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Closure of Home Zone

Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
6 361 53K

AN UPDATE ABOUT OPTUS HOME ZONE - 01 APRIL 2016

 

Last month we advised Home Zone customers that this service would close at the end of March.

 

While Optus understands that some customers are disappointed by this decision, we thought it was important to provide some more information about why the Home Zone service has ceased.

 

Our current technology platform that supports Home Zone is reaching its end of life, which means things like software updates, technology developments or even spare parts will no longer be available.

 

While Optus no longer supports Home Zone services and cannot guarantee service availability and reliability, some customers may be able to use their device intermittently in the short term, but will be unable to do so beyond April.

 

We apologise for any inconvenience, and are happy to discuss with customers specific options to ensure they are able to stay connected. 

 

If you have a Postpaid Mobile call us on 133 937 or 133 343 for small business customers (8am - 7pm Monday to Friday and 9am - 5pm Saturday AEDST).

Corporate, Enterprise and Government customers contact us here

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

CLOSURE OF HOME ZONE

 

Our Optus 3G Home Zone product has been improving customers’ mobile in building experience for some time now, but some important changes are about to happen to this service that you need to be aware of.

 

From 31 March, 2016 our Optus 3G Home Zone service will no longer be available. 

 

This is due to technology rapidly changing and our ongoing Mobile Network investment.

 

We have been working hard to improve the mobile experience and have developed a new app that will deliver the benefits of Home Zone, with increased flexibility and ease of use.  

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?

 

If you are currently using the Home Zone device, it will stop working on the 31 March 2016.

 

As a replacement, Optus has developed a new service called WiFi Talk and it is currently available to Optus customers who have compatible handsets, which are iPhones running iOS version 7.0 or above, or Android handsets with version 4.0 or above.

 

So if you still find yourself with limited indoor mobile coverage, as long as you have WiFi available*, WiFi Talk will keep you connected with no mobile signal necessary!

 

Any other people that connect to your Optus 3G Home Zone will also need to download WiFi Talk, so make sure you tell them in advance.

 

WHAT IS WIFI TALK?

 

WiFi Talk is an app from Optus that lets you make and receive calls and texts using your Optus mobile number over a WiFi connection.

 

You can use WiFi Talk to call and text when you’re at home, in the office, or out and about in places where you can access WiFi*

 

The calls you make and text messages you send using WiFi Talk will be charged to your mobile bill with the same inclusions and rates as your normal mobile rate plan.

 

 

 

 

* subject to WiFi availability in the building/area, and firewall settings for that WiFi connection.

 

HOW DO I GET WIFI TALK?

 

WIFI Talk is available to Optus customers through the App Store and Google Play

 

original.pngoriginal.png

 

HOW DOES WIFI TALK WORK?

 

Download the app - Visit the App Store or Google Play and download the app. You’ll need an iPhone running iOS version 7.0 or above, or Android handset with version 4.0 or above

 

Just add WiFi - WiFi Talk uses WiFi to connect your call. Just add your WiFi network – When the handset is in idle/standby mode (open and running in the background) and does not receive or make any calls it uses approximately 80kB per hour. When the app is making or receiving a call WiFi Talk can use approximately 300kB per minute.

 

Talk and Text like normal - Use WiFi Talk to make and receive calls and texts using your Optus mobile number when you’re connected to WiFi. The person you’re calling or texting does not need WiFi Talk and won’t even know you are using it, and they can call and text you on your mobile number as they normally would.

 

No Additional Fees - The WiFi Talk app is free to download. The calls you make and text messages you send using WiFi Talk will be charged to your mobile bill with the same inclusions and rates as your normal mobile rate plan.

For more information about WiFi Talk check out the FAQ’s here.

 

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A COMPATIBLE HANDSET?

 

If you currently do not have a compatible iPhone or Android handset, you could be eligible to upgrade to a compatible handset, just choose your service below to find out the details on how to upgrade.

 

If you're an Optus Business customer and are interested in a compatible mobile device, contact your account manager.

 

If you are not able to, or do not want to upgrade your handset at this time and wish to discuss your account with us, please contact us on 133 937

 

WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HOME ZONE?

 

We request that you please dispose of your Home Zone as you would any other small electrical appliance. Many councils hold e-waste collections, so contact yours about their collections and other preferred disposal methods.

We do not need you to return the device back to us.

 

NEED HELP?

 

Simply comment and ask the community below.

 

Our friendly team is here to help.

If you have a Postpaid mobile call us on 133 937 or 133 343 for small business customers (8am –7pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm Saturday AEDST).

 

Corporate, enterprise and Government customers contact us here

 

 

NITTY GRITTY

The Fair Go policy applies to your use of the app. WiFi Talk is free to download for Optus mobile customers. Some functions in the app may use data when roaming. You will be charged your usual mobile plan rates for making calls or sending texts whether over the mobile network or over WiFi Talk. To use the service, you will need to have a valid Optus mobile phone number and access to a WiFi connection. Some public and corporate WiFi connections may have specific firewalls and settings that might mean WiFi Talk won’t work. We cannot guarantee each specific WiFi connection will allow access to the app. Emergency calls are supported via WiFi Talk if there is no mobile network available however we recommend that you use your normal phone service in an emergency to provide a more accurate location to the emergency services. WiFi Talk has features that measure your network experience including signal strength and network speed. You can switch this setting off via the settings/options menu. Full terms and conditions are available in the App

 

361 Comments
New Contributor Michelleisangry
New Contributor

We subscribe to the Optus network specifically because it used to work really well at our home.

A few years ago Optus made some changes (I am not sure what) and the service at home deteriorated to the point of the mobiles being useless at home.  After hours and hours on the phone to Optus, they sent me a Home Zone (modem?) to boost the signal via our home wifi.  After receiving and installing this we have had no further issues at home…until last week.

Without warning, the service has been shut down and is no longer working and I am unable to access it on the web any longer.

 

CLOSURE OF HOME ZONE

 

From 31 March, 2016 our Optus 3G Home Zone service will no longer be available. 

 

So Now Optus have developed an app called WiFi Talk:

 

WiFi Talk is an app from Optus that lets you make and receive calls and texts using your Optus mobile number over a WiFi connection.

 

To get myself out of “trouble” and be able to use my phone I downloaded the app.

 

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?   optus wifi talk.png 

 

To use my mobile as I have done for the past 8 years (how long we have lived in this house) I now have to open an app?  Also use a password each time?  It does not even support all mobile functions? WTF?

 

I can’t believe that Optus have shut down a service without notification, warning or similar!

 

I have a small business with about 20 mobiles on this account... this is why I don't sign locked in agreements!

Member paulyrobins
Member

This is a terrible idea. I need to have phone call and SMS turned on 24x7 for my job, but I don't want wifi and Notifications turned on all night as I won't get any sleep from apps going off! I trialled this app when I had an issue with my Home Zone last year and it was not a good experience. On top of this, whenever I'm out of wifi range, the app feels the need to put a non-removable notification on my screen that it can't make calls.... even though I have a perfectly good phone signal where I am at the moment!

I guess I'm gonna have to go back to the devil.

Member kel_liam
Member

Who ever decided this is an idiot. I'm a volunteer fire fighter and need my phone & sms's 24/7.

The stupid app just doesn't cut it. We have no signal for Optus in our house. I've been with Optus for over 12 years. I guess we are going to have to move our Mobile Phone service to another provider.

Member Tim-Murphy
Member

This is a VERY DISSAPPOINTING experience. Please reverse this decision. These are the issues we are experiencing:

 

  1. Big lag between when using the WiFi app.
  2. Poor reception while using the WiFi app.
  3. Unable to send / receive MMS.
  4. Requires a PIN. Really why? I'll decide what security I require and how I'll implement it. Better than PIN.
  5. Finally. Why move my cheese. Chopping and changing between when to use the app and when to use standard phone is just a pain silly.

Again, please reverse the decision to close the Optus Home network. It works a treat!!!

 

Member Tim-Murphy
Member

Text messages sent and received by WiFi app are saved in the app. Therefore I now have two places to look for past messages. Gee wiz thank you.

New Contributor massey
New Contributor

Not happy Jane. That hopeless app is next too usless. Logging on all the time when one turns the phone of. Really!!!! I live in a area with next to no mobile coverage and it is good when I drive into the garage and my iphone pick's up the 3G mobile signal straight away. It is mounted in a good spot in the house and being on acreage it will send the signal out about 500 metres from my house  unlike WiFi which does about 10 metres. Looks like I will have to buy 20 WiFi extenders to do the same job as my home zone. Bad move optus.I might go and check out what telstra/vodaphone are up too.

Occasional Visitor GMA
Occasional Visitor

This is not a good move for Optus.  The WIFI Talk app is not intuitive at all.... it establishes disparate databases for communications information (sms) which makes life very confusing.  

 

If this is going to be their new solution for not providing sound coverage in the area where I live; I will change service providers.

 

Very disappointing.  If Homezone is to be replaced - it should be by something of comparable functionality. 

Visitor sascha001
Visitor

i cant understand why you are getting rid of optus home zone works great all over my property as i live in a valley i have no cell tower coverage from any network i changed to optus just so i could use homezone now you are killing it i have tried your wifi talk on 3 different phones tried on 3 different wi fi connections it is un useable cant hear properly drops out has no range only rings sometimes it is not a viable option please keep home zone other wise i will have to divert my mobile to land line ( costs money !!! ) might as well move my 4 services back to telstra better covearge please re think optus

Frequent Visitor noames
Frequent Visitor

Really not happy with the shutting down of the Optus Home Zone. I rang customer support a couple of weeks back and was advised Home Zone is no longer supported (we've had issues since Dec 15).  

 

The Wifi Talk app is absolute rubbish, not even close to the coverage we had with Home Zone.  We have Cable internet (not ADSL) and our internet drops out regularly.  The Wifi Talk app doesn't reactivate if we loose internet until you put in your pin again.

 

When this happens over night, I miss messages from work asking me to start early.  I have had to explain to my manager 3 times now in the past 2 weeks why I haven't received my colleagues sms asking me to cover his shift due to illness.   

 

Extremely poor decision by Optus execs to shut down Home Zone.  If a comparable solution is not rolled out, I have no choice but to change providers and I won't be paying an exit fee for a service that no longer works.

New Contributor pgraves
New Contributor

Good God - Optus - what the hell are you doing ?

Replacing Exec Home Zone - something that works (by extending the coverage of your pitiful network), with an App - are you crazy ?

If the App was integrated (as is capable on IOS and Android) then that would show you're commitment to you client base, but a separate app, that has to be open, and doesnt have the most basic mobile telephony feature compared to any handset on the market -just goes to show how lazy and incompentent a Telco you really are.

Optus - a 3rd world Telco 

 

 

RetiredModerator Ge0ff
RetiredModerator

Hi Guys,

 

I understand that some of you are unhappy with the decision to close the HomeZone product however let me assure you we’ve worked hard to bring the Wi-Fi Talk app to market and are committed to its continual improvement. In order to ensure you’re getting the best experience possible with the WiFi Talk app I’d like to ask that you all check that the latest version is installed on your device, either via the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Should anyone be having difficulty registering or connecting through the WiFi Talk app, please feel free to send me a private message with your service number and I’ll look into it for you.

Occasional Contributor aussiechris
Occasional Contributor

Another home zone customer here that is going to be affected by the closure. I've used the Wifi Talk app, it's complete rubbish. 

 

So each time I go home, all my text messages and call history will be in the silly app, I've had many missed calls the last time I used it because the phone call never came through the app... 

 

Without the home zone, I'm on about 1 to 2 bars of 2G (even though I'm in a 4G area using an iPhone6)

 

 

Member paulyrobins
Member

@Ge0ff you've done nothing to respond to the concerns raised by the customers on this forum regarding signal range or the practicality of using this product 24x7.

I don't want to be woken up all night by app notifications from other apps just because you guys want to save some money. To be honest, I'd be happy to pay an extra 5 or 10 dollars a month to keep Home Zone!

Member paulyrobins
Member

OK. I just used the app to call my work number. Dialled the number, put the phone up to my ear, and it screamed a ridiculous tone in my ear and nearly deafened me! 

Occasional Visitor seanaustin
Occasional Visitor

rediculous.... i have just upgraded my phone two months ago to a windows mobile phone by recommendation from your staff and now its useless because homezone is being scrapped. Im lucky to get one bar of signal and when i connect using that it drops out of 4g/3g to nothing

 

from what it sounds like from customer reviews the app is useless... but that doesnt matter to me because the app is not available on my device!

 

will the app come out on windows mobile?? if not who do i need to speak to get a different phone?

Member paulyrobins
Member

OK, just proved that on the latest version of the app, a message received on WiFi Talk will not appear in the standard messages on the phone.

Member Tim-Murphy
Member

@Ge0ff

 

For the moment lets leave aside the app's usuability issues. What is your repsonse to the poor voice quality issue I and others have reported with the WiFi App.

 

Yes I do have the latest app. I installed it yesterday.

 

Tim

 

PS. I posted this earlier but it didn't seem to get through.

Member kel_liam
Member

Optus have release me from my contract. I want to test Telstra signal strength around my farm before I make the change.

 

The app doesn't suit anyone..Optus could at least just leave the current HomeZones connected and leave the service on and available to exsiting users but not support them anymore..  

 

 

Frequent Visitor mdebeer
Frequent Visitor

I currently have Homezone from my home office due to coverage issues, it works great. Today I saw the closure notification abd tried the app, it was worse than a bad skype call and not fit for business calls. So Optus if you read these posts you are degrading the service that I currently have and I will be taking it up with the Telecommunications Ombudsman

RetiredModerator Ge0ff
RetiredModerator

Hi guys,

 

Signal range relies on WiFi range, just like Home Zone walls and other objects may reduce the extent of coverage. In terms of loud tone or distortion when making a call, this is not standard behaviour of the WiFi Talk application, if you could PM me your mobile number I will look into it for you

New Contributor massey
New Contributor

Hi GeOFF

Since my recent posting re: closure of home zone I've just realised that the Optus WiFi app only works if you have a optus mobile account. Would you like to tell my poor wife who is with Virgin that she will no longer have a 3G mobile signal at home( and is a nurse who receive's call in's at night)  and will have to move to optus.Smiley Sad

Member paulyrobins
Member

Hi @Ge0ff, so I just received an SMS on this rubbish app. It notified me via an app notification, not an SMS notification. So it was not discernable from any other notification type. This will NOT wake me up when I am oncall and does not meet my needs as a customer. I need to be able to set a custom notification for your app, and it needs to be persistent i.e. it will keep beeping until I acknowledge it.

Again you have not addressed the issue that I actually don't want ANY apps notifying me during the night, I just want SMS notifications! Also you have not addressed the lack of MMS capability.

Just leave the Home Zone service on and charge us extra!

Member paulyrobins
Member

Hi @Ge0ff,

Optus also need to address the issue of the persistent notification advising that 'Wi-Fi calling ready'. Having a persistent notification results in people learning to ignore the app notifications, and it's just damn annoying.

Frequent Visitor noames
Frequent Visitor

@Geoff

 

I too have the latest version of WiFi talk and last night I received 2 calls through the app and both times I could not hear the person on the other end, although they could hear me. 

 

However, my biggest issue is I AM STILL NOT RECEIVING SMS THROUGH THE APP!

 

Again, a work colleague SMS me requesting I cover  his shift (we're a small team of 4) and I DID NOT RECEIVE IT THROUGH THE APP! My employment is at risk due to the poor coverage since the Home Zone has been removed and I will be going to the Telecommunications Ombudsmen.  Optus have discontinued a great product and have provided a 3rd world solution in technological terms. 

 

I too will be asking for an early release from our contracts - our household has 4 Optus mobiles.

 

Really disappointing when my husband and I have been with Optus for over 15 years.

RetiredModerator Ge0ff
RetiredModerator

Hi @paulyrobins, I have taken your concerns regarding MMS and addressed this to the appropriate channels awaiting a response. In regards to SMS's coming through the app as oppose to the standard messages it seems to only be affecting iOS but works fine with Android however if you are experiencing issues with this while on Android please update me. Could kindly send me a PM with your mobile number.

 

@Tim-Murphy, I will definitely submit feedback to the developers, could you please send me a PM with your mobile number? 

 

@mdebeer, Really sorry for the trouble with the voice calls, could you please send me a PM with your mobile number? Also VoLTE and VoWifi (Voice over 4G and Voice over WiFi) will be released in the not too distant future. 

 

@massey, unfortunately the WiFi Talk app only works on Optus services

 

@noames Could you please send me a PM with your mobile number as I will be forwarding your details for further investigate as you should be receiving SMS on either platform. Thanks

 

 

Member paulyrobins
Member

Hi @Ge0ff, I am most certainly on Android.

RetiredModerator Ge0ff
RetiredModerator

@paulyrobins, Thanks for the details, I also like to thank you for the time and patience, I do understand that it is not the ideal situation. Once I receive a response back I'll be sure to update you via PM.

 

To all that have sent me a PM I will get back to you with a response as soon as I have an update 🙂 Thank you for your patience

Member Yossijoe
Member

VERY DISAPPOINTED. Home zone works very well, seemlessly transitioning from the Optus network to home wifi. The WiFi talk app is a very poor experience for so many reasons. Not to mention that it doesn't work if your Android phone has root access so this is not even an option for me.  A great idea but the execution is poor.  The requirements should have included "seemless experience" which isn't the case as clearly pointed out above.  

 

Suggestion - if you can't keep Home Zone going indefinitely, at least keep it open until the above problems with the app have been resolved.  You will lose customers; I need my phone to function at home, but it no longer will. Nor the other 4 phones in my family.  

Occasional Contributor aussiechris
Occasional Contributor

Just had a look at my bill and I have 6 months of contract left to go, have many others here been able to have themself taken off contract for the closure of Home Zone?

 

Only thing that kept me going with Optus was their plans aren't bad value, I'm on the $135 (discounted to $100) for the 20GB data, unlimited calls and 10 day travel packs which have come in handy.

 

Also annoying is that I'm bundled with my top tier Optus NBN plan.

 

 

Occasional Contributor aussiechris
Occasional Contributor

Alright took being passed around to a few people but I got an answer and no longer on contract.

Basically I can port over and all I will have to do is pay the remaining handset fee of $196. (Each month i stay this goes down)

Time to research which carriers to switch to now.

Visitor 6andy6
Visitor

@Geoff.  Come off it man....as a senior personal in finance I can tell you YOU NEVER go to market with a product that is inferior than what it replaces.....or you lose money.  Obviously someone made a promise to finish this by a certain date and has rushed it to market to get a bonus.  1 - Current homezone is seamless - I pull into my driveway in an area that has no signal and it automatically connects.  No pushing buttons, no nothing.  2.  Phone calls and messages received seamlessly - not only does the caller not know your using homezone, most of the time WE dont know.

So now we have an app that not only needs downloading, needs a PIN to log in, or relog in (so its not better than what it replaces as its no longer seamless - the biggest selling point for any product).  2. It saves messages in duplicate in both the app and the sms area of the phone ( so duplication and waste of memory).  And finally - did I see somewhere were someone mentioned about no MMS's???  Thats going to be great if that is the case - a weekend of no MMS.

So remind me again how hard have you really worked when the new system is not as flexible, powerful or seamless as the old one - I'm guessing not hard at all if not one of the people on your staff couldnt pick up on that...

New Contributor Michelleisangry
New Contributor

I have been doing a bit of research because there is no way I am going to use an app on my phone to make phone calls...what a rediculous idea.  It would be different if I was trying to save money on phone calls overseas or similar.

I have found that we can purchase a "Cel-Fi Pro" this is a booster that dramatically improves the voice and data to your home area from the cell tower.  (If you google it you will find who sells them in your area, download spec sheets and more) It is not cheap, but apparently brilliant (my IT network guy told me about it) You do have to purchase specifically for a carrier (either Telstra or Optus or Similar) but you can choose who's signal you want to go with and boost the hell out of it.  If I have to spend this to suffice my needs, I will not be giving Optus any more of my money! 

Amazing, I have choices again 🙂

New Contributor limgreenie
New Contributor
Hi Geoff,
 
After calling Optus yesterday I got the personal guarantee from Optus that HomeZone continues to work for existing customers also after 31st of March. The same was said by @Van in August 2015 (see below). What's going on here???
 

How can you shut down a great service like HomeZone just like that and replace it with an inferior product like WiFiTalk without giving a better alternative!!!

 

Homezone:

Connect, wait 2 hours and all mobiles work fine and as expected everywhere around the house with five bars for the next five years.

 

WiFi talk:

  1. You always have to make sure the app is open (?) this will obviously drain battery
  2. You have to enter a password the answer a call (?)
  3. Calls drop out and connections get lost!!!
  4. Lag in signal and stuttering voice quality
  5. Calls and messages are not grouped with the propriety calls and messages on iPhone (?)
  6. No MMS???
  7. Some msg from Apple users will come in as usual via iMsg and the others via WiFiTalk (?)
  8. Custom ringtones for contacts no longer working, instead some terrible ‘classic phone’ ringtone that can’t be changed??
  9. Our older iPhones 4 and 5 can’t use this app (?)
  10. The Apple ‘continuity’ function does not work with WifiTalk so no way to answer calls anymore on Mac, iPad etc. (?)
  11. The Apple 'do not disturb' function does not work. Manually quitting WiFiTalk is the only option (?)

In August 2015 Optus Community author ‘Van’  stated:

‘We’re not scrapping the HomeZone for existing users’

but eight months later…

 
VAN2.png
 

I totally agree with @volrathy. It’s really disgraceful. We have been a HomeZone user for many years and never had issues. In fact the HomeZone solution was one of the reasons we could move to our current location. To run our home based business it is important we have reliable and efficient mobile reception. It’s bad enough that the reception is so terrible at 20 km from Brisbane CBD!

 

PLEASE DON’T CANCEL HOMEZONE FOR EXISTING CUSTOMERS or at least offer a good alternative before you do. Even the very expensive Telstra Smart Antenna seems like a better choice. WiFiTalk is not an alternative!!

 
New Contributor Michelleisangry
New Contributor

Van

You have already cut the service off!  It is no longer available to access via the web on my "account" but it was there last week.  In it's place is this blog...

Member paulyrobins
Member

@Michelleisangry that cel-fi pro looks suspiciously like the Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna! Not sure what Telstra charge for their offering...

Member Tim-Murphy
Member

@Ge0ff sms are caught in the app on my Samsung Galaxy S3 running Andriod 4.4.4.

New Member lanna
New Member

Please keep home zone on until you address all the issues with the wifi app

 

home zone works perfectly well, why fix what isn't broken Optus? 

Visitor sascha001
Visitor

tried wi fi talk again 4th time no good battery goes flat because wi fi wont work in airaplane mode so phone searches for mobile signal all day could not hear callers had to ring back on land line please keep homezone optus

New Member mhmhmhmh
New Member

I just spoke to fella named Ram (via 133 937 number) who advised me that HomeZone will definetly continue to work post 31 March... I asked him several times if he was sure and he was adamant it will be ok?! Maybe someone from optus can confirm this again? Lots of happy customers if this is the case... 

Occasional Contributor aussiechris
Occasional Contributor

Interesting, because when I called up to get out of my contract so I can port, they said it was defintley being turned off at the end of this month......

Occasional Visitor flowies
Occasional Visitor

This is very disappointing, as your "Wifi talk" app is nearly unuseable and is not a replacment of the homezone.

 

Homezone gives a native experience for both call and SMS,with a major point, it hands off the larger network when you leave the homezone area. The Wifi app can not do this.

 

This adds to the points listed by the other users in this forum. I am already looking at Telstra's plans which cost more but I know will work in my home.

 

Unless Optus enables Native VoWIFI, before they close homezone, I have no option but to move my accounts away.

 

 

Occasional Contributor DrunkenAntics
Occasional Contributor

Shutting down Home Zone is a TERRIBLE decision - Its the ONLY way I can connect at Home.

Ive just upgraded to the Galaxy S7.

And I explained to Sales when I upgraded that I can only connect because of Home Zone, They NEVER said it was being shut down.

 

 

Frequent Visitor Normandy
Frequent Visitor

Ok so u r shutting  down home zone ? Why ? Are you building a tower near me ? how do I connect ? What about the people in my home who don't have a smart phone , what r they meant to do ? Running an app , stupid ! Hey don't you enable wi fi calling like the USA networks do ? This is totally stupid ! I want out and so do 5 other people in the house , we want out of our contracts and go to Telstra , this is going to the ombudsman ! U will no longer be proving me with a phone service , unfit for purpose it is under consumer law ! Will will be hearing from the ombudsman on this ! 

Occasional Contributor aussiechris
Occasional Contributor

@Normandy

 

You need to call Optus first and ask to be taken off your contract, going to the Ombudsman will achieve nothing if you have not tried to resolve it with Optus directly. 

 

I and others here have had no issues calling Optus and getting off our contracts due to the closure of Home Zone. 

Frequent Visitor Normandy
Frequent Visitor

Ok 5 people, about to cancel and move to Telstra 

 

Member gracem
Member

I haven't downloaded the app. I hope I can use my phone as usual and am not forced inot the app itself to talk or text with its imported contacts .

 

However, even if so, would users and/or Optus like to comment on 2 possible advantages I perceive:

 

1. Less electromagentic radiaiton in your home and/or office, as you won't have a Homezone device AND a Wifi Router both putting out radiation
2. The ability to call Australia from overseas when on an overseas WiFi network while being charged as if you are still in Austarlia (can Optus confirm this?)

 

 

Member gracem
Member

Can Optus please tell me if I can use WiFi talk with a Bluetooth earpiece on an iPhone. With the Skype calling app Bluetooth is not compatible so I am concerned WiFi talk as a calling app will behave similarly.

Member dperry1410
Member

I raised a number of issues with optus support some weeks ago. One of my questions related to issues I was having re-establishing one of my mobiles to my home zone. The person I spoke with was massively unhelpful and either cut me off or we conveniently lost the connection. Unamused I emailed a complaint and guess what.. No reply. Seems to me that questions and complaints regarding home zone are being ignored intentionally. I'm starting to regret renewing my contract last Christmas now. Do the right thing optus. 

Frequent Visitor MO
Frequent Visitor

VERY VERY UNHAPPY. Have just received a letter telling us our homezone is to be switched off on 31st March - 16 days time!!!.The letter says the service is being replaced by an app. However all the comments above and the reviews in the apple App store indicate that it is not a replacement at all but a big step backwards. Clunky & unreliable with far less functionality, seems to be the summary.

 

Added to which two of our family have windows phones, and the app simply isn't available for windows phones at all - so even if it worked well - we can't make use of it!

 

Homezone has worked seamlessly for us for a number of years, and continues to do so. It is picked up as we walk in the door, and everything operates on our phones using the phones own built in funtionality. It works with Apple, Android AND WINDOWS phones. We don't have to sign into an app to make and receive calls, and my SMS continue to come to and from my phone, and not within an app.

 

Mostly we have no optus signal within our home - if we place our phones on the kitchen windowsill we might get 1 bar, 2 if we are lucky - perhaps enough to SMS - but we can't make and receive phone calls. We NEED the Homezone to be able to actually use the mobile service we are paying for. People no longer ring landlines, for all 4 of us not having working mobile phones is a big issue. Homezone is what kept us with Optus - without it we may have to move providers.

 

PLEASE DO NOT CANCEL HOMEZONE FOR EXISTING CUSTOMERS until you have an alternative that will work on our phones, and gives us the same level of functionality we have with homezone

 

We have been with Optus for many many years, we have 4 mobiles, home phone and broadband - but if we cannot use our mobile phones in our own home then we will have to look at switching to Telstra who do actually have signal in our area.

Visitor patshan
Visitor

I have also received notification of the homezone service ending. What an idiotic idea!!! The app does not come anywhere close to homezone. I have a dual sim mobile, one sim for work and one sim for personal. I can use both numbers at the same time, on the same mobile with homezone, but not on the app. I would imagine that Optus does not care that I will have to carry two mobiles and have poorer service because of an app that does not meet homezone.

My three children are with Virgin and do not have compatible mobiles. (works on homezone!)

Optus please don't stop homezone for existing customers until you have a system that is superior to homezone. Another option is to put up more towers to give us coverage at home.

 

RetiredModerator George_M
RetiredModerator

@Yossijoe

 

Unfortunately this is the only current alternative to homezone.

There have been some bug fixes in the new Wifi Talk app.

Maybe give it a try and see how you go.

RetiredModerator George_M
RetiredModerator

@gracem,

 

Hi, I am unsure of whether it will work with a Bluetooth headset, are you able to test it?

Regards,

George

Frequent Visitor MO
Frequent Visitor

 Hi @George_M

 

Thanks for your post - but I have a windows phone. So even if I wanted to give the Wifi Talk app a go - it would seem I can't. I can't get any signal at all in most of my house - so what are my options?

 

RetiredModerator George_M
RetiredModerator

@MO,

 

Hi MO, the only other option would be cell-fi.

 

Below is a link on our wiki page, hope it helps.

 

https://community.optus.com.au/t5/Network-Coverage-Knowledge-Base/Cel-Fi-Smart-Repeater-to-improve-3...

Member gracem
Member

Hi @George_M

 

>>Hi, I am unsure of whether it will work with a Bluetooth headset, are you able to test it?

 

I want to find out about the app before I download, instally and initate it, and I'm not sure if I can even use it as a test while I am using Homezone, which I will use to March 31.

 

I am seriouslyy considering changing phone providors over this. I recently ditched my home business landline to use Optus mobile as my business line. To do this I (a) needed Homezone as my reception is lousy (b) bought a Bluetooth headset for use, as I am not prepared to hold the phone to my head for several hours a day given the concerns about electromagentic radiaiton, and I don't wish to be tethered by a wired headset.

 

Instead of asking me to download and test your apps fucntionality, why don;t you ask one of yoru technicians is it will work with a Bluetooth headset, and you tell me?

 

My research indiates that you could ahve easily made WiFi talk a "baked in" facility that wouldn;t have needed a separate app. Thatw ay I we could use the exisiting phone functionality and not have recent calls ect in two palces. I don't belive that WiFi Talk will alow the handover of the call if continued when you elave the WiFi Zone whereas HomeZone does.

Occasional Contributor aussiechris
Occasional Contributor

 Eeek, that cell-fi is over $1000.......

Frequent Visitor MO
Frequent Visitor

Thanks @George_M

 

Had a quick look at the link - will study it further when I have time. 

 

I would consider purchasing an alternative to Homezone ...............so long as it is actually going to work for us.

 

However it mentions putting "the network box at a window where you can make a call" .......I don't have sufficient signal anywhere inside or outside my house with sufficient reliable signal to make and receive calls - even if I run down my driveway before I answer the call 3/4 of the time the caller can't hear me. 

 

That suggests that even if I installed Cel-Fi system it won't help me.

 

Is that right?...........or does it also boost the actual signal coming in?

RetiredModerator George_M
RetiredModerator

@MO,

 

Basically with the cel-fi you would have to have a little signal strength for it to work

Visitor patshan
Visitor

Homezone works. Cel-fi is over a $1000 and may not work. Why would Optus go backwards????? I will leave Optus and move to another provider if I have to buy a Cel-fi, out of principal and the hope that another provider is not going to go backwards

RetiredModerator George_M
RetiredModerator

@gracem,

 

I have just tested Wifi Talk with a Bluetooth speaker (sorry but I don't have a Bluetooth headset)

 

It worked fine so I would assume the headset should work aswell.

RetiredModerator George_M
RetiredModerator

@aussiechris,

 

I agree the cel-fi is an expensive unit, this is why we recommend you try the Wifi Talk app first.

Member paulyrobins
Member

Can we please get some feedback about what Optus will do to mitigate the issues with the app?

At this point my choices are to risk losing my job by staying with Optus, Paying Optus $650 odd dollars to buy out our phones and go to Telstra who also might not provide coverage and risk losing my jobs, or hand my phone back and pay an extra $500 a year to get a phone plan with Telstra, again with no guarantee of coverage....

Frequent Visitor MO
Frequent Visitor

@George_M 

 

$1000 is a great deal of money to replace the Homezone which is currently working beautifully. Especially since it sounds as if without a consistent signal there are no guarentees Cel-fi will work anyway.

 

I might have considered a smaller amount - since it is very important to us that our phones actually work, and as I said I have a windows phone though - so can't use the app.

 

Why can I not just keep my Homezone??

Frequent Contributor
Frequent Contributor

Yep, received the letter re HomeZone discontinuance today.

I trialled Wi-Fi Talk some 5 months ago (when having trouble re-initiating our HomeZone after change of SIM cards with phone upgrade). I pointed out then several reasons why Wi_Fi talk was not suitable including several of the issues raised by other people here, and was told my feedback was appreciated, and Optus were working to improve the app., before officially releasing it and discontinuing HomeZone.

Obviously just about none of the issues have been addressed with the Wi-Fi Talk app.

 

Please OPTUS keep HomeZone working for existing customers until issues raised in this forum have been addressed.

Occasional Contributor DrunkenAntics
Occasional Contributor

Does anyone know WHY Optus would be closing down this service?
Just makes no sense to me, it’s always worked flawlessly since I first got one some years ago.

New Contributor massey
New Contributor

They are probably worried all home zone users are going to get brain cancer from the strong 3G signal that most people don't usually get inside a house. Just a thought😄

Member Mekon
Member

Well Optus you have really pissed me off. I had to get Homezome because you provide lousy mobile coverage. Now you are about to ditch Homezone in favour of an App that works via WiFi. Well someone in your organisation is certifiably insane. I do not want to use an app to make a simple phone call. Homezone gives me good cover around my house and in my garden. WiFi is poor and yes it is one of you Wifi modems. Now I will have to be in my study or family room to make and receive calls, forget the backyard unless I buy WiFi boosters. Maybe you can provide all the customers you are dudding with these free of charge. I would suggest two things, 1) Ditch the idea and maintain Homezone and 2) Sack the idiot whose idea it was.

Now there is a word I am reluctant to use as it may be deemed innappropriate, but here goes , TELSTRA!

Smiley MadSmiley MadSmiley Mad

Member Gbell
Member

I received a letter today saying our Home Zone will be deactivated on March 31, which is only two weeks notice. To any thinking person, the app alternative is a retrograde step in terms of useable technology (see others comments) and yet Optus states that it is due to technological improvements. In this day and age, how can a phone based app, which has to be started every time with password and requires WiFi always on, be considered a suitable replacement for a local cellular repeater which seamlessly leverages the phone's cellular technology?

 

I'm sorry Optus, I really don't get it, just like the many others posting their opinions. As we have poor Optus reception here (black spot in central Sydney) which necessitated the installation of the Home Zone.

 

A few of our phones are Windows phones and yet there is no app?  Technological improvements you say?  And yet you give two weeks notice and offer a limited, OS dependent, inferior and inconvenient solution to replace Home Zone?

 

What happens when you need to turn WiFi off overnight to conserve battery and prevent unwanted phone app notifications and yet you need standard mobile connectivity for SMS and calls in an Optus black spot?

 

What is the real reason behind this sudden, retrograde decision which will negatively impact many of your loyal customers who put up with poor coverage only because of the help and simplicity of Home Zone?

 

I can only see this backward step as a major decision factor in whether we can stay with Optus.

Visitor chrisf
Visitor

Guys the App doesnt work.  It is clunky, poorly designed and a pain in the but to use.

The homezone is seemless.

 

Why would you stop using something that works perfectly.

 

corporate stupidity at its very best!! - Well done Optus

Frequent Visitor Greggles
Frequent Visitor

Got SMS today to notify that Home Zone was being turned off in 2 weeks and had to convert to WiFi Talk app.

Tried the app tonight and ..
I'll be ringing Optus tomorrow to organise to cancel contracts on 3 Optus mobiles so I can port out to Telstra.
The only reason we have Optus mobiles is so we could use the Home Zone to get reliable mobile reception.

I need my mobile for work and the app is woefully inadequate compared to Home Zone.

 

1) Can't send or receive MMS

2) The app has to be open all the time to receive calls and SMS.

3) I will need to sift through Messages and WifI Talk to keep track of messages

4) Call quality is dubious.

5) With home zone I could register friends Optus/Virgin phones in advance and they could use them at our place but now I have to tell them to install a new application and have it running all the time.

 

Not happy Optus. 

 

Visitor OldWilbur
Visitor

Most unhappy. Received your message today. This explains the many downtime issues I have had in the last week for the first time in years. 

 

I currently have free calls through Homezone. Are you saying because you are closing the service I will now be charged?  How can this be a plus?

 

After reading other comments I fail to see hpw you can convince me otherwise. 

 

The Devil is looking like an option. 

What have you done Optus!!!

Frequent Visitor noames
Frequent Visitor

Optus, time to really think the situation.  Hubby tried to call me twice yesterday evening and it went through the Wifi Talk app, he could hear me but guess what?!  At home, using Wifi App, I COULD NOT HEAR HIM!  And then tonight, a friend called my mobile and she could hear me but I COULD NOT HEAR HER!!  Our Optus landline and broadband plan DOES NOT COVER CALLS TO MOBILES, so I have a 20 minute charge to a mobile tonight that could have been avoided if the Home Zone was still operational. Really not happy, my husband has only changed his plan in the last 6 weeks and me in the last few months.  One son's phone is out of contract and the other is under contract - all for with Optus.

 

Will Optus let us out of all four contracts with NO ADDITIONAL COSTS? It is due to the poor Optus service that we need to change.  We've been mobile customers for 15 years - I guess loyalty only works one way at the moment.  

Member flat6estate
Member

As we live in the Blue Mountains (where a lot of mobile providers struggle), Homezone was a welcome solution after years of problems.

I recieved the homezone cancellation letter yesterday with 2 weeks notice.

I had tried the calling app previously, but found battery use to be a problem. The problem of caller ID looks to be sorted, but no MMS is a problem. It works with Homezone, why not with the new app?

 

Running an stock, Optus firmwared Z3, I decided to test again last night after reading the letter.

 

I received an SMS from a mate. I didn't hear a notification, and just happened to see it arrive in the app.

I do not have a copy in the SMS system in the phone, only within the app.

 

I haven't had time to do any other testing, but cannot afford to miss notifications due to an app not functioning. These should just come through the normal phone software in a seemless manner.

 

Please do not cancel Homezone until ALL issues are sorted

Member paulyrobins
Member

Optus, could you please come clean on the reason for shutting down this service? If the problem is cost, why not charge us a monthly fee? I'd be happy to pay! Or hit up the government under their Mobile Black Spot Programme to keep the system funded until coverage can be fixed!

Member flat6estate
Member

Update, just received a call with the app. Could barely hear/understand the other person

Occasional Contributor DrunkenAntics
Occasional Contributor

Where is Optus in all this? Are they even moderating this page?

New Contributor massey
New Contributor

Mate by the looks of it they are just not interested

Visitor chrisf
Visitor

What is the purpose of these pages if Optus don't read them?

Member Mekon
Member
Suggest we all write to the Telecommunications Ombudsman and complain. Optus obviously do not give a toss and to my mind they are clearly failing to deliver the service they advertise. The fact that this was all done in stealth and then little notice given suggests a hidden agenda. So hello Optus are you there? Engage in discussion and listen to your customers.
Member paulyrobins
Member

This is my next question for Optus. Telstra have a Blue Tick system to identify phones that have good call quality in low signal areas.

Would Optus allow me to trade my handset (S4) for one that Telstra have certfied as Blue Tick at no extra cost?

New Contributor lamlam
New Contributor

This is a very bad idea. The only reason why I have the homezone is because I cannot get mobile signal in my suburb (eventhough it is next to a mobile tower). The homezone was able to give me full signal at home so that I can receive and call people. If people have internet access and would like to call using that, we can easily use whatsapp for that, and no need to download ANOTHER app just so you can charge us normal rates.

 

Please continue your homezone service as most of those customers who are staying with you because of that will go, including me. If it stops and I do not have anymore coverage I will be going elsewhere.

 

Member Gbell
Member

I tried to call the 1300 133 543 number to discuss this issue and guess what?  The number is so busy that they need me to call back at some other time.  No chance to leave a number for a call back, I'm the one who has to chase Optus because they are too busy to take my call.

 

Seems to make a mockery of their social media push.  Why all the positive messages pumped out on social media (i.e. Facebook) and yet these painful examples of their business approach to customer service persists?

 

I also ask, where is Optus' voice in this forum?  Who monitors this?  Should we take this discussion to Facebook for a response?

https://www.facebook.com/optus

New Member AllenR
New Member

Just got my text to say HomeZone is finishing, and I am horrified at what we are supposed to use in replacement.

 

I had been waiting years for Optus coverage in my area to improve, but I stuck with them because I loathed Telstra.  HomeZone was the answer - and I didn't feel like I was receiving an inferior service from Optus anymore. At work or at home, I had the coverage I needed - no drop outs!!

 

Now that's gone, and replaced with a clearly inferior product.

 

Well thanks Optus - I think I can swallow my pride and go to Telstra.  You've burnt me good and now you've lost me.

 

In this day, customer-centric products that make our lives easier are what you are supposed to be delivering.  Wi Fi Talk is such a huge step back in convenience and utility - I just struggle to believe that you are positioning this as a valid alternative.

 

If I had known you were withdrawing this service, I would not have contracted with you for the latest iPhone. I'll be calling you to waive my contract break fees.

Member Gbell
Member

Ok, so I get through to 1300 133 543.  The Optus representative asks me to read them the letter.  They have no idea about it nor why Home Zone is being shut down.  She told me that technical support would know and promptly transferred me.  I waited in the queue and was answered by their outsourced tech support representative, who, surprise, surprise had no idea about the Home Zone closure.  One of the problems was that I was incorrectly transferred by the Optus small business rep to the RETENTIONS department, which ironically seems to be very relevant.

Remember, we are dealing with a communications company, which may relate to their technology but it certainly doesn't indicate their business capacity to communicate effectively between people.

 

Yet another FAIL.  What to do...

Occasional Visitor klw
Occasional Visitor

I previously installed this app when it was first available. I removed it the same day after missing a meeting due to delayed receipt of SMS. With the latest news, I have tried again. Sadly the app fundamentals are no different. Here is the experience in the first hour

 

- Unpredictable receipt time on SMS

- Unable to open messages received unable to view history of messages (finally worked after long lag)

- Separate message histories

- I have not even bothered to try calls yet

 

I have uninstalled the app again. Hopefully I can move carrier before the end of the month.

 

Guys - this app is seriously a complete joke. While I can believe that there are some impressive technical feats being performed under the hood to make it work, the final user experience is embarassing. Who honestly thought that this could be passed off in a positive light? Maybe if you were more honest and sold it as "not great, but better than not being able to make any calls" you would get a less negative response from your clients? 

 

New Contributor ithakiman
New Contributor

VERYVERY UNHAPPY

LIMITED NOTICE 16 days 

as they say don't touch it or try to fix it unless it's stuffed, and home zone always worked for me I have tried the app for one day and now have switched back home zone the app is crap as I cannot get a good signal from wi fi ,I live in Sydney in Optus so called dead zone looks like I will be going to Telstra as a provider thanks for making my mind up to change providers Optus .

very angry.

Trusted Contributor
Trusted Contributor

@Greggles@Tuzzaman @chrisf @noames @flat6estate Really sorry you've had issues using the WiFi talk app in the past and I can understand the frustration. Home-Zone is a great product, but it's shortcomings are beginning to be realised and will continue to loom as a larger issue the more time goes on, being amplified the more network improvement there is. Our team has worked really hard to develop new features and fix the shortcomings of the app since it's release over 6 months ago and will continue to do so moving forward, especially since it will be our flagship solution for customers who are having a difficult time getting a stable connection where WiFi is available.

Frequent Visitor MO
Frequent Visitor

@Shae

Thank-you for your input - but since there are clearly so many shortcomings in the app at present, is it really necessary for Optus to switch of Homezone at the end of this month.

 

Particulary since I have a Windows phone - under contract to Optus - and a daughter with a pre-paid optus windows phone............the app is simply not available for us. So when Homezone goes we will have no solution, bad or otherwise, being offered by Optus.

 

New Contributor limgreenie
New Contributor

@Shae

Looks like the 'flagship' hit an iceberg.

Should have consulted your customers first as they don't agree with your 'solution'...

Trusted Contributor
Trusted Contributor

@DrunkenAntics @Mekon @Gbell @OldWilbur @paulyrobins @lamlam @AllenR 

Thanks for the feedback regarding the Home-Zone, however there are valid reasons it's being replaced. From our end, there's two problems with the device that caused us to reconsider it as a default option. The first is customers who have 4G signal available in their area, may be connected to 4G for data access but when making a call, the phone call is currently made using the 3G network. Due to the current setup, the phone would not lactively search for the home-zone in some cases and be stuck searching for a 3G signal that's not available. This may only be an issue for a small segment of customers at the moment but as we seek to expand the 4G network in the future, such issues may become the norm. The second issue is that when VoLTE begins to roll out, this would cause issues for existing home-zone users, but the WiFi talk app isn't affected by the same issue. Cheers for using the Home-Zone while the coverage hasn't been the best, we really appreciate it. We'll continue to deliver improvements on the app based on the user feedback we recieve.
Trusted Contributor
Trusted Contributor

@MO I've just posted another reply to some other users which may explain why we're needing to go in another direction with our WiFi calling options in the future. Hope it helps answer some questions.

Member gracem
Member

@Shae

 

I have virtually no reception in my home office, even though I live in the Sydney metropolitan area. Iuse my mobile as my business line.

 

Because of brand loyalty  (customer since 1995) I stuck with Optus in spit of the reception issue, but also because Homezone was offered. While Homezone is great when it works it hasn't been an easy ride. One unit failed, and it took technicians days and countless phone calls to work out why the replacement unit would not sign on. However it's been stable since.

 

I am upset having been through all this to have Homezone taken away. The app will be always be unsatisfactory unless it is "baked in" to the phone itself and is NOT an app. This will solve the following shortcomings:

 

1. No handover to normal cell network when leaving WiFi zone during a call

2. No duplication of phone functionality inside app (SMS's in two places, Recent Calls in two places, Contact Favourites not available)
3. MMS functionality

 

Please reatin HomeZone until you can offer a "baked in" WiFi solution, not an app.

Frequent Visitor MO
Frequent Visitor

@Shae

 

Thanks Shae yes I read those comments - but since there is no Wifi app for my Windows phone it doesn't really help me to understand that Optus are going to have future problems with Homezone. I'm certainly not having any problems at present. 

 

@George_M did suggest looking at Cel-Fi but this is a very expensive option that really doesn't look like it would work for us since we often have no coverage at all, even if I was prepared to pay the $100) cost.

 

What is optus proposing for those with Windows phone for whom the Wifi App is not an option? I'm in North Shore Sydney so really I would have thought that I should not have these coverage problems anyway!

Visitor sascha001
Visitor

the app is no good read optus to use app i have to leave my phone on charge as my phone searches for network all day i can t use wi fi in airaplane mode so my phone is not mobile pluged in to the wall also my young dont have smart phones zte optus phones why does optus sell these phones as thay are now a waste of money i have always stuck up for optus no more having a lot of travelers visting i will now recommend telstra wake up optus 

Frequent Visitor noames
Frequent Visitor

 @Shae

 

Optus need to provide a better solution than the Wifi App. It is obviously clear that more than just a handful of users are experiencing issues with the App.  I mentioned in an earlier post that it is affecting my employment, as the sms messages are not being received which request me to start earlier.

 

To push customers to another provider or a 3rd party product such as the Celfi which costs approx. $1000 is far from a realistic solution.  I can see a class action being taken as mentioned by a number of customers, is this really what Optus is looking for or has it been put in the "too hard" basket?

Occasional Visitor Moki
Occasional Visitor

Optus how disapointing. Customers who dont have WIFI range, such as myself. I can only receive WIFI signal to only 20% of my home. The Homezone was perfect. I am the only house in the street that has no 4G signal and still continues to do so. Unfortunately after 15 years of loyalty it will have to be Telstra as the proposed alternative will not work for me. Shame on you Optus- a typical management decision and I am sure a cost saving in some form- but it doesnt fix the issue. 

Visitor cpope001
Visitor

I've been with Optus Mobile for 21 years. I'm now phoning Telstra to switch. Homezone has saved me in an area where reception was otherwise poor. The non-existent integration of this new app is laughable. BYE! 

Member Gbell
Member

@Shae  Many apparent technical reasons why we cannot use HomeZone.

"The second issue is that when VoLTE begins to roll out, this would cause issues for existing home-zone users."

What do you mean?  What issues?

With respect to 4G, we are near Spit Junction and 4G has been here for some time.  Our phones generally have no problem accessing the 3G Home Zone due to the stronger signal.

Why cannot you leave Home Zone active for those customers where it continues to work?  Why such short notice?  Why force customers to move providers, particularly those for who have Windows phones or simply find the app unsuitable for their needs?

 

Your explanation does not appear to make business sense in the light of current user feedback.

Member Mekon
Member