Got a meeting on Monday and Tuesday at The Farm Inn in Pretoria.
Great, I've been there before and know something of the venue. For example - No Sentech or Iburst available. However, there is 3G.
So, I wander down to Vodacom shop to arrange 3G card (which I've kind of been considering anyway so no big deal).
No 3G cards available because all you can get is HSPDA. Well, that's fantastic - even faster - latest technology - way to go.
The shop does not have any in stock, but they'll get it delivered to me within the hour. Great - sign contract - done deal.
Sure enough, within the hour package arrives, and I'm advised to shoot out to Vodacom Customer Centre at Gateway to get set up as it can be a bit tricky.
Rush out (all excited - 1.8Mb connection here we come) and we start installing.
Come to that wonderful stage "insert card" and let's say it goes downhill from there.
You see, I have a fairly new laptop and, unbeknown to me, it has a PCMCII Advanced slot. Vodacom's HSPDA only fits into older laptops with the now redundant PCMCIA slot. Apparently the PCMCIA slot is all but phased out overseas already.
So, many phone calls and many excuses later here is the upshot of it all:
If you get HSPDA and you happen to get it working on your laptop, forget about upgrading your laptop within the next two years (unless you are happy paying for a contract you can't use).
The HSPDA card does not work on Vodacom's wireless router - so there is no workaround that way.
I can buy the wireless router for R1500.00 but there are no 3G cards available (although Vodacom has offered to source 2nd hand ones for me).
The HSPDA card does not work on the available PCMCIA/PCMCII Advanced converter (which is also not immediately available anyway).
Vodacom blames the computer guys for changing the slot etc., but the card does not even work on their own equipment (the wireless router).
The computer guys say that Vodacom is desperately dumping their outdated cards (read somewhere that HSPDA had been dropped in Europe because of no take-up)... and the problem is Vodacom's.
And no-one at Vodacom told me there might be this problem when I signed the contract. Apparently I was only the second person today with this problem so maybe there is no need to warn everyone about it as a matter of course...
But I thought I'd let you know just in case.
I just can’t figure whether Vodacom does not understand this particular market segment or whether they know us South Africans far too well.