Many months ago I received an email from a reader who thanked me for
bringing their attention to Walker Wireless. He said he was very
happy with the price and performance of what they delivered.
At this stage I am bound by my ethics to disclose that I've had less than
satisfactory dealings with Walker Wireless's head-honcho, Bob Smith (formerly
the head of Telecom's XTRA) in the past. I have
however, put aside any past "baggage" when preparing today's column and
treated the information presented to me by readers in a totally objective
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Recently, I received an email from a reader who had a rather
sad tale of woe to tell regarding Walker Wireless and their support. In fact,
he's so pee'd off that he's even put up
a web page
detailing his dealings with the company.
Now I'm smart enough to know that even the best-run companies with the
greatest products will, from time to time, find themselves at odds with
a customer for some reason or another -- hence my request this week for
others to share their experiences with WW.
Since the prospect of a low-cost, flat rate wireless Internet service sounds
pretty damned good, I was hoping that the feedback I got from readers who
had dealt with WW would be positive.
Unfortunately, although there were a few positive replies these
were outnumbered about 5:1 by those who slammed the company over a number
One unhappy writer described their customer service as "atrocious" and a common
theme was that emails requesting help and support often never raise a
Several people complained about static IP numbers being changed without
notice -- causing problems with email and firewalls
Problems with installation is another common theme -- and when things go
wrong the ball gets bounced back and forth between WW and those contracted
to do the job -- neither being particularly keen to accept the responsibility
for putting things right.
Then there are the problems that many respondents cited regarding the
performance of the RF link. It has been reported that some ISPs who
resold the service ended up copping flak for the speed problems. One
former ISP staff member described the problems as creating an "inordinately
large" number of complaints.
Suffice to say that not all their resellers
seem completely happy with he product offering or the company's
attitude to doing business either.
It was suggested that the video used in the WW TV ads might well depict
the frustrations experienced by some of their customers rather than the
irritations associated with using some other service.
Now I should make it clear that I have no personal experience of WW and the
information I've included here comes from others who have.
What's my opinion, would I deal with Walker Wireless?
Well if I absolutely had to have a very low-cost broadband connection and
was a bit of a gambler then I might. However, if I were setting up a
mission-critical system then, based on the strong consensus amongst most of
those who responded to my call for comments, I'd probably give them a wide berth.
It's a shame really. If WW got its act together and learned a little more about
support and customer service, they might really have a winning solution on their hands.
Unfortunately, their decision to dive off the deep end and base a service
on unproven 3G gear
is unlikely to make things any better.
Unrelated But Interesting
Here's a rather interesting and sobering
story which suggests that NZ's favourite possum poison, 1080, might be
just the thing for up and coming terrorists to add to their arsenal
of chemical weapons. Let's see the greenies rattle a few cages with this
No More Aardvark!
Well -- not until after Christmas anyway.
I've decided that it's time to catch up on a whole lot of loose ends so unless
there's something of mind-shattering importance to report, I won't be publishing
on Monday -- but you might want to check just in case.
I'll probably throw something up between Christmas and New Year so check then too.
Normal transmission will be resumed on January 3rd when I'll make my predictions
Of course this page, and all the archives, will remain online over the holiday,
which is more than can be said for
All the best for the festive season -- take care.
Hey, Christmas Is The Time For Giving
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