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The UX of upgrading to the iPhone 5

As someone who’s professionally interested in UX, I thought I’d share my recent user experience upgrading from my iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 5 in London.  This is of course, only one instance.  Your mileage may vary (and I hope it does).

I buy my phones outright and unlocked.  I don’t lock myself into cellphone plans.  I believe it is my right as a consumer to choose to do this.

The alternative title of this article is “Sim card fuckery. Why do we need them again?”

22 easy steps

  1. Wake up on pre-order day and purchase unlocked iPhone via apple store.  Smiley for the entire day :)
  2. Start looking around the O2 site for iPhone 5 nano sim information.  “Coming soon”.  Mildly frustrated.
  3. O2 Site eventually updates with a little bit more info, my current £10/month, 500MB plan has been reduced to 100MB. Alternative is double the price, for half my current data cap.  Unhappy.
  4. Look around at other networks, decide on Three, as they offer unlimited data for £12.90 with no lock-in. Happy.
  5. Find a Three store that’s open after work.  Only one is in Westfield, luckily near my house.
  6. Ask nice man at Three store if they have any nano-sim cards in stock.  He says yes, but only for existing Three customers.  Look of disapproval.
  7. I say I’m not a Three customer yet, but I’m happy to sign up on the spot.  He says great, but I’ll need to sign up on a regular sim, get number changed from O2, wait 24 hours, and then come back to the store to be issued my new sim.  Fuck you very much, ridiculous Three policies.  Very frustrated.
  8. I sign up anyway, and wander over to the O2 store in westfield to see if I can get a nano-sim from them in the mean time, just to be sure I have one for friday.  They don’t stock them until friday.  Underwhelmed.
  9. Wanting that safety blanket of a definite working nano-sim, I call a local O2 store the next morning to see if they have any in stock.  Someone picks up on my 11th attempt.  They do have them!  I walk there in my lunch break, wait in line for 20 mins, and get handed a nano-sim.  Happy!
  10. I get back to work and see that I’ve been given one that doesn’t support pay-and-go customers.  Fuck. Off.  Angry.
  11. I call O2 to see if it might work anyway, I’m told no, they have completely separate sims and I’d need to go back and ask for another one.  O2 Rage-quit.
  12. I ask for my PAC number, and am asked for my balance (which I don’t know, I top up every month and never use all my balance, so I don’t check it), then am asked for my “Password” which I’m just supposed to say over the phone.  No fucking way am I telling a human any password (and I don’t know what it would be).  I hang up.
  13. I find my balance and call back.  I’m then asked for one of the last numbers I called. (who remembers people’s numbers these days?). O2 support asks where I was given the nano-sim, and I tell her.  She says she needs to file a report against the store, as they’re not supposed to distribute them until friday. I finally get the PAC code.  Slightly pleased that I got someone in trouble after they made me walk for 30 mins for no reason.
  14. I call Three and go through their automated phone system to change carriers.  I get to the step of “Enter your phone number” and my phone number is not recognised.  No method of talking to a human is possible.  It hangs up on me. 
  15. I call back and try to find a path to talk to a human.  I eventually get to iPhone technical support, after being told to turn my phone off then on again and see if that helps (I doubt it).
  16. Happy iPhone support man asks what he can do for me.  I say I’m trying to switch my old O2 phone number to my new sim card.  He puts me on hold for 2 mins.  He then tells me he can’t help me transfer my contacts to my new sim from an old sim.  I tell him that’s not what I’m trying to do, and he transfers me to customer service.
  17. Customer service is fairly good and helpful.  Their security questions make FAR more sense than O2’s.  While I wait they try to sell me an iPad 3.  I tell them I have an iPad 3.
  18. I’m told my number should be changed by tomorrow.  I ask if I’ll be notified when the change is complete.  I’m told I should ring my number from another phone and check if it rings.  Classy.
  19. Update: This happened after the original blog post.
    The number changed over around 2pm on thursday, so I went down to the Three store and picked up a new nano-sim.  They said they’d requested for my number to be changed over to the new SIM.
  20. iPhone arrives on Friday, have a happy afternoon using it on the Wifi at work, but the number still hasn’t activated.  They said it would take 48 hours (wtf, more than changing network?), so I waited.
  21. On the following monday, at 5:30pm, the sim still wasn’t active, so I went back into the Three store and chatted to the store manager who apologised, said the number request wasn’t in the system, and issued me a new nano-sim.
  22. Sim successfully activated 120 hours after initial acquisition!

A pleasant user experience, this is not. #firstworldproblems

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