I have just received the green light to say that the troublesome modems that had not been provisioned for Skinny Jump should be alright to issue now. The only problems could be with any modems from the batch that were actually issued. The Skinny team is trying to identify any, but partners may also be aware of these. The problem is that the whole batch was reset and this could cause problems for any modems already in use. This will probably mean they have to start the registration process again.
The Skinny team has asked me to pass on their apologies for this disruption – they are just as keen as we are to try and prevent his happening again.
A message from one of our Jump partners today:
“I had a lady come in wanting a Skinny Jump this morning. I asked whether there was broadband at the property and she said no, so I proceeded to check her address with the Skinny Jump address checker. It said it was unavailable and when I explained this she said that she knew coverage was available there because there was already a Jump modem. I asked why she was wanting another Skinny Jump modem if there was already one there and she said that it was for one person and they weren’t going to top up for others. She then asked me to check other addresses – which returned the same ‘no availability’ result, so I wasn’t able to proceed, but she said she would return again. Wasn’t happy she couldn’t get a modem today and was starting to become slightly argumentative. Is it reasonable for there to be more than one Skinny Jump modem at a property? Is this going against the spirit of the programme? Just thought I should get the official party line on this.“
Two issues here – ‘no coverage’ and ‘more than one Jump modem at the same address’. These are issues many partners encounter.
(1) Skinny address checker indicates ‘no coverage’ but customers insist it works for their neighbours, or in the case above, at the same address. All partners will soon be receiving a pack of ‘no coverage’ explanatory flyers to give to customers who don’t understand the limitations of wireless connections (and that is pretty much everyone except radio engineers!). We also encourage someone from every Jump partner to attend one of the two special webinars next week (on 2 and 6 August, where this issue is being discussed by the Spark Foundation team. You can register here: https://diaa.arlo.co/w/upcoming/cat-11-partner-webinars/
(2) More than one modem at the same address: while the goal for Skinny Jump is to provide internet connectivity for households that can’t afford a fixed line connection, we do recognise that many houses often have more than one family or people who live quite independently of each other, e.g. a landlord and tenant. There are also many situations where people are living in flats, motels, camping grounds, etc. that share the same physical address. So sharing the same address is not enough to disqualify an applicant. There is no technical reason why two or more modems cannot be located at the same address (although when it gets to seven, as has happened, we do investigate to find out the reason). Partners have the discretion to refuse a customer if you suspect someone is abusing the opportunity, but you can supply more than one modem to the same address if you believe the reasons are genuine.
Wow – we live in fast changing times! I have now been advised that last night’s fix to provision the 200 modems for Jump was applied incorrectly and these were provisioned for Skinny mobile!!! So please hold fire on issuing these, probably for another 24 hours.
A few partners discovered that a recent shipment of Jump modems had not been provisioned for Skinny Jump. They did the right thing and completed the Modem Returns forms – this raised the alarm in Skinny and initiated an investigation with the modem supplier, Ingram Micro. They discovered 200 modems had been shipped without being provisioned for Jump. This has now been fixed, so you can proceed in issuing these modems.
I am aware of at least one modem that might have actually been issued – it didn’t have the 30GB loaded. I have been advised that this modem should also be OK now.
We know that Jump delivery partners don’t like to turn customers away empty handed. But working with a wireless service like Skinny Jump, this regrettably is a fact of life. The Skinny Jump service uses the Spark cellphone towers and there are limits on how many customers can be connected to any single tower (this is because wireless services operate within a limited radio frequency spectrum). You can find more information on the Jump website.
The impact of this is that if too many customers are connected to the same tower, the service degrades for everyone, and this gets the service provider into trouble with the Government regulator, the Commerce Commission. Customers connecting to any internet service can expect a reasonable quality of service and providers like Spark and Skinny are held accountable.
So what does this mean for you as a Jump partner – if the Skinny Jump addresses checker says ‘no coverage’, you are not permitted to issue a Jump modem. We have had examples of where customers claim to have contacted the Skinny Helpdesk and have been advised to contact their nearest partner to get a Jump modem, even when the address checker says ‘no’. This is a mistake and we alert Skinny to any such incidents – please ask your customer for the name of the Skinny Help Desk agent and day they received this advice and then forward this to us at email@example.com . The Skinny Helpdesk team have access to the same address checker that you do, so there shouldn’t be any confusion, but at times we know there is.
The good news is that the capacity on cell towers is changing all the time – there are updates every night. Not only is Spark continuing to invest in expanding the capacity of their towers, connections also become possible when existing customers leave. So that is why we encourage partners to complete an online application whenever you have to turn a customer away. Not only do we double check the coverage availability, but we also hold the applicant on file in case we become aware of a future upgrade.
Skinny is also helping by providing all partners with a flyer to give to customers explaining the capacity issue. You can expect these to arrive during the next week. We have also scheduled two partner webinars where the Skinny team will explain this issue and answer any questions.
Make sure you or someone from your team joins one of these webinars, to be held on 2 and 6 August. You can register here: https://diaa.arlo.co/w/upcoming/cat-11-partner-webinars/
We have received reports from some partners about a possible misuse of the SIM cards in customers’ Jump modems. Some customers are turning up claiming that they have lost their SIM card or inquiring if the modems have one. It appears that a few people are removing the SIM card from the Jump modem and using it in other devices, believing this to be a way to ‘purchase’ low cost data for their phones.
This is expressly forbidden in the Jump terms and conditions. An alert will be sent to Skinny whenever a Jump SIM is used in any device other that B315 or B618 Jump modem and the SIM card will be blocked. So anyone attempting to do this will quickly discover that the device with the Jump SIM no longer works.
If partners suspect that any of your Jump customers are doing this, you should not issue a replacement modem.
Since January 2021, partners have become familiar with the larger B618 Skinny Jump modem. Skinny has now uncovered another 1000 B315 modems lurking in their store and these will be distributed shortly. Don’t be surprised when these start to arrive. This is not a mistake; the B315s work just as well. Over 1000 Skinny Jump modems are being distributed every month, so before you know it we will be back to the now familiar B618s.
We have just been advised by the Spark Foundation that they have extended their offer of free 15GB data each month to all Jump customers*. This was introduced to help Jump families maintain their internet connections. We know there are a number of families who make the tough choice between $5 for 30GB broadband and purchasing other essential items. The 15GB free each month means they are able to stay connected and make life a little easier by accessing services online during the times they can’t afford to purchase a Jump plan.
*The 15GB topup is not available for sponsored customers who receive 150GB each month such as students supported by the Ministry of Education or families on special programmes supported by CIENA or the Red Cross.
We received advice late last night that the address checker and Jump App are operational. The Jump team at Spark asked us to send their apologies for any inconvenience caused by this outage.
We have been advised that Spark is currently experiencing intermittent outages and this has caused the Skinny Jump website to not load for Address Checking. The Jump App is experiencing the same problems. We have been promised updates as soon as the Jump team know something but for now, they have suggested that partners ask customers to try again at a later time.