Unfortunately Skinny Jump is not available at that location

Some observant partners have noticed this new message popping up when they do an address checker and wondered if this is a positive sign that there is likely to be coverage in the near future.

The fine print says: This address is in an area that has reached the maximum number of modems that can be connected to its cell tower.

This is nothing new – it just means that we can’t connect any new Skinny Jump customers. There are two reasons :

(1) No 4G coverage;

(2) Cell tower at capacity.

Because of the widespread deployment of Spark’s 4G network, the most likely reason is that it is a capacity, rather than a coverage, issue. Hence the new message. But unfortunately you can’t read anything between the lines about the likelihood of coverage coming to an area where there is none.

Our advice to customers is the same – check again from time to time, as capacity issues are changing all the time.

Updated Modem Return Form to replace old forms on 20 April 2022

An updated Modem Return form is being introduced from the start of business tomorrow (Wednesday 20 April). This replaces the three previous forms used by delivery partners for modem returns, i.e.

(1) Skinny Jump Account Delinking & Modem Reprovisioning – Delivery Sites & Care Use Only – originally developed for modems that were returned mainly because they were no longer required and could be remotely de-linked from customers’ accounts and rest, ready for re-issue.

(2) Faulty Jump Modem returns – originally developed for modems that had been remotely tested by Skinny and customers were advised that the unit was faulty and should be returned to a nearby Jump partner. We have recently consolidated this form with the standard Delinking Form above.

(3) MOE Modem Activation and Returns – originally developed for modems issued by the Ministry of Education.

The new consolidated form is to be used by Jump Delivery Partners when they receive any Jump modem returned by a customer or if they require a particular Jump modem to be re-provisioned for any other reason. The Skinny Care Team may also use this form when a customer reports they have a modem but there is no coverage or capacity at their address.

The purpose of this new consolidated form is:
(1) to make it easy for Delivery Partners to get a modem de-linked from a customer account and then reset in a timely manner, so that it can be re-issued. This form provides a direct communication channel to the Skinny Support Team who are responsible for delinking any Skinny Jump accounts and resetting modems. Jump Delivery Partners should never call the Skinny Care Team on the customer 0800 number, as this Helpdesk team is not able to delink accounts or reset modems.

(2) to recognise modems issued as part of a special Jump Plan – MOE, CIENA or RED CROSS – and ensure these are recovered or correctly re-provisioned.

(3) to record customer details for the collection of unwanted modems or at locations where there is no network coverage or capacity.

The information provided in this form authorises the Skinny Support Team to delink an account and reset the modem. Faulty or defaced modems that are not suitable for re-issue are to be marked as “faulty” in the form and this triggers a response from the Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa (DIAA) team to send a courier bag to recover the modem for repair or recycling.

Once the modem is reset, an advice note is sent to the Delivery Partner at the partner email entered at the end of the form.

The Jump top-up challenge: where’s my 30GB?

I had an interesting call from one of our most experienced Jump partners today; she was seeking clarification about the top up process. While she frequently explains the top-up process to customers when they sign up for Jump, she had never actually done a top-up herself, and was quite confused by the information presented on the Skinny Dashboard when she did try and top up the Library demo unit.

She had succeeded in adding $5 credit to her Jump account, but was surprised when she didn’t see 30GB data added to her plan. Instead she saw the information above: 6144 MB (= 6GB) data that was going to expire at 3.30pm and 15360 MB(=15GB) data that was going to expire at the end of the month.

There is an explanation about the ‘free’ 6GB and the 15GB in the fine print above, but I totally understand how this detail can get overlooked – in some telephone surveys we conducted last year, many customers didn’t know about this free data, so we do wonder if this is always being explained when the customer signs up. Even if it is, customers might not fully appreciate this until they go to top up.

But where is the 30GB that I just purchased? Check out the words below the ‘Credit Remaining’ of $5, you will discover that there is no current plan. And just below that ‘Get a plan‘. You must click on this to add your 30GB data plan. When you do this you will discover the 30GB data joins the two freebies and your ‘credit remaining’ drops by $5.

We strongly encourage every partner issuing Jump modems to personally go through this process – we’ll even pay the $5 if necessary. It is well worth $5 (soon to be less than the price of a cup of coffee) for you to have a first-hand experience of the top-up process.

People needing help when topping up make up the largest group of callers to the Skinny Help Desk (Care Team). If we can help Jump customers be more confident in topping up this would enable the Care Team to focus on helping with the much more challenging technical issues.

PS. A box of Chocolate Fish for the partner who brought this to our attention! I am sure she is not the only one that gets confused.

Jump coverage checker bug fixed

During the last month, Jump delivery partners may have noticed an unprecedented success rate when using the Skinny Jump address checker – every address entered has been getting the green light for coverage, even addresses that have no 4G coverage!

Like the old adage, if it looks to good to be true, then it’s probably not true. And unfortunately this happens to be the case here. Skinny software developers have identified a bug in the address checker that was preventing it doing its job and this was fixed overnight on 31 March.

So from 1 April, we are back to the real world, and this means you will again be finding customers who are unable to get the Jump service either because they are not in coverage or because there is no capacity on the nearest cell tower. Please provide these customers with a copy of the explanatory leaflet, as some customers can get quite argumentative, especially when their neighbours have Jump service.

You are also welcome to complete an online application form for anyone who cannot currently get service; we double check their address for coverage and follow up with them when we become aware that coverage is available. It also provides a useful database of areas where there is demand for Jump but no capacity.

WANTED: Modem Recovery ideas

We are looking for a Jump delivery partner to join a small working group to brainstorm and test some ideas for recovering unused Jump modems.

Our original Jump distribution model was based on library systems that lend books (and other things) for limited periods. Our proposal was for Jump customers to keep their modems for as long as they like, but return them to their nearest delivery partner if they become faulty or if they are no longer required. The modems could then be repaired or simply reset and reissued to another customer.

This has been fairly successful with over 1500 modems being returned for repair or reuse during the last 15 months.

However, our records indicate that many customers do not bother to return the modem when they no longer need it and we are looking for new ways to encourage this.

While we are seeking someone who is currently actively involved in handling recovered Jump modems and who is able to participate in the working group during April, we welcome ideas and suggestions from all partners.

Need some more Jump modems – who are you going to call?

Well not Ghostbusters, that’s for sure. Not Skinny (refer to my earlier blog post). Not the Spark Foundation. Not a Spark retail store. Not Father Christmas.

Well then, who you might ask. Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa (DIAA)- now you are getting warm. But not Eleanor. Not Leilani. Not Sue (although she seems to be the hot favourite!). Who else is there?

Laurence, Alistair and Shelley of course! Laurence handles modem inquiries through DIAA’s Jump email hotline (jump@diaa.nz) and Shelley handles modem inquiries through DIAA’s phone hotline (0800 463 422). And
Alistair handles our back office systems that keep the supply of modems flowing to you.

So please DO NOT CALL OR EMAIL anyone else on the DIAA team if your inquiry has anything to do with modem supply or distribution. This just creates an unnecessary clutter in voicemail and email in-boxes.

We have weathered the Covid storm by putting our shoulder to the wheel and creating new delivery options to ensure the modems keep flowing, so even when partners have had to shut up shop, we have simply expanded our home delivery option. But we don’t have super powers and have no control over issues in the global market such as microchip or neon shortages, resulting from Covid lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine, respectively. Neon gas is a vital component in the laser lithography of silicon chips, and around 50% of the global supply comes out of Ukraine.

Nor can we solve New Zealand modem suppliers problems caused by large numbers of their staff having to self-isolate. Unlike many of us who can continue to work from home, these staff are hands-on, provisioning and packaging Jump modems.

What all this means is that we are all going to have to be patient. You will run out of modems. Customers waiting for home deliveries will call you to find out when their modem is going to arrive.

Please use the systems we have put in place to keep you and your customers informed:

(1) Make sure you are completing a Jump Profile form for every modem issued – this controls the re-stocking process.

(2) Check your Jump GDoc to find out when further supplies have been ordered, either from Ingram or transferred from another Jump delivery partner.

(3) Use the NZ CourierPost tracking number associated with each modem shipment to monitor progress with the delivery of modem supplies.

(4) For individual home delivery inquiries, please email jump@diaa.nz and we can give you a status report. But please note that we currently have a 7-10 day backlog with over 150 households waiting for a modem. By the time we get further supplies this backlog will have increased to over 200. We expect to make these deliveries next week.

(5) Any partner with surplus modem stock, please contact Shelley. During the last week, she has arranged the transfer of nearly 100 modems between delivery partners. Thank you to those partners who have assisted with this. She is still looking for another 200 modems to transfer.

Toy Libraries are not eligible for Jump

We regularly receive inquiries about whether community groups such as toy libraries, scout groups, rowing clubs etc. are eligible for Skinny Jump. I can understand that a low cost pre-pay service such as Jump would suit the needs of many community groups, who only require internet access from time to time.

But Jump is a highly subsidised service supported by the Spark Foundation and intended for households that can not afford monthly ‘on account’ internet plans. Eligible groups are clearly identified in Jump promotional material as well as on the Skinny Jump website.

Partners are asked to explain this to any community groups that might apply. We have heard stories from some partners that community groups can be quite argumentative when they are turned down, claiming that other similar groups are using Jump connections. If this is the case, a mistake had been made in issuing modems.

We suggest you ask for details of groups who are claiming to have been provided with Jump modems and by whom so that we can correct this misinformation.

Don’t call Skinny for modem supply issues

I have been receiving a few redirected calls from the Skinny Care team with requests from partners about modem supplies.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE SKINNY CARE TEAM FOR ANY DETAILS ABOUT MODEM SUPPLIES.

The Skinny Care team has no role in the supply of modems. This is our (DIAA) responsibility, working with you, our Partners.

Any inquiries about modem supplies should come to jump@diaa.nz

Thank you.

“I am down to my last Jump modem; when will more supplies arrive?”

This is one of the most frequent questions that we get asked. We do try to respond promptly to individual requests, but with over 300 delivery partners, we do get a bit swamped at times with email and phone requests.

You have access to the same information that we do, so we would like to encourage you to check this out first.

Let me remind you how to do this:

(1) Go to the GSheet Jump register for your organisation. You may need a Gmail account to do this. If you don’t know how to access this, send us an email (jump@diaa.nz) and request access. Please make sure you identify your role with Jump deliveries so that we know you are legit, as these registers contain confidential customer information. We will send you a URL link.

(2) Check Cell F4. This represents the number of unallocated modems that we think you have. If this doesn’t align with the number of modems that you actually have, then this could mean that modems have been issued without Profile Forms being completed. If this is the case, you should mark up in Column B any modems that you no longer have. Type in the word “Allocated” and you will see you stock count (cell F4) reduce by one.

(3) Note Cell G2. This is your re-supply trigger. When the number in Cell F4 reduces to the number in Cell G2, cell F4 is shaded red and this signals to us to arrange for further modems to be sent.

(4) When we place an order, we enter IMEI numbers in Column W and include the date, initials of person placing the order and the source of the modems (e.g. ex Ingram) in column X.

(5) Note the IMEI number is a 15-digit number commencing in “86…”. When modems are shipped from Ingram, there can be a short delay before we get the shipping schedules so we enter a dummy set of numbers, e.g. 860501, 860502, etc. We replace these with the full IMEI number as soon as possible.

(6) When the modems have been shipped we enter the NZ Post Courier tracking number in column Y (shaded yellow) and the shipment date in column Z. You can monitor progress by entering the tracking number into NZ Post’s website.

If all this is too confusing, or for some reason you are unable to access the GSheet, just let us know when your modem stocks are low and we can review for you.

Jump Modem re-supply triggers reduced to shrink the pipeline

We have been progressively reducing the Jump modem re-supply triggers for Jump delivery partners in an effort to reduce the number of modems in the pipeline (we define the pipeline as the period between order placement and allocation to a customer).

The Jump modem pipeline currently includes 2364 modems and we would like to tighten this up. These modems have a combined value of over $350,000 and with the move to the new Smart Modem 2, this value will increase.

One of our strategies is to start reassigning modems that are no longer needed by partners. My recent post refers to this.

Our other strategy is to progress towards a ‘just-in-time’ approach, to avoid large numbers of modems being held by partners, sometimes for many months.

Re-supply trigger levels have historically been set at between 6 and 12, depending on the turnover. We are now progressively reducing these to match the average number of modems issued by each partner within a two-week period. With the current modem supply delays, this should provide up to two weeks for new supplies to arrive.

This does assume that your Jump modem registers are up to date; this does require careful attention to ensure that Jump Profile forms are completed for every modem issued.

Partners can identify their re-supply trigger in cell G2 of their Jump GSheet.