I’m currently at a German MVNO called Congstar. Partially because somebody told me that they have LTE (which is not true) and partially because I had gotten rather fed up with my Vodafone prepaid plan (branded CallYa). Like any service in Germany this one too is terrible and since then I have come to call them Cunststar.
The website is an utter pain to navigate and essential information is spread out across major sections. Other essential information that you would like to have such as how much money there actually still is on your card is not available at all. Added to that there is no actual customer support but instead you are allowed to navigate through a maze of fora, bots and other things not at all relevant.
Still it gives you a data plan and such things are rare in Germany. There are also some switching costs to trying out all of the other MVNOs as well which are probably just as bad. So I stuck with it.
My latest ordeal came when I tried to upgrade my 1GB plan to a 3GB plan. Trying to give these people more money turned out to be quite difficult. It wasn’t very clear but I had to wait for the 1GB option to run out. Then out of the blue I got an SMS yesterday night that it was gone.
I then tried to activate the 3GB option. At that moment I had enough money in my account to be able to buy that option:
Still Congstar wouldn’t activate it and as if by magic the next morning some money has disappeared to make it just out of reach. I have no idea where the money went and Congstar won’t tell me:
@alper Hm, kann ich so nicht nachvollziehen, sry. Ich kann jetzt nur sehen, dass für die 3000er nicht genug da ist :/ ^MW
— congstar (@congstar) February 19, 2014
What is to say that these operators don’t shave off money from customers’ accounts when it suits them? Due to the lack of information from them it is impossible for a customer to verify where the money goes to1.
The major advantage of this plan over my previous prepaid is that I don’t get SMS spam all the time. Small blessings like that are all we can hope for in the land of telcos.
So why don’t I get a non prepaid plan? Because in Germany those are insanely expensive, all run for 24 months and LTE is but a faint glimmer on the horizon.
There is indeed a usage view but it shows that some time after I tried upgrading my plan (which failed) my phone tried to use the internet and incurred some charges.
Obviously if you don’t allow people to add a data plan if you wait long enough their phones will use data at some point when they can’t get a WiFi connection and you have a good excuse to let them pay more. Telcos are a bottomless pit into which we can throw money for all our lives.
- Well we know it went in some douchebags pockets. ↩