhone…but that’s probably because at least Apple can get their shit together.

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    incredible – as I watch the #wp7 trend today how many people seem to be in exactly the same boat. I suspect Nick has hit the nail on the head – the UK considered a soft launch and so the information is being allowed to be spread by us enthusiastic pre-users as opposed to a large marketing campaign.

    Feeling very much like a #microsoft #fail of significant proportions right now, though I’ll still be there on thursday queuing to try the phones out, more fool me!

  • Just an update to this, I forwarded this link to @TMobileUKhelp and asked them to forward it up the chain.

    I don’t know equivalent contact details for the other carriers but it’s worth mentioning it to them and asking them to forward it onwards. I doubt that any of the people answering the phones or twitter can do much, but if enough ‘noise’ gets forwarded upwards then it can make a difference.

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  • Perhaps you should stick with your iPhone!! 🙂 If Microsoft cared about their customers this would not have happened!

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    don’t get me wrong James, I’m very excited still about the Windows Phone 7 launch – I see massive potential with it, and as a .net developer, I’m keen to dev my own apps. So for me (assuming the initial play with the phone is nice) I’ll still be going down the WP7 route.

    The blog post was about my disappointment at how the communication/launch has been handled here in the UK (the providers really should have had those phones up after the MS launch).

    It’s true though – I suspect this lack of communication wouldn’t have happened with an apple product (iphone 4 signal issues aside). Microsoft can certainly learn from the marketing machine that is Apple.

  • I share your pain. I went on a carrier road-trip through Westfield shopping centre last week Thursday thinking the exact same thing “It’s a week before launch, surely they’ll have information now”

    I went to O2, Orange, T-Mobile, 3 and Carphone Warehouse. I received a mixture of “Windows 7?” (the PC OS) to blank vacant stares in response to my question about whether they had any info on WP7.

    O2: Acknowledge the HD7 but said to come back on 21st. They couldn’t promise having stock.
    T-Mobile: They knew it was coming out but had no info yet. The salesperson was the most helpful though.
    Carphone Warhouse, Orange and 3: It was at these carriers that I received the vacant stares.

    I’m after the Omnia 7 but want to stay with O2 (for the queue jumping as I do tend to go to many gigs). I just wanted to find out if I could either purchase it sim-free from Orange or get Carphone Warehouse to “do a deal”…but instead I walked away knowing nothing more than when I began the journey.

    I guess we’ll ALL find out more in two day’s time. Shocking really :/

  • I so want Windows Phone 7 to be a success. If it’s not, then Microsoft is dead in the water, as far as mobility is concerned. Trouble is that today is launch day, and the channel is just not ready 🙁

    I went out into London Oxford Street this lunchtime and the experience was not good – including missing shipments and claims that the Windows Phone launch had been put back 2 weeks:

    http://www.markwilson.co.uk/blog/2010/10/windows-phone-7-will-fail-if-the-channel-is-not-ready.htm