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T-Mobile Finally Admits BlackBerry Screw Up, Promises Restored Access by Feb.

The Reason For T-Mobile’s Port 80 Block

According to BlackBerryCool.com, T-Mobile has admitted that it was a problem with their billing system that has deprived all T-Mobile BlackBerry users of TCP access (for apps like instant messaging) since December 1, 2004:

“There were some changes made in the billing system a while back which in turn blocked Blackberry Web Client accounts from having full internet access (including port 80). Changes are in the works and all T-Mobile BB users should have full internet access targeted for early Feb.”

Wow. The problem started on Dec. 1, 2004. Dozens of us have been complaining to them, and trying to get them to figure out what happened. Mobile technology sites and blogs, like this one, have been posting about it, and trying to get someone, anyone at T-Mobile to take notice and just tell us what’s going on. Now, two months later, they’re saying “hey, we screwed up, and we’re working on fixing it.”

Read on for my (continued) opinion on the matter.

If you follow this site, you’ve heard me rant about companies not “getting it”, missing the Cluetrain, etc. In even spoke about this at length in yesterday’s TinyPodcast.

I’ve lost a lot of respect and loyalty towards T-Mobile because of they way that they’ve handled the communication aspect of this issue. I’ve maintained that they probably didn’t intentionally disable this functionality for BlackBerry users, but that it was likely an unintended result of another change. Through all of the frustrated forum posts, blog rants, and phone calls to customer service and/or customer relations, all they would have had to do to make me and the rest of the BlackBerry community happy was communicate. But they didn’t. Even now, we only know as much as we do because of a conversation with customer care that someone blogged.

Scoble’s “Corporate Weblogger Manifesto” tells us “If you screw up, acknowledge it. Fast. And give us a plan for how you’ll unscrew things. Then deliver on your promises.” It sounds like they know, internally, that they screwed up, and that they have a plan to “unscrew” things. All they would have had to do was communicate this. Tell the people in the Wireless Data Group, so they can pass the information along to angry and frustrated BlackBerry customers that are calling. Tell the people in Customer Relations so that they are aware of the issue, and the fix, when BlackBerry users escalate to them.

To me, this indicates a grave lack of internal communication within T-Mobile, let alone any kind of human communication with their customers. After all, if the T-Mobile employees don’t know what’s going on, how in the world could we expect them to communicate with their customers?

The future of T-Mobile continues to get darker and bleaker. How long until they are in dire straits, and get absorbed by one of the other big wireless carriers? Or maybe just dissappear entirely…

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