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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

 

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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
Frequent Visitor noames
Frequent Visitor

@George_M

 

My last post has been deleted.  

 

I too have lodged a complaint with the TIO and are waiting on a response from Optus.

 

 

If purchasing the Cel-Fi is the only option, as Telstra does not have coverage in 2198 either, will Optus reimburse me the cost off over $1000?  

 

We have 4 mobile phones with Optus in the household plus internet and 2 landlines and have been customers for over 15 years.  How will Optus support their loyal customers?

Occasional Contributor AV8R767
Occasional Contributor

Good news!!!!!!

I have just had to call about changing my new sim details to homezone as I just bought a new phone which needed a smaller sim. This normally takes 24 hours to take affect on the homezone and after its completed homezone works again.

 

Anyway the guy I spoke to in the faults section said that Optus have decided to extend the homezone use until a workable and viable solution can be made. Yipeeeee! He said that there was a notice sent out advising all Optus employees of this.

 

I hope this is true but I guess we will have to wait until March 31st.

 

If you have changed your SIM card recently that could be the reason why you can't connect to your homezone so ring the faults line and ask to have your new SIM card number added. You used to be able to do it online but that service has been discontinued so the techies have to do it.

I for one will wait to see the outcome before I go and change tonTelstra.

Member Gbell
Member

@AV8R767 That is very good news if it is verified in writing by Optus, which remains to be seen.  Informing Optus employees is one thing and informing their bewildered customers is another.  If it is true, I wonder why it hasn't been posted here by Optus?  Or are things moving so fast at Optus it hasn't been formalised sufficiently to be put in writing?

 

If Optus has finally recognised it was a crazy decision, admit to and rectify their mistake, I am very happy to stay with Optus. I didn't want to move providers in the first place.

 

I hope this is a clear lesson for Optus to take a more considered approach to their customers in future.

 

Thanks also for the technical tip about ensuring each new SIM is registered for your Home Zone, it is an easy one to miss or forget.

Member Gbell
Member

I have a technical tip.  It was mentioned (by Optus?) that if you live in an area with 4G, you may find that when you are out and then re-enter your property, your smartphone may not lock onto your Home Zone, which only offers 3G.  This is correct and I've seen it happen on my phone.  Usually after a while, depending on the external towers signal strength, the phone finds the 3G signal stronger and automatically connects, so it's not really a big deal.

 

The behaviour is similar to having multiple wifi access points in your house/building and, while walking around, the smartphone does not automatically connect to the strongest signal unless you turn your wifi off/on to force an access point rescan, which invariably locks in on the strongest wifi signal.

 

So if your smartphone isn't locking onto your Home Zone 3G fast enough for your liking, you can go into your mobile carrier settings on your smartphone and use the same trick. Depending on the phone, you can go into Mobile networks and then choose the Network mode and change it from LTE/WCDMA/GSM to WCDMA/GSM.  In my case, this immedately changes it to the Home Zone 3G because WCDMA is 3G only, not 4G.  Once it locks on, I just switch it back to LTE/WCDMA/GSM and I find the signal drops momentarily and then after a few to 30 seconds, it comes back to the Home Zone signal.

 

The above approach may not work for all phones and it is not necessary if you don't experience this issue.  Usually taking your phone very near the Home Zone will also make it sync quickly to 3G mode.

 

If anyone has any variations on this approach or other experience, please feel free to chime in.

Occasional Contributor DrunkenAntics
Occasional Contributor

@AV8R767 Did you get the employee number? I just rang Optus and was assured Home Zone is closing on the 31st of March

Occasional Visitor sydsyd99
Occasional Visitor

Same with me. I called and was told that they have no information about any stay of execution on this outrage. Told them I'd be contacting TIO. Shame on Optus.

Member Gbell
Member

Inconsistent information from different Optus representatives?  Never!

New Member Rog
New Member

I have just finished chatting with Optus Customer Service and was told there had been no announcement that the Home Zone closing deadline of 31 March has been revolked. So I think it is safe to say unfortunately that at this late stage that the service will be closing. Shame on you Optus for not providing a viable alternative to loyal customers of more than 10 years! When our contract is finished at the beginning of May we will be porting our mobile to Aldi Mobile, which for $20/month and no contract, gives 400 minutes of voice, 1 Gb of data and unlimited SMS. It gives far better coverage then Optus as it uses the Telstra 3G network. Bye Optus!

Member Gbell
Member

@AV8R767 Looks like you've been fed misinformation from Optus. Very disappointing.  Please report back if you manage to clarify the truth.

Occasional Contributor AV8R767
Occasional Contributor

Well 24 hours went by and my homezone did not connect with my mobiles new sim so I rang Optus again.

 I basically was told that the last guy I spoke to was incorrect and I would have to close my homezone and reopen it with the new sim Card numbers. He basically was not listening as he had to ask me to repeat my question about the homezone being reinstated. So now if I am lucky I may get my homezone back for a few days before its cut off. Now if you were an Optus tech who had this job to do and you knew it was closing down in a few days, would you reinstate it? I think not .

Well that's it Optus I have had it, I have been a loyal and very patient customer for many many years but this has pushed me past my limits. First thing Tuesday I am off to Telstra I am absolutely fed up with talking to a non Australian call centre who don't really give a damn and getting a third world standard service when I am less than 1 km away from a cell tower. It's ludicrous and Optus you should be ashamed. I will never go back to Optus even if the service was free. FU

Member Gbell
Member

Thanks for the update.  The last two letters of your post sum it up nicely, although I see that as being what Optus is saying to its customers.

Member paulyrobins
Member

Just an FYI for everyone, I have also raised this with my local federal member of parliament. The Federal gov is spending millions on fixing blackspots and Optus are intent on reintroducing more blackspots. Unfortunately round two of the mobile blackspot program has already closed, but it is certainly good for them to have visibility of this issue.

Occasional Contributor simmomelb007
Occasional Contributor

Optus have got to be joking closing this down? Dear Optus, when/if you close this down you will be effectively disconnecting 4 mobile services, we only have coverage indoors because of this device.

Our entire family use Windows 10 Mobile devices, which you have decided you are NOT making a WiFi app for, this is simply NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

We cannot move to another network as all 3 provoiders have poor to zero reception inside our premises.

PLEASE DO NOT DISCONNECT OUR HOME ZONE!!!!

Member Mekon
Member
Not only are Optus shite so is the TIO. I lodged a complaint and was told to bugger off as they did not deal with these issues. If they do not deal with Telcos screwing you by failing to provide a service you pay for, I think that is a matter for them. With an election looming I suggest we all bombard out local MP and suggest they do something about it.
Occasional Contributor junk_moderated
Occasional Contributor

Just thought I'd provide an update on what I've found.

- I've commented a couple of times here, and in the forum a few times, and to Optus directly. Each time I expressed my great disappointment.

- I also raised an issue with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, stating that I'd signed contracts for new phone handsets with the understanding that I would be able to actually use the mobile phone service, and that the closure of the HomeZone removes my ability to use the phones.

- I have expressed my opinion at each step of the stupidity of requiring a PIN in the WiFi Talk app, along with poor sound quality, dropouts and phone lockups. An app is not a replacement to a HomeZone, fullstop.

- I received a call from Optus customer relations today telling me that they are willing to cancel the contracts without an early term charge as long as I return the handsets back to Optus. I will be billed the early term fee as I port away from Optus, but they will credit the fee once they receive the handset.

 

So, Optus loses another customer. My experience with Optus has been superb until two weeks ago. Now I will be leaving never to return, and to recommend to family, friends, neighbours, and anyone else, that they get out while they can. I doubt, however, that it will make a difference to Optus policy, as I have heard no remorse what so ever from any Optus staff.

 

I expect that Kogan will get my business, though Exetel might as well.

 

Occasional Contributor simmomelb007
Occasional Contributor

I have also been told I can exit my contract and return the handsets, they didn't care at all about the 4 numbers of ours being ported out, they basicallly said, there is the door, in not so many words! 

This doesn't solve the issue where this was the ONLY method for reception indoors (with any of 3 providers), so lucky for those of you who have an option to move to another provider.

This doesn't make any difference to me or my business which has been operating on the Home Zone service perfectly indoors for sometime.

 

This really has thrown a MASSIVE spanner in the works for us!

 

I am currently looking to shift my company braodband and phones away from Optus due to them neglecting their customers with nothing short of a digracful move which is really going to cause our business and home mobile service major issues.

 

I'll also be advising other family members and business associates of what they have done and hope others follow suit.

Member Yossijoe
Member

I'm going to hold out & see what actually happens.  I've had so many promises from Optus about when they would deliver services, perhaps they'll be as unreliable with taking them away!

 

Has anyone tried using the "internet call" option? (Android - Samsung Galaxy S4) - not sure if that does the same thing.

 

If I am forced to leave, TeleChoice is offering a $38 plan (Telstra network, 3 GB data, no contract) & they have written to me that they will shortly be including Telstra's 4G network (currently only 3G).

Frequent Visitor thegregsons_1
Frequent Visitor

Holding out too.

 

I too have decided to see what happens.  I have been on their Facebbok page and on the phone.  At the end of the day think I'll have to walk away from Optus although I'm afraid it's like dealing with Denil A or B.

It seems optus has lost the plot.  If only their shareholders knew what was going on.

Recieved snail mail saying that BPay was no longer an option to add to the warm inner glow I have about optus.  The rep was so dithering, I had to repeat myself.... which has left me now unsure of what's going on.

Tried logging into Optus MyAccount, that failed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Visitor 6andy6
Visitor

Like someone else mentioned, you have to question a number of things;

  1. Is Optus in some sort of financial difficulty - given there seemingly refusal or inability to keep something going until the bugs are ironed out of the supposedly 'better' wifi talk app?
  2. Why release an app that is so evidently inferior - its almost as if it has not had any testing.  Is someone obtaining a financial bonus by having one switched on and the other switched off by a deadline - irresepective if its fit for use and will ot listen to the overwhelming majoirty of people telling them 'it doesn't work'?
  3. Why would a mobile company continue to sell phones that are clearly not designed to work on its own apps/system such as Window phones?

There seems there is a fair amount of ego's and bloodinmindness going on in Optus HQ, I also wonder if some pressure is being pushed down from HQ in Singapore (funnily enough I'm in Singapore at the moment working although I have a Qantas flight back to aussie tomorrow for a holiday - should go and visit the heads here and ask if they are aware their Australian management is about to trash their reputation as a premier telecommunications company).

 

The release of such an obvious inferior app, with bugs, that removes seamless carry over, is a clear danger to life.  After all, I like many (and unlike some in here) live in an area that has no mobile signal, Telstra or Optus, so its not a matter to changing over. Homezone worked, it worked well, and this rubbish about 4G/3G handover is irrelevant for most of us at home that use Homezone.

 

If we now do not get CFA Fire advices in summer via SMS because we have to turn the app on, we cant get a signal to call an ambulance because the app doesnt work or a call from a hospital because a loved one has suddenly had an accident, then I am sure a law suit will follow pretty quickly after and any such cost will negate any saving Optus have made by turning this off for those in country areas.  The lcosing of Homezone and replacing it with such an evident inferior untested solution is a dangerous step and one that the senior management have not considered, nor listened to their loyal customer base.  There is a precedent for senior management not listening, and that was Vodaphone, and that did not end pretty for that company - as this issue sends a message to even those without Homezone that Optus does not care, if it doesn't care about remote or people in blackspots, will it care about anyone else?

Visitor 6andy6
Visitor

In fact - I think I might just send this webpage and my comments above to the Singapore HQ given local management seem unable to answer with relevant comments.

Member Gbell
Member

Very well put @6andy6 and I hope you have a safe and pleasant holiday in Australia.  With respect to the Home Zone closure, I fail to understand Optus' behaviour towards their long standing customers.  In light of their prolific social media and advertising messages, their lack of explanation displays an extraordinary level of hypocrisy and disrespect.

 

Could it be that this scenario is being driven by a Singapore HQ decision and Australian management have been muzzled?

 

Without an appropriate explanation from Optus, their handling of the Home Zone closure seems to be self destructive, particularly for a company which has worked so hard to associate itself with "Yes".

 

Optus, if you have a reasonable explanation for the way your organisation has handled the Home Zone closure, please show some respect and let us know.

Visitor 6andy6
Visitor

Thanks Gbell

My issue is that my partner lives in that rural location, and absolutely relies on Homezone to communiicate, sms, mms, email even with me (and is not the most tech savy - Homezone is essentially plug and works, arrives home and seamless connects, WiFi app requires playing around with and even then no guarantee of working or seeing sms arrive).

Member Mekon
Member
Well if Singtel are behind this we need to complain to them. I have sent an email to their newsroom explaining the situation and directing them to this Blog. Probably they will ignore it but you have to try every avenue. The media do not seem to care here in Victoria and the uptake from other media reports seems to have just died. I will like many of you hang on but Optus will not be on my Christmas card list this year.
Member Gbell
Member

@6andy6 yes, for those in your situation it is effectively an essential and critical service which is being removed from you after only a two and a half week notice period.  As you point out, it is highly misleading for Optus to suggest that the WiFi app is a suitable swap-out replacement for the Home Zone technology.

 

I can only assume that Optus are making the withdrawal of Home Zone with full knowledge about what it will mean for some (how many?) customers, such as yourselves.  It would beggar belief if they had not had their legal team vet their decision before proceeding.

 

What we know now is this corporate message from Optus.  Optus to customer: "You will move to our state-of-the-art WiFi app and if you don't like it, can't use it or happen to have one of our Windows phones, go elsewhere because that's all the explanation you're getting from us."

New Member rosskeating
New Member

Loved the Homezone system. It worked a treat and enabled me to make calls when I worked from home.

 

I have tried for 2 weeks now to connect the WifiTalk App without success.  Jenny on Optus call centre was really nice and helpful today but we couldn't succeed.  I have tried doing this when in Brisbane and main areas of the Gold Coast without success.

 

Until reading these comments I didn't realise I had to enter a PIN number for each call.  Good for security but I don't think the practicalities for business people have been taken into account.

 

Having been with Optus since around 2006 or 2007 I don't want to leave but their mobile coverage on the Gold Coast is, for me, poor overall.  I rarely see the 3G symbol on my phone.  Coupled with this latest change I'm seriously considering changing providers.

 

The North Gold Coast areas is one of the fastest growth areas in Australia yet Optus acknowledges it has black spots.  There are 6000 NEW homes being built in the area.  

 

At say 3 mobiles per home that's 18,000 mobiles. At say an average monthly bill of $69 per month that equates to:

 

  • $1,242,000 on revenue per MONTH or
  • $14,904,000 per YEAR. or
  • $149,040,000 over 10 years.  

These figures exclude the existing homes built in the area previously!

 

If Optus improved its coverage so WifiTalk wasn't necessary aren't they more likely to get a larger share of the above.  If it was my business I'd certainly be after it.

 

I'm not looking for cheaper deals. I would like Optus to provide a reasonable consistent mobile service across the SE QLD.

 

Optus have been so helpful over the years but I am really struggling with th ecurrent level of poor coverage.  I only changed Internet providers because Optus could provide an internet connection.

 

Really disappointing to see so many negative comments about WifiTalk.  Good luck to  the team at Optus.

 

 

Frequent Visitor under_the_hill
Frequent Visitor

We are also upset and exasperated by Optus's corporate double speak and spin in failing to properly manage the transition away from Home Zone.  We also request that Optus immediately delay the closure of this service until they are able to provide an improved [ and working ] replacement service.

 

On receipt of the closure notice from Optus just under two weeks ago, we tried out the ap replacement, with an android phone [ Samsung ] running Jellybean 4.3.

 

This is what happened :

 

  • initial call went through - with good volume - however, at the end of the call the phone bricked - and had to be power cycled to restore operation of the phone;
  • second call - phone call answered by couldn't hear the other party - subsequently established they could hear us - at end of call phone again bricked and had to be power cycled;
  • third call - more of the above.

 

If this is their replacement ... Optus can keep it.

 

Having scanned the forum pages above, it is clear that Optus is not actively managing these issues, or has simply taken a crash or crash view with regard to customer service and loyalty!

 

Scott

 

 

 

 

Occasional Contributor simmomelb007
Occasional Contributor

Does anyone get the impression Optus simply have given up on customer service? There is NO response in here whatsoever now and today is our last day of being able to use our phones because Optus are effectively disconnecting our services where we need them most.

There is NO alternative route for some of us, thank you Optus!

Member Gbell
Member

As someone previously reiterated, Optus is a business and must remain profitable overall. A few potential explanations are:

a) Optus are bleeding far more money on Home Zone than they are making;

b) their decision is a colossal internal stuff-up by staff who believe Optus' own spin; or

 

c) both of the above.


Perhaps Optus are trapped in their own communications black spot?

In conjunction with the messages on this forum, take a look at the ratings and feedback for the Optus WiFi Talk app on the Google Play store.  If Optus have become so corrupt that they believe their own media communications spin, I suspect they are in for an expensive lesson and, unless this feedback gives them a wake-up call and shakes them out of their black spot, it won't be confined to the fallout from the Home Zone fiasco.

Member kel_liam
Member

https://delimiter.com.au/2016/03/31/optus-uber-team-trial-car-wi-fi/

 

So Optus, I can get free wifi in my Uber on the way home from the pub on a friday night but I can't get an SMS in my bed room because you have cancelled the HomeZone Service!!!

 

Nice way to spend the money your saving.

Thnk you Optus yesterday 5 bars everywhere in my house today Hold the phone at 45degress 2 inches from the lefthand door pillar and I may see 1 bar.Smiley Sad

And my house is 15 mnutes from Pert CBD

Why do you even have this blog when you haven't even given your customers the courtesy of commenting about the above complaints.

Occasional Contributor simmomelb007
Occasional Contributor

Thanks for killing reception in our home business Optus, well done, we have no other provider to move to and all business phones are Windows 10 Mobile devices.

All mobile companies have poor reception where we are based, are you happy with your actions? Let me guess, no comment as always.  Just pathetic.

Every time I look at this blog I am going to use the web feed back option given in the bottom right hand corner

Occasional Visitor russjames
Occasional Visitor

15 Years plus with Optus is obviously of no value. Lodged complaint with omnbudsman only to be offered release from my contract for handset costs. Little help if there is no where to go. 

Emergency service advices and emergency contacts are my main concern. The new app does not work. it is clunky and unwielldy and requires constant user intervention. I hope that when some per customer dies because of Optus callous actions that a gaggle of lawyers nails their hide to the wall as they deserve.

 

We have contracted and paid for a service which they are now have removed without a viable alternative.

 

And not one constructive comment from optus management.

 

Please reinstate home zone.

 

Thanks optus

Occasional Contributor simmomelb007
Occasional Contributor

In similar shoes as you russjames, no point leaving as we don't get reception with anyone.

 

We no longer have workable phones.

RetiredModerator Ge0ff
RetiredModerator

 Hi @WestAussieGlen, Apologies for the delay for my response and the closure of Homezone, we acknowledge that there are a number of issues with the Wifi Talk application and our developers are constantly working on ironing out the bugs. Feedback is constantly being passed onto our program team but at this point I have no update on when a fix will be available but the necessary testing will need to be conducted before releasing a new version. If you are however experiencing issues with the application such as registration, I recommend you contact our technical support team who will be able to assist with the issue or discuss your available options.

 

@simmomelb007, Could you please send me a PM with your service number, I'll have a look at your account. Thanks

Frequent Visitor Normandy
Frequent Visitor

"Feedback constantly being passed onto our program team", a bit late, you have lost at least 100's of customers already, and whats the point if the feedback results in nothing being done for the foreseeable 6-12 months? 

 

Many people have provided you with solutions and issues , some people being very patient and polite and they have been met with silence and ignorance. Its not a privilege to be served by Optus, its the other way around.

 

All the negative comments here, on the mainstream media are just deserved. You only had to do two simple things. 1. keep home zone on, and 2. enable wi fi over cellular.  The latter technology having been available  in other countries for years ! 

Member Gbell
Member

@Ge0ff Thank you for taking the time to post on behalf of Optus.  After having been involved in writing software since the late 80s, the main problems documented regarding the Wifi Talk application appear to be design choice limitations rather than bugs.  Non-integration with the native OS messaging system is not a bug, it is a poor design decision.  Increased battery drain is also likely to be an inherent and unavoidable issue associated with a Wifi app which is permanently communicating with the phone network.  The bugs are the bitter icing on the Optus spin.

 

I have to believe that Optus know that the Wifi Talk application is not a suitable replacement for Home Zone, for all the reasons mentioned in this thread and in the feedback provided on the app stores.

 

 

Member Mekon
Member
Well Optus you are at the 11th hour. You have already lost many customers over this and tomorrow should see many more trot off to Telstra or other provider. I simply cannot understand how any sane person can believe this is the right way to treat customers. Thanks for nothing, loyalty does not pay.
Frequent Visitor thegregsons_1
Frequent Visitor

GeOFF received the same message as you.  However their willingness to resolve the app issues prior to cutting off homezone Isaac big fat zero, zilch....

It was suggested I can use 4G however we can't get 3G and we're in a well established suburb of Melbourne!

It feels like Optus is on a road yto self destruction.

Occasional Contributor aussiechris
Occasional Contributor

RIP Homezone. 

 

Last night tonight 😞 

Member kel_liam
Member

I'm taking my HomeZone down tonight and will drop it off at my local Optus office tomorrow. They can dispose of it properly.

Frequent Visitor hartilla
Frequent Visitor

As with 99% of the other comments on this article, this is by far the worse business decision @Optus has EVER made. 

 

My wife and I live in an area in Brisbane where we get ZERO reception on our Optus mobiles. Why remove a service that works fine and there are NO technical reasons for the removal of this service.

 

I have been with Optus for over 20 years and to have this WifiTalk app replace a perfectly good Homezone service is crazy. Seems backwards to even have a seperate app (that only services two phone operating systems), that sucks up your battery even when not receiving calls.

 

I tried the WifiTalk app and it is one word, "crap"... At least give your customers the option to pay for it if the so choose... Smiley Mad

 

My wife just bought a new model HTC and it doesnt even install. Guess its time to switch over to Telstra.

 

Visitor rebeccastowe
Visitor

My homezone was turned off about an hour ago and already I've missed three calls and 7 text messages through the app. It won't even activate on my sons phone so a BIG THANKS FOR NOTHING OPTUS

The entire house is now without phones with an unstable asthmatic in the house.

Unbelievable that this disastrous decision was actually followed through on. Such disrespect and basic disdain for your customers. 

We are in a black spot so are unable to get any signal in our home with homezone. So there is no joy in changing providers as it won't change my circumstances- though I will be changing if only for the principle of it all.

 

Occasional Contributor Andrew70
Occasional Contributor

I hate you OPTUS.

 

No Homezone = No OPTUS

Frequent Visitor criccio
Frequent Visitor

I can't beleive it, on top of all the issues people have reported, today i received a call at home after missing 8 calls before 12pm, by the time I swiped my finger to unlock the phone and then find the app, then insert my pin, the call was lost. This is not good enough the alternative is not acceptable. I can only assume there was no real customer feedback before they decided to give it the chop. I'm already investigating exiting my contract as the service is definately not fit for purpose. I'm more than happy to send my handsets back but if they want to charge for early exiting then I more than happy to take it up with the TIO. Ive been a loyal customer for over 10 years with more than a handful of services with them and prepared to move the lot. I'd prefer to stay but not having service just 2kms out of my CBD is not good enough.

Visitor rebeccastowe
Visitor

So have just changed two out of four phones to Telstra- essentially the signal will be no better in my home but I cannot stay with Optus and tolerate this outrage any longer, will be doing the same with the other two phones asap

Ge0ff,

Thank you for some feedback but I have a windows phone so it is of no use to me.

I have been with Optus ever since I got a mobile, which is too long ago to remember.

My windows phone was purchased from Optus, great to know Optus no longer supports what they sold me, also interesting to see Optus is still selling windows phones, hope they are warming future purchasers that Optus don't support what they sell.

It would have been more useful if Optus had at least replied to my comment below from over a week ago:-

 

by WestAussieGlen 23rd Mar ‎2016 at 6:20pm

Does the Powertec repeater work for several phones or only a particular phone number?

 

 

I think this is a great idea:-

 

by kel_liam 3 hours ago

 

I'm taking my HomeZone down tonight and will drop it off at my local Optus office tomorrow. They can dispose of it properly.

New Contributor massey
New Contributor

I woke up this morning and my HomeZone is still working and it's April one. So what's going on. Would Optus care to comment???

Member Gbell
Member

My Home Zone is still working too.  Perhaps the shutdown is a work in progress and may take some time to fully complete?

Frequent Visitor criccio
Frequent Visitor

Mine too, hopefully they realized they need to offer a better solution

Member gracem
Member

My Homezone is also still working this morning.

Member Gbell
Member

One can hope... either that or it is a cynical April Fools delay.

New Contributor tapmemp
New Contributor

Good morning all. HomeZone is still functional in Kooyong Victoria.

Occasional Contributor DrunkenAntics
Occasional Contributor

Im also still getting the 3 beeps, fingers crossed.

Member Gbell
Member

I've switched my Samsung S6 setting for Mobile networks | Network mode to WCDMA/GSM (auto) to prevent the phone hanging onto or hunting for any minimal 4G signal after returning to Home Zone's 3G internal coverage.  If I need higher speed data when roaming, I'll just switch the network mode to LTE/WCDMA/GSM (auto).

Frequent Visitor MC1
Frequent Visitor

Do not turn Home Zone off!

You will lose business and they/I won't come back.

Turn it off when you upgrage!

Extremely annoyed!!!!!

Frequent Visitor criccio
Frequent Visitor

Dont get excited, just been advised it will be shut down in stages and areas. I think Sydney is first to go.

 

 

New Contributor Spodger
New Contributor

Something at the top of my emailed Optus bill caught my eye today, never taken it in before.

 

"Stop at nothing", then the Optus logo stating "The OPTUS yes NETWORK" follwed by "RELENTLESS IMPROVEMENT"

 

One has to wonder what it is they are relentlessly improving and when and in what part of Australia.

 

Or is the improvement in Singapore?

 

Member Gbell
Member

@criccio Thanks, not surprised about the staged shutdown.

 

@Spodger, "Yes", if Optus are making a profit, I expect that's where the bulk of our money is going.  As far as media spin or snappy phrases go, it would be prudent for Optus to remember that "actions speak louder than words".

 

This specific Optus action has highlighted the fraudulent nature of the self-commendation being promoted through their marketing and PR departments.

Member flat6estate
Member

I've been using the app all week while attached to wifi at work (6.5mb down adsl2+) AND at home (18Mb down adls2+)

Call quality has been so garbled on either connection, that I have had to use the land line to call customers back. It's embarressing.

Even the normal non-wifi method of calling (at work) with 1-2 bars of reception are far better than the wifi app

 

There is 0 reception at home so its wifi or nothing once homezone goes. It's unusable.

 

I also live in a bushfire prone area, so if something happens to my landline, I've got NOTHING to call for help on

 

I've also now got a mess of SMS's in 2 different apps, and, as predicted, an almost flat battery when i get home from work since running the app. Before hand I had 40+% available when i got home...

Member Mekon
Member
I doubt that they would do a staged switch off. They said April 1st it goes off, not it goes off gradually. Also why stage it? We are finding an interesting thing. Both mobiles give 3- 5 bars when the Homezone is powered on but 0 to 2 if switched off. Before today we got 5 bars constantly so something has happened . Maybe the ghost of Christmas passed has haunted Optus Scrooge.

Lost Homezone in Perth Yesterday

Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager

An update about Optus Home Zone

 

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

 

 

Member Gbell
Member

@Optus Did you discover your Home Zone technology platform was reaching end of life in the last few weeks?

 

Usually end of life for platforms is known well in advance, sometimes years, and yet Optus provides two weeks notice and an inappropriate replacement technology? 

 

Seriously, how stupid do you think your customers are?

New Contributor skullyboy05
New Contributor

So when it says to discuss your specific circumstances please call xyz could that mean you will send out a cel fi pro? Right now I've already missed out on work because of the crap talk app and no homezone. 30k down the drain thanks. 

Frequent Visitor Come_on_Optus
Frequent Visitor

After discussing with optus the recomendation is for us is to disconnect our service and move to another telco.

Unfortunately for us we cant get service from any other telco either. This is of no concern to optus apparently.

We live in a blackspot and very shortly will not be able to use our mobiles.

Optus you have had my custom for over 20 years and this is our reward!!!

Not happy.

Frequent Visitor Come_on_Optus
Frequent Visitor

Does anyone know of any other telco who can offer something similar to homezone?

Or of a device that can assist with signal boosting?

Frequent Visitor criccio
Frequent Visitor

Yeah i think vodafone offer a repeater, but for  that to work effectively you do need some kind of signal which it then repeats around your house. I'm investigating this however I'm trying a prepaid vodafone card in my house and it seems to work without any kind of boosting 

Occasional Contributor DrunkenAntics
Occasional Contributor

My HZ has been cut off now, its just flashing.

 

I have a 3 week old S7 which at the moment is telling me its unable to connect to a network.

 

When upgading I spoke to Optus about HZ, and was never told it was going to be cut off. I supose the rep didnt know. But she did know its the only way I get a signal at home and Im in Sydney CBD.

 

I'll also drop off my HZ at the local Optus shop, and then walk into the Telstra shop right next door.

 

Optus customer of 14 years.

Dear Optus,

 

There is a major difference between

"will no longer be available"  and

"are no longer available"

Why not at least simply let homeZone users know that homezone may die in the future and keep it running until you can no longer support it not turn it off when you simply don't want to support your cusstomers or the windows phones you sell.

This must have been the biggest mistreatment of customers in history.

I guess on the bright side it will be good for my Telstra shares.

 

 

New Contributor DazzaDaran
New Contributor

Just lost Homezone in Logan - Queensland - 25Kms south of Brisbane.

 

My home is a "Blackspot" and some time ago when I complained to OPTUS about the coverage, they arranged a "deal" where I would switch everything over to OPTUS - Internet, Home landline and they then arranged Home zone to be connected to cable (bundled) - and yeah !! everything was sweet... I was very happy with OPTUS and the service provided.. Moving over to cable was a big improvement over ADSL and using Homezone to route the mobile signal via cable was brilliant !! everything worked !! (big plus was that I gained faster internet access )....

Then a few months ago, OPTUS Sales rang and offered me the renewal of the contract plus a new phone (paying via monthly account) - OK no problem with that - OPTUS were a great service and so I agreed..... Now it all changes... no HomeZone... no mobile reception , I have 0 bars on the new HTC Android phone. (very depressing).

Plus I now am not inclined to download an APP that is reported as being so "buggy" as to be basically unuseable....  

OPTUS what happened?  You have gone from being an efficient service provider to this......mess.

I am now weighing up my options... I have no mobile service (which I need)-  but great coverage from cable (internet access).... However, I do have access to Foxtel cable coverage so perhaps I should be asking Foxtel about any similar options available that I previously had with OPTUS.

Sigh..... I hate changing from a service that I previously did not have any problems with......

Now though......

RetiredModerator George_M
RetiredModerator

@criccio @come_on_optus 

 

Powertec do have a device available which is an indoor mobile antenna. It is approved by industry You can find more information about this device here 

 

http://www.powertec.com.au/mobile-products/signal-repeaters/optus-repeaters

 

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

 

For the device to operate it needs to be able to sniff one bar of mobile coverage in order to repeat the signal... 

 

Regards,

 

George

RetiredModerator George_M
RetiredModerator

@drunkenantics @westaussieglen

 

Hi guys I can only suggest to try rebooting the Home Zone device & waiting to see if the lights initiative.

 

@WestAussieGlen @skullyboy05 @Gbell @come_on_ optus @DrunkenAntics

 

I believe one of our admins @MarkW has sent you a PM to look into the details further.

 

Regards,

 

George

New Member user_getstuffed
New Member
Just like everyone else here, I'm extremely disappointed.
 
I'm leaving Optus. I don't get any reception from any mobile provider at home, but people NEED to leave Optus en mass to make them realise their mistake. There HomeZone was the one reason I moved to Optus in the first place anyway.
 
My solution is a Telstra SIM with this antenna - http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/131764731823?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT. It isn't as good as the HomeZone but at least I can make phone calls. Neighbours won't complain about interference, as they have no reception anyway.
 
I'm extremely disappointed, as I really liked the HomeZone. I tried the WiFi Talk app and it was useless, with really poor sound quality. Let's all leave Optus together.
Frequent Visitor SvcTerminated
Frequent Visitor

What a disappointment Optus, after leading the market with Femto Cells in Australia you're shafting customers with minimal notice and a poor explanation.

 

WiFi talk is a cruel joke because of it's lack of phone integration compared to Facetime or FB Messenger.

 

Try harder Optus!

 

Hopefully other disgrunteled customers can find some relief from this farcical situation from this video

http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=vws8ia&s=9#.Vv8pFUd2E3g

 

Occasional Contributor Andrew70
Occasional Contributor

What about supplying me with a Cel-Fi Rs2 to replace my Homezone?

Occasional Contributor Bob_m
Occasional Contributor

Agreed supply us with a Cel-Fi unit to replace the homezone then you can disconnect it

Visitor cpope001
Visitor

It took a 62min phone call to Optus, transferred 3 times and my privacy verified 4 times, just to get out of my contract. An absolute joke, no one knew what they were talking about. It really confirmed the lack of care from Optus and I was glad to be exiting after 21 years, and even being an employee of Optus at one point. 

 

I just today switched to Telstra. The reception in my home was 0 bars with Optus, and is at worst 3 bars with Telstra, but usually 4-5 bars (full). I should have changed years ago, I'm absolutely over the moon that I have reception without HomeZone. 

 

So vote with your wallet guys, the porting to Telstra took all of two minutes so downtime was a minimum. 

Occasional Visitor russjames
Occasional Visitor

My homezone ceased to function over night. 0 bars of reception this morning.

 

Missed two calls on new app before 8.00am.

 

One dropout and one where i could hear them only.

 

Sound familiar to anyone. Looks like telstra here we come.

 

Amazingly poor customer service. 15 years a customer means nothing.

 

 

Occasional Contributor simmomelb007
Occasional Contributor

Porting to Telstra isn't a solution for all of us, we don't get Telstra reception indoors either, so while that may work for you many of us had one of these as we had no option, with any provider.

russjames,

Try rebooting your homezone

New Contributor samfordvalley
New Contributor

This is upsetting.

 

I spend hundreds of dollars to run an Optus Home Zone, buying my own device, spending my own time setting it up, powering it with my own electricity, and using my adsl resources.  All because you can't be bothered providing mobile phone reception to a place just beyond the city.

 

Your new app thing won't install on my wife's android phone - it says it's the wrong kind of android... erm ok.   It won't work on my phone because I have a Windows phone.   From all accounts the app sucks anyway.

 

When I heard this new I splashed out $1500 to buy a mobile antenna and an optus cel-fi... it does squat diddly.   Nothing.

 

 

 

 

Had to reboot my homezone again today but it is still working.

Maybe there is some hope

Frequent Visitor MC1
Frequent Visitor

Home Zone is still working here too. Not for long!

Have tested Wifi Talk with Home Zone turned off, but it alternates with 'normal' Optus coverage as I walk from the front to the back of the house. Hardly ideal! Using it will be an absolute pain. 

I discovered that Telstra's 4GX works here. I had a friend do a walk through with an iPhone 6s. If you go to Telstra's site there a few phones capable of 4GX (they have a 'blue tick' on the phone pic). According to Telstra's coverage map, 4G only works here with an external antennae. Telstra 3G is much like Optus 3G.

 

I have been in the shops and on the phone many times and it is amazing how much they don't know.

So Telstra 4GX could be a solution for some people, but don't believe anything until you test it.

Occasional Contributor aussiechris
Occasional Contributor

Mine is still working but only for my main number. None of the other users who have been able to connect to it for years can connect anymore. Have power cycled it etc. no go.

Occasional Contributor simmomelb007
Occasional Contributor

Optus has just become a "L-Cheapo" quality provider now, and this demonstrates that.

I can't remember the last time I spoke with a "local" representative over the phone, some years ago that's for sure.

 

Optus Team, it’s not like the Home Zone product is an antique.

 

It’s only been on the market a rather short time. Launched with great fanfare in July 2011, and we’re only just into 2016… 

 
So that's barely even 5 years of service life (assuming a customer installed it on Day 1)?
 
A quick search shows that Alcatel Lucent (the OEM of HomeZone) is still in the small ‘Home Cell’ business, so why not just switch people to one of these new models, instead of disenfranchising a whole lot of customers…
 
Alcatel's new femtocell models even do 4G…! And they are selling well in the USA.
 
So why abandon this innovative technology?
 
I have already contacted your support team, and have received written confirmation that I can exit my mobile contract without penalty.
 
So it's likely to be goodbye Optus and hello Telstra for me, which offers quite good reception here in Willoughby 2068. Which is not all that unexpected. After all, the suburb is mostly on quite flat terrain, just ten minutes from Sydney CBD.
 
And when I take my mobile services to Telstra, they'll probably offer me incentives to take my fixed services as well. Yes, it will likely cost a little more overall, but at least I'll be getting the services I pay for.
 
 
Optus Team, I'd like to know how this whole sorry episode fits with your claims about 'relentless improvements' to your network. 
 
To me, this looks more like a relentless march towards mediocrity. 
 
New Contributor massey
New Contributor

Well said AngryHomeZoner

Visitor rebeccastowe
Visitor

I've switched two out of our four phones to Vodafone and surprise surprise have excellent signal throughout the house, after Optus telling me for years we are in a dead zone. 

So I'll be taking all of our business elsewhere. Thanks for the lack of genuine empathy for your customers Optus . 

 

Visitor GimmeMyHomeZone
Visitor

How stupid is this? Removing a service that made up for Optus' network shortcomings...and I'm only 10 km from the CBD!

 

No customer support, don't tell me how awesome the app is. Have you see the rating in the app store? Why should I have to manage my SMS in two separate locations depending where I am? Why do I need to log in to use it or have to keep it running in the background (battery life)? How can you say this is a viable replacement for the HomeZone service?

 

I am moving the 3 phones in that my family have to Telstra at the end of my billing cycle. Plans all pick out and everything. Yes, it's more expensive, but worth it now HomeZones have been discontinued. I'll reconsider if you actually have a reasonable solution/replacement but you only have a few weeks.

Occasional Contributor Bob_m
Occasional Contributor

Any updates on the destruction of common sense Optus?

Visitor Spotteddog
Visitor

I read the community comments tonight after having it up to here with WiFi talk.  Then I logged into my account and sent a stern message to Optus with a few @@$#^%%*%^$ s included saying not happy Jan and bye bye or fix it. 

 

I then tried my HomeZone again just on the off chance Optus had come to their senses and - it took a while - BUT IT CAME BACK ON !!!!!!!!

 

 

HOMEZONE IS WORKING AGAIN !

 

 

YAY _ 5 bars !!!

Spottedog,

 

After my earlier rant, I should add that so far (here in Willoughby 2068) HomeZone has worked continually. 

 

To date, my service has not been disconnected at any stage.

 

However, from a customer service point of view, it would be nice if the Optus Team would tell us what is going on.

 

Perhaps they have been leafing through the Alcatel Lucent catalogue, and have realised that new 4G femtocells are available.

 

They might be thinking that this would be a great way of extending their network without buying new spectrum, or rolling out new towers.

 

It could be good PR for them, and they would get great coverage in the press.

 

Who knows...?

 

 

 

PS

 

The fact that Acatel Lucent is actively promoting their 4G femtocell technology overseas, means that the people at Optus might like to explain the following claims from their announcement (01 April 2016) about the closure of Home Zone:

 

"...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..."

 

It appears that this particular claim is being 'economical with the truth'.

 

After all, if Alcatel Lucent is producing brand-new 4G femtocell models, then presumably 'software updates, technology developments and spare parts' will be available for these?

 

Team Optus, care to offer an explanation?

PPS

 

While I'm on a roll here, I am trying to figure something out.

 

It has to be said, Telstra has done a great job of rolling out their Telstra Air network – which allows home users to tap into each other's Wi-Fi signals to enable public (to Telstra customers) Wi-Fi broadband access near Telstra hotspots, including home Wi-Fi Gateways.  

 

Telstra customers are able to make use of this facility in exchange for giving up some of their own Fixed Broadband monthly data allowance, which is metered accordingly, as I understand it.

 

Why can't Optus do something similar with home based 4G femtocells? Metering of customers wouldn't even be necessary, and Optus can still charge for the mobile usage.

 

 

For example, any Optus mobile customer who happens to be near to someone else's home femtocell can make use of its 'cell' coverage. 

 

This has a lot of potential, particularly in regional areas – or wherever there are Optus Mobile coverage blackspots.

 

The home user with the femtocell base station will not be penalised, because they have an unlimited fixed broadband allowance on their Optus plan.

 

So why doesn't Optus simply use a network of home femtocells to expand their overall network coverage..?

 

Seems like a Win-Win situation to me.

New Member Skyperiffic
New Member

So basically you've built yourself a commercial skype application that requires no service or equipment investment on behalf of optus and requires the use of an alternative customer connection that is unrelated to and additional to the purchased service under the contractual agreement?

In other words, optus is in breach of contract AND attempting to defraud subscribers.

Can you say "class action"?

Petitioners interested in participating in a class action can contact me at dsynfolt@gmail.com

Frequent Visitor philgaudet
Frequent Visitor

Check your Homezones again some of you. My HZ cut off on the first of March so I was forced to use Optus WiFi Talk otherwise known as the abomination. I got frustrated with it that I just reconnected my HZ and bang, it is working again. Maybe they are extending the service until they fix WiFi Talk or lose so many customers that they just re-instate HZ again. Anyway for the time being mine is working again.

Occasional Contributor DrunkenAntics
Occasional Contributor

Mine never stopped working.

New Contributor massey
New Contributor